Bottoms up — up on the roof
Summer is finally here (yay!) and NYC rooftop bars are popping up left and right these days. How to choose the best and breeziest? Leave it to Archer to suggest a few of his favorites. Whether the most important aspect is the view, the atmosphere or the drinks, this list of up-high watering holes — thoughtfully curated by Jacob Cerda, Archer’s in-the-know chef concierge — are havens for open-air summertime sips.
Jacob’s Go-to Rooftop Bars
Just west of Bryant Park on 39th Street, The Skylark’s beautiful lounge looms 30 stories above midtown Manhattan and the Garment District and showcases panoramic views of the Hudson River, Hudson Yards, Times Square, The Empire State Building and a host of other iconic sights. The Skylark consists of several indoor spaces on multiple levels, plus an open-air rooftop terrace. With classic décor complementing a classic selection of fresh-made cocktails and small plates, this NYC rooftop bar makes for a great starting or ending point to a summer night on the town.
“An amazing house margarita” served in pitchers is the name of the game at Salvation Taco’s 17th-floor rooftop. Situated between Lexington and Third Avenue on 39th Street, the popular taqueria and cantina serves a menu influenced by international cuisines alongside a classics-inspired cocktail program. The charming rooftop space gives patrons room to breathe while enjoying the Murray Hill view. Exposed brick, historic columns and a great vibe make this a fun rooftop stop. Don’t miss the homemade nacho chips and spicy salsa!
Right below Houston on Orchard Street, Mr. Purple entertains guests (and swimmers) on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo Lower East Side. Both indoor and outdoor spaces combine reclaimed wood, concrete, festoon lighting and dramatic lower Manhattan cityscapes for a modern rooftop experience. And yes — a swimming pool on the west terrace is flanked by a variety of seating and a rooftop bar.
Small-batch spirits, regionally brewed craft beers, universal wine selections, fresh-ingredient cocktails, cold-pressed juices and handcrafted coffee round out the beverage options, while locally sourced ingredients fill plates from the all-day menu.
Viceroy Central Park on West 57th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is not only an easy walk to Central Park and the Theatre District, it’s also home to a gorgeous rooftop bar and the street-level Kingside Restaurant. Along with lovely views of the park, the “massively popular” rooftop has live music and top-notch drinks using fresh ingredients — an inviting way to start an evening before going to dinner or the theatre or to wind down after a night on the town.
West 47th Street’s Haven Rooftop rises between Sixth and Seventh Avenues atop the Sanctuary Hotel. With lively views of Manhattan, this Theatre District bar serves pitchers of margaritas and mojitos, along with a French-influenced menu.
Up on this popular NYC rooftop bar, summer is an ideal time to mix dessert with an adult beverage; the Milky Way — Grey Goose Vodka, Godiva chocolate liquor and crème de cacao — makes perfect sense, n’est-ce pas?
Additional bonuses: Haven Rooftop is family-friendly during the day and serves brunch with bottomless bloody marys and mimosas every Saturday and Sunday.
At the corner of 27th Street and 5th Avenue is the aptly named 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar in NoMad. Claiming New York’s largest outdoor rooftop garden, the bar also has an enclosed penthouse lounge, making this NYC rooftop bar an ideal go-to spot year-round. Bring the family for brunch (kiddos allowed when accompanied by a parent), or spend an open-air evening with gorgeous north-northwest views of the city.
Stopping by when there’s a chill in the air? Not to worry — the rooftop is partially heated on cooler nights, and twinkling, heated, transparent igloos each accommodate up to 12 guests while lighting up the space November – May.
Built in 1928, the art deco Beekman Tower at 49th Street and First Avenue is now home to Ophelia — a year-round cocktail lounge with a greenhouse terrace, a five-star menu and stunner Manhattan and East River views. Nods to its early-20th-century roots are everywhere (think antique flatware, vintage flapper accoutrements, hand-written notes, colorful tarot cards). A pewter bar is accented with rich blue walls and gorgeous windows.
Sure, you can get a tasty classic martini; but don’t pass up a chance to try its signature Ophelia’s Ascension — smoked Jamaican pepper-infused Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Maker’s Mark, Sri Lanka palm sugar, aromatic bitters and cedar smoke (yes, really).
Open to the public May through October (and year-round for private and corporate events), mad46 Rooftop Lounge tops the “Grand Dame of Madison Avenue” — The Roosevelt Hotel. This smoke-free rooftop offers a lovely view, along with lite fare that includes House Made Perfect Guacamole, Maryland Crab Cake Sliders and several pizza options.
A selection of draft and bottled beers, wines and specialty cocktails bring the rooftop experience to fruition: The Pink Flamingo refreshes with Illegal Mezcal Joven, grapefruit, club soda and lime, while the Caipirinha with Avuá Cachaça verifies that summer has, indeed, arrived in full force.
The Gansvoort Meatpacking Penthouse, just below 13th Street, is home to Plunge — a relaxed, comfortable, 14th-floor rooftop bar and lounge with panoramic views of the city and Hudson River. While swimming in the pool is for registered guests only, the view of the cool water contrasted with the cityscape, 5 – 7 PM weekday happy hour, fun music for dancing the night away and close proximity to a fantastic neighborhood filled with nightlife make Plunge, well, worth the plunge. Its summertime Plunge Pops — Orange Pinot Gris, Coco Rosé and Fruity Sangria — bring a bit of whimsy to this popular NYC rooftop bar.
The Meatpacking District’s Standard, High Line claims Le Bain as one of Manhattan’s hottest spots. A penthouse discotheque and rooftop bar with admission determined at entrance, Le Bain features world-renowned DJs, a dance floor with a plunge pool in the summer and a giant disco ball, and a rooftop creperie —both sweet and savory — for exceptional noshing while overlooking the Hudson River and downtown + midtown Manhattan. Impeccable drinks move this go-to-for-the-view NYC rooftop bar up the list.
On the 22nd floor of West 38th Street’s Archer Hotel, Spyglass Rooftop Bar mixologists serve up distinctive signature cocktails from Charlie Palmer Steak, such as the Archer Palmer with black tea-infused gin, lemon and simple syrup, plus a selection of wines and beers. A small but mighty-tasty list of snacks includes Charlie Palmer Fries, Tuna Tacos and Steak on Toast.
And then there’s the stunning view, which features the Empire State Building up close, rising up from midtown Manhattan. A Spyglass back room can be reserved for private functions, as well. Inside or out, the approachable, chic atmosphere and attentive staff bring the NYC rooftop bar experience into clear focus.
Whichever NYC rooftop bars you decide to frequent, we wish you well-concocted cocktails, beautiful weather, pleasant company and views worth toasting. Cheers!