If there’s one thing New Yorkers love, it’s brunch—especially when it’s outdoor brunch in NYC. Every weekend, locals head to their favorite rooftop restaurants and charming sidewalk cafés for bottomless brunch as one of the highlights of things to do during summer in NYC. Here are our picks for the best outdoor brunches NYC has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best brunch in NYC
Best outdoor brunch in NYC
Located in a basement storefront on Forsyth Street, you might just miss Wayla upon first glance. With little signage pointing you in the right direction, down the steps is a secret Thai restaurant serving brunch. The inside of Wayla is cavernous, but its outdoor section is one of the most magical al fresco options in the city.
Bluestone Lane brings their Australian coffee concept to the Upper East Side with a gorgeous restaurant space inside the gothic architecture of The Church of the Heavenly Rest. Sprawl out at one of their outdoor tables with your avocado toast, enjoying people watching of Museum Mile.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, Sunday in Brooklyn is open for brunch every day of the week. The rustic three-story space boasts an outdoor patio and rooftop garden. The brunch menu includes both lighter bites, like carrot bread with ginger cream cheese or avocado toast with preserved tomatoes, wheatgrass and sprouts, and heartier fare, like an egg-sausage sandwich with potatoes, cheddar and gojuchang aioli, malted pancakes like hazelnut-maple praline and a plate of smoked salmon, pastrami black cod, sour cream, pickled green tomatoes and sourdough.
Beneath the BQE, first-generation Peruvian-American chef Erik Ramirez serves up New Peruvian 101 with breakfast hybrids like the beef tenderloin stir-fry with fried egg, banana, French fries and rocoto crema, or the Swiss chard empanada with lime. The rooftop lounge provides the perfect perch for brunch dining al fresco.
At Gertie, old school New York luncheonettes get a 2019 tune-up. For brunch, you'll find egg 'n cheese on bialys (made in-house by Savannah Turley), the Gertie Breakfast (two sunny eggs, white beans, greens and toast) as well as squash toast, best eaten outside in their backyard.
Andrew Carmellini's two-story pasta spot boasts a brunch menu teeming with plates like ricotta pancakes and pepperoni frittata, a few of the namesake primi pastas from dinner and a breakfast spaghetti number that comes with kale, poached egg and pancetta. Ample outdoor seating lends itself well to people-watching on the bustling Bowery.
Everyone's favorite hotel bar, Broken Shaker just launched their very own brunch. Pulling inspiration from its Miami roots, the Saturday and Sunday morning menu offers a clever play on the brunch classics like their ode to the everything bagel, instead using malawach Yemenite bread, served with cream cheese and lox. Dine al fresco at the Freehand's rooftop.
Public Records, which opened in March 2019, is a music-focused cafe, record "hi-fi listening bar" and performance space that hopes to function less like a traditional club and more like a community space for the Gowanus neighborhood. Here, there’s an excellent sound system and an ideal space for dancing; music programming is overseen by partner and producer Francis Harris of the local record labels Scissor & Thread and Kingdoms. But beyond the beats, Public Records is also opens as a café in the morning, offering a seated menu that continues into the night with dinner. The menu, conceptualized by Chef Mariela Alvarez, is entirely vegan, a nod to the space's former life as an ASPCA headquarters. Alvarez pairs her healthful cooking with her masters in architecture for well-composed, design-focused plating.
Rosemary’s, the king of the Seventh Avenue and 10th Street strip, has a packed house with young men and women more on the prowl for each other than for anything good to eat. The restaurant, is a beautiful madhouse, in barnyard drag, with dangling plants and rustic beams strung with twinkling lights that lend a picnic vibe to the inside as well as the outside.
Maman, the rustic-chic café in Soho, is expanding its pint-size space by connecting a small-scale marketplace right next door. In the back, Garde Manger is an all-day, table-service café with rotating chefs curating the menu. Catch some rays with additional café seating in the Jardin de Maman, an outdoor garden area outfitted by West Elm.