It’s an initially bizarre scene, no doubt—floppy-hatted guests sipping frozen Negronis in the tranquil grounds that once played home to priests and seminarians. But there are few locales as downright lovely—and suited to alfresco boozing—as the High Line Hotel, set inside the centuries-old Gothic red brick that famously housed New York’s General Theological Seminary. The team behind neighborhood trattorias L’Apicio, Anfora and L’Artusi take advantage of said scenery with Alta Linea, an outdoor bar-restaurant in the hotel’s expansive courtyard.
ORDER THIS: A breezy aperitivo courtesy of co-owner and beverage director Joe Campanale. Along with classic Italian cocktails (Sbagliatos, proscecco-fueled spritzes) and Sicilian wines, the drinks bill spotlights original concoctions like an exceedingly refreshing basil gimlet ($15), bright and floral with Dorothy Parker gin, Contratto Bianco and lime, and a pomelo punch ($15) with choice of vodka or tequila (the latter works better to magnify the cup’s fruitiness, curbing the bitterness of aperol and splashes of grapefruit).
GOOD FOR: Drinking in the last weeks of summer. The charming space is optimized for warm-weather R&R, with pillow-dotted banquettes shaded beneath white-linen umbrellas and leafy trees strung with paper lanterns and a fountain flowing nearby. A 1963 Citroën coffee truck parked outside offers Intelligentsia pour-overs, and a vintage gelato cart serves ice cream sandwiches (strawberry shortcake, caramel-chocolate).
THE CLINCHER: Deviating from the pastas of L’Apicio & Co., chef Gabe Thompson operates more in the realm of Mediterranean happy hour food here, with the largest section of the menu dedicated to shareable snacks like crispy artichokes with salsa verde ($14), mushroom-fontina arancini ($9) and generously portioned grilled flatbread ($17) with house-made spreads (ricotta, roasted eggplant). The kitchen capitalizes on the hotel’s proximity to its namesake park, offering customizable, ready-for-pickup picnic baskets, but in a space this scenic, there’s no need to leave for better views.