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Food + Drink

The Best Rooftop Bars in New York City

We here at Jetsetter try not to pick favorites. But when it comes to the best rooftop bars in NYC, it’s damn hard not to. From sky-high cocktail dens to a surf-themed pop-up bar, these are the rooftops we’ll be raising a glass to this summer.

Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.

See recent posts by Chelsea Bengier

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Manhattan Skyline View at 1 Rooftop, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Photos courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge


Rooftop at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

All eyes are on Brooklyn's 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, the latest addition to BK's ever-evolving Dumbo district. There's no such thing as a bad view here--not from the rooms with their floor-to-ceiling windows; not from the ground floor Neighbors cafe, which looks out on the Brooklyn Bridge Park; and especially not from the buzzy sky-high bar. The sprawling rooftop debuted over Memorial weekend complete with a boomerang-shaped plunge pool dotted with plush chaise lounges and a wraparound terrace with spot-on views of the waterfront, Statue of Liberty and One World Trade.

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The Crown, Hotel 50 Bowery

Chinatown is home to one of the coolest new rooftops in the city, thanks to the opening of Hotel 50 Bowery. The 21st-floor Crown takes advantage of the area’s low skyline, offering two massive indoor/outdoor terraces which face north and south for dual views. It's run by none other than chef Dale Talde and his Three Kings Restaurant Group, so you can expect Asian-influenced cocktails (try the Black Dragon, a blend of Elyx vodka, oolong tea, green tea, and spiced calamansi) as well as boozy, fruity slushies. But that’s not all: later in the summer, Talde and his team will also open an on-site restaurant, Rice & Gold, and basement bar, Green Lady.

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Westlight at William Vale, Brooklyn

We know New York hipsters love Williamsburg—and the William Vale hotel is the neighborhood’s newest hangout. The eye-popping tower is a destination in and of itself, with 20,000 square feet of retail shops, a massive public park on a terrace overlooking the skyline, plus a 60-foot outdoor pool (the longest hotel pool in the city). But the real sky-high stunner is Westlight, a glass box-like bar on the 22nd floor with killer cocktails and bites from Andrew Carmellini. Don’t miss the tequila cured salmon with crushed avocado and chili lime tortillas.

RELATED: 10 Best Hotels in New York City

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Surf Shack, Arlo Hotel

Want a bit of beachside boozing without leaving the city? Try Surf Shack, a flirty summer pop-up taking over Goodstory rooftop at the Arlo SoHo. The themed lounge will have tiki cocktails, rosé and beer-filled baby pools as well as grilling stations and tasty bites like carnitas tacos. Bonus: on Wednesday and Friday mornings (from 7-9 a.m.), it’ll host surf-inspired workouts on the deck (surfboards included, of course).

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St. Cloud Social at the Knickerbocker

Although true locals tend to avoid Times Square at all costs, it's worth braving the crowds for the St. Cloud Social smack in the center of Midtown. The bar is located in the Knickerbocker Hotel, a 1906 Beaux Arts building that once welcomed icons including F. Scott Fitzgerald and John D. Rockefeller. Today, you can sip 1920s-style gin martinis and mingle with the elites at the 7,800-square-foot rooftop and its private VIP sky pods. The piña colada popsicles and seasonal cocktails like the Brazilian Orchard (green apple, cucumber and cachaça) are also favorites for beating the heat.

RELATED: 10 Stylish--and affordable--hotels in NYC

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Photos courtesy of Hotel Indigo LES


Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo, NYC

Gorgeous sunset views, inventive cocktails, New York’s pretty people—there’s nothing quite like a buzzy summer rooftop bar in the Lower East Side. See it for yourself at Mr. Purple, on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo. The 8,750-square-foot indoor/outdoor space is the brainchild of design firm Crème and has two large terraces, a plunge pool, and high-top tables where you can feast on flatbreads, oysters, and more. Try the signature GG Manhattan (Woodford Reserve bourbon, carpano antica vermouth, angostura bitters) and take in the scene.

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Le Bain, Standard Hotel

Some things just never get old. Take Le Bain at The Standard, High Line. This penthouse party in the Meatpacking District has long been an NYC nightlife institution, and packs Gotham’s leggy PYTs and celebs into its glitzy halls. Go for a dip in the sexy plunge pool jacuzzi set right into the dance floor, before heading to the rooftop creperie, with its 360-degree vistas of the Big Apple.

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Gallow Green, McKittrick

Gallow Green may not have endless skyline views, but what the place lacks in vistas, it makes up for in atmosphere. The magical Secret Garden-esque space is part of the McKittrick Hotel, the setting for New York’s famous interactive play, Sleep No More. Inside is all lush plants, fairy lights, and hidden nooks to cuddle up in. In winter, a rustic ski-chalet theme takes over, with outdoor fire pits, log cabins, and pine tree glades.

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Photo by Matthew Williams


Ides Bar at The Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

On almost any night of the week, you'll find a line around the block waiting to get into the The Ides at the Wythe Hotel. The place is worth the hype: housed in a former industrial warehouse, the 6th floor bar has swoon-worthy views of the East River and New York City’s glittering skyline, not to mention a very cool crowd. Claim a spot on the terrace to watch the sunset while drinking small-batch spirits or craft beer.

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