When the sun is shining and the humidity is blissfully low, there’s nothing more pleasurable than sipping a cocktail, chilled rosé or sudsy beer en plein air at one of New York’s many rooftop bars, tranquil patios or breezy beer gardens. And while you’re delighting your tastebuds, you might as well indulge your eyes, choosing a bar whose funky decor, lush greenery or sweeping views are as visually appealing as your quaff is tasty. From a deck perched high above Chelsea to a light-strung patio on the Brooklyn waterfront, these are eight of NYC’s prettiest outdoor bars.
The High Line Hotel’s expansive courtyard is home to this Italian-inspired bar-resto overseen by Joe Campanale. Comfy pillow-dotted banquettes accommodate aperitivo-sipping patrons, while paper lantern-strung trees and white linen umbrellas provide cooling shade on hot summer days.
The McKittrick Hotel’s rooftop bar is a visual feast, providing aerial views of Chelsea and the Hudson; lush plants twinkling with strands of lights reinforce the setting’s dreamy atmosphere. Go in a group and grab a bowl of one of the signature punches created by cocktail historian David Wondrich.
Outfitted with cushioned lounge chairs and banquettes, this rooftop oasis above the Lower East Side rock club provides some relief from the pounding sound system a few floors below. Grab a seat under a leafy potted palm and sip a house-churned frozen margarita.
The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café
Riverside Park is one of the city’s many outdoor treasures, and in the summertime its Hudson-adjacent breezes provide much-needed natural A/C. In the evening, head to the park’s café to nurse a spiked lemonade and catch a breathtaking sunset over New Jersey.
Lounge at Pod 39 Hotel
Funky budget hotel Pod 39’s hidden surprise is its lush rooftop space, perched 17 floors above the commotion of Midtown. Dramatic red-brick arches frame lofty views of the city, and chef April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco, also located in the hotel, provides the menu of upscale tacos and margaritas.
This Big Easy-inspired bar romantically evokes verdant New Orleans in its capacious 1,000-square-foot garden, decked out with delicate wrought-iron tables and chairs and an abundance of greenery: creeping vines, wormwood and hyssop. Order a plate of bivalves from the outdoor oyster bar and choose from 28 varieties of absinthe, served traditionally with cold water and a sugar cube.
This DUMBO taqueria’s spacious backyard is a dreamy scene on a summer night: strings of lights provide a soft twinkle, ivy-covered walls a dose of green and river breezes a refreshing cool. Settle into a cushioned banquette to sip tequila tipples and nibble salsa, guac and tacos.
In-the-know cocktail enthusiasts descend into this subterranean speakeasy for serious drinks, but in warmer months, the bar’s airy back patio is the place to be. A tiled outdoor bar keeps patrons well-watered as they relax at two-tops and picnic tables and take in the space’s variety of graffiti-style murals.