Outdoor bars

Bask in the convivial atmosphere of a rooftop or patio, even if it's raining.

Salon de Ning

Salon de Ning Photograph: Donna Rickles


Salon de Ning

Everything old is, well, old again at the Peninsula Hotel’s recently unveiled aerie. Here, businessmen chomp on cigars in the company of well-heeled women and shell out $24 for a glass of (admittedly refreshing) limoncello and prosecco. Despite the promise of 1930s-Shanghai glamour, this rooftop is still comfortably Fifth Avenue NYC in the latter-day 20th century. With gracious service like Salon’s, that’s not a bad thing. 700 Fifth Ave at 55th St (212-956-2888)

Beer garden

Loreley and Radegast

At Loreley the tree-lined back patio (which is tented on rainy days) is filled with communal tables that can seat groups of eight—but it’s first-come-first-served (and they fill fast), so get there early. If you’re a Williamsburg bier tripper, the garden at Radegast has large wooden benches (perfect for parties) and a retractable roof; sate your craving with giant steins of German and Czech beer and tasty grilled wursts and schnitzels, and bask in the warm, convivial atmosphere. Loreley: 7 Rivington St between Bowery and Chrystie St (212-253-7077). Radegast: 113 North 3rd St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3973)

Sidewalk scene

Brass Monkey

In a few weeks, there will be a new rooftop hangout at this wooden-beamed bar that’s so far West Village it’s practically East Jersey. Until then, the sidewalk tables allow a view of both the Hudson River and a relatively serene street, occasionally littered with clubhounds cluelessly wandering in from the nearby Meatpacking rabble. 55 Little W 12th St between Washington and West Sts (212-675-6686, brassmonkeynyc.com)

I want to get down

Studio B

No need to choose between drinking under the stars and enjoying the thumpa-thumpa of house music when you can have both. It’s quieter on the loungey, concrete second-floor balcony, which is decorated with potted palms, low benches and a glass ceiling for a Miami Beach feel. Of course, quieter is just relative to the throbbing first floor of the area’s only major dance club. 259 Banker St between Calyer St and Meserole Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-1880)

I want to get laid

B Bar

At B Bar, B is for Bowery, the thoroughfare abutting the street-level garden. It’s also for bouncer, who carefully weeds out the under-21 NYU kids, and for bringing someone home: everyone’s goal here. 40 E 4th St at Bowery (212-475-2220, bbarandgrilll.com)

Trophy Bar
Trophy Bar

Photograph: Mimi Cabell


Trophy Bar

Williamsburg’s modest new spot has already amassed dozens of burnished awards—of course, they were bought on eBay and are purely for decoration. But the octopus-like tube creation out back, which transforms a few picnic tables into a sculpture garden, deserves a blue ribbon. 351 Broadway between Keap and Rodney Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-1450, trophybar.com)


Franklin Park

At this new Crown Heights beer hall the picnic-table–bound crowd is pleasantly subdued (and, this being Brooklyn, babies and dogs are often present), but buzz is building, so it may not be mellow much longer. For now, though, it’s the perfect place to kick back with a local brew (like a $5 Coney Island Lager). 618 St. Johns Pl between Classon and Franklin Aves, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (no phone yet)


Bar Sepia

There’s plenty to love about this unpretentious neighborhood spot. Besides plentiful board games (Yahtzee and Scrabble are among the selections), enjoy the adorable, Christmas-light-strung back patio. Take your pint (several classic selections, like Sam Adams, are on tap for $5), settle into one of the squishy couches outside and wish that you’d found this haven sooner. 234 Underhill Ave between Eastern Pkwy and Lincoln Pl, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-399-6680)

High fashion

HighBar and Mad46
Fifteen floors above the fray, the well-designed HighBar hosts a clientele that looks good and knows it, while the view of Hell’s Kitchen is pleasantly gritty. Meanwhile, you can fulfill all swank happy-hour aspirations at Mad46, the 19th-floor rooftop lounge—complete with bottle service and summery ’tinis—atop the Roosevelt Hotel, which opens this week.HighBar: Hilton Garden Inn, 251 W 48th St at Eighth Ave (212-956-1300).Mad46: 45 E 45th St at Madison Ave (212-661-9600). Open Mon–Fri only.

Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel
Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel

Photograph: Donna Rickles

Rain be damned

Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel

No matter the weather, you can grab a literary-themed cocktail—we suggest a deliciously trashy Stoli Orange–based Jackie Collins—at this cozy rooftop greenhouse. If the wicker furniture and palm fronds remind you of Key West’s Hemingway House, pay homage by sipping a mojito-esque cocktail (with the added bonus of champagne) named after Papa himself. 299 Madison Ave at 41st St, 14th floor (212-204-5498)

— Amy Plitt and Allison Williams