In New York City, everyday activities can be elevated (literally) on the city's many open-to-the-public rooftops. Whether it's taking a break at one of the best rooftop gardens in NYC, grabbing a drink at one of the best rooftop bars, or having a mile-high meal, it's hard not to have a good time when you're surrounded by stunning skyline views. From Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Chelsea, eat your heart out at the best rooftop restaurants NYC has to offer.
Do you want more great stories about things to do, where to eat, what to watch, and where to party? Obviously you do, follow Time Out New York on Facebook for the good stuff.
RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do on NYC rooftops
Best rooftop restaurants in NYC
After you’ve sat on a roof and eaten April Bloomfield’s cult-favorite tacos, including Berkshire pork carnitas with avocado salsa, you can basically die happy. For the full experience, order from the to-go menu on the ground floor, where Salvation’s main dining room is, and then head up to the 17th-floor terrace. (Right now, all that’s available are drinks and appetizers.) The deck is narrow and cozy, with plenty of warm redbrick and a whimsical black-and-white–striped awning over the bar. Heaven.
This dreamy, overgrown rooftop restaurant and bar just south of Hell’s Kitchen sits atop a warehouse that operates as the McKittrick Hotel for the trailblazing theater performance Sleep No More. In the early evening, the height affords a regal view of gleaming West Side buildings and the cloud-streaked horizon. But as the sun descends over the Hudson, lights encircling small trees and the rafters overhead blink to life. The place is helplessly romantic, but in a way that never feels saccharine (the name of the bar, after all, is borrowed from the famous Scottish field where six 17th-century “witches” were hanged and burned).
A popular destination on Columbia Street’s restaurant row, the three-story Alma serves fancy regional Mexican food in a giddy, casual atmosphere. Although the ground-floor bar and midlevel dining room are pleasant, diners clamor for a seat on the rooftop patio (open year-round) for inspiring views of the Manhattan skyline and the glittering, accidental beauty of cargo-loaders below. The food ranges from old standards (fresh, cilantro-heavy salsa and creamily addictive guac) to sophisticated dishes like pan-roasted pork tenderloin with cashew-cilantro pesto, which is as bold and dramatic as the view.
Bearing all the hallmarks of the nouveau bistro—rust-dappled mirrors, tiny tables, insanely good-looking diners, a noise level that exceeds a racket—Juliette still manages a few pleasant surprises. The wine list is crammed with bargains, and the kitchen pulls off some pretty neat tricks, too. But we recommend you head straight to Juliette's pretty roof deck to enjoy dishes like crispy duck confit and grilled hanger steak.
The Gerber Group’s latest project is this 15th-floor gastropub that crowns the Hotel Indigo. Barkeep Nico Szymanski slings festive punch-style pours and pre-bottled elixirs like the eponymous Mr. Purple (Casamigos reposado tequila, apple juice, allspice dram) and the Bottled Usual Suspects (Pyrat XO rum, falernum, pineapple). From the kitchen, offerings range from cast-iron mac and cheese with Beecher’s Flagship cheddar to hot dogs cooled with Pickle Guys sauerkraut. The space is fitted with rows of communal tables, reclaimed-wood rafters and industrial pipes. During warm months, revelry sprawls across two terraces sporting a swimming pool and 6,000 square feet of panoramic outdoor space.
Hotel maven André Balazs has opened a series of upper-level venues in his trendy Meatpacking hotel, The Standard. This one, on the 18th floor, offers 360-degree views (a sunken bar and banquette seating allow for nearly unobstructed sight lines), along with two outdoor terraces, one of which has a glass floor that looks down to the street below. Note to the hungry: It's tea and drinks only during the daytime, and a small-plates menu is offered in the evening; brunch is served on Sunday noon till 5pm.
Top Chef toque Tom Colicchio joined forces with with Sisha Ortuzar (Gramercy Tavern) to open this New American restaurant. In the kitchen, Chef Bryan Hunt oversees dishes like baby octopus (heirloom squash, pomegranate), grilled quail (beech mushrooms, sweet potatoes) and Pekin duck bfreast (sunchokes, Tokyo turnips). Guests can settle into seats near the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide views of the East River. In warmer months, the patio also offers an impressive vista.
Owner Duke Quan (Duke’s) named this 55-seat bar-restaurant, tucked under the Williamsburg Bridge, after the Vietnamese word for "beer." Fifteen taps pour draft beers (Radeberger, Sixpoint, Founders) and tap wines. Dig into Vietnamese plates—such as com tam bi cha (shredded pork, egg and crabmeat served with rice) and bo kho duoi bo (oxtail stew)—on the rooftop deck or at the 18-foot-long communal wood table indoors. The space, a former auto-repair shop, retains industrial furnishings, like oil-drum tables and old auto-shop signs, as well as an upright piano in the corner.
Twenty-four taps pour craft beers at this bi-level gastropub's copper-topped bar. Downstairs, patrons can settle into a dark-leather booth to nosh on inventive bistro fare such as a swordfish BLT, cornmeal-fried calamari and huevos-rancheros–stuffed quesadilla, but the magic happens up on the roof at Tavern 29's German beer garden.
There's no denying that pizza tastes better when you’re high. The rooftop seating here, tucked just three stories up and overlooking hoppin’ Metropolitan Avenue, is fairy-tale charming, with strings of lights and rustic wooden tables. Pies come out with bubbling hot cheese and just the right touch of char. Choose from the likes of a clam-pancetta number, or opt for the tried-and-true white pizza combination of ricotta, mozzarella and roasted garlic.