The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and layers are being shed. Finally! Spring is in the air and, for New Yorkers — and the throng of visitors who'll be traveling to the city — that means one very important thing: rooftop season! So get those winter-hardened tootsies in shape and dust off those sandals: Here are New York’s best rooftop bars for drinking in the sunshine.
1. Ides at Wythe Hotel
The best place for Manhattan views is not actually in Manhattan — it’s across the river at art deco-inspired Ides rooftop bar at the eternally hip Wythe Hotel. Commanding sweeping views over the East River and Manhattan, this place is often packed so get there early enough to take in a glowing sunset with cocktail in hand — and phone, of course, to capture those envy-inducing selfies.
2. Salon de Ning at The Peninsula
Gaze down at shoppers and yellow cabs scuttling down Fifth Avenue while sipping cocktails at Salon de Ning, a chic and breezy old Shanghai-influenced rooftop bar and terrace at the ultra-glam Peninsula. Planning (or lucky enough to be invited to) a special event? Head for the 22nd floor wrap-around Sun Terrace for added ambiance.
3. Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel
Bookworms will appreciate Bookmarks' signature cocktails — the Great Gatsby, the Capote, the Hemingway — as well the writer’s den’s book collection and the inspiring New York Public Library views from the poetry garden on the open-air terrace.
4. Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel
If you think the McKittrick is an actual hotel, you’ve not been paying attention. It is, in fact, the giant warehouse space utilized each night for smash-hit immersive theater experience Sleep No More. Bucolic Gallow Green, the venue’s rooftop bar, is named for a Scottish field where accused witches were executed. For added ghostly ambiance, take a seat in the vintage railcar.
5. Le Bain at the Standard
OK, the doorman can be… difficult. And the crowd can veer toward… jerky. But Le Bain, even after all these years, is still worth the trip for the breathtaking views of the Hudson River and soaring skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan. The two-level space boasts an artificial-turfed alfresco bar, as well as possibly the most famous hot tub in the city.
6. Soho House
Stellar views of downtown Manhattan and a heated pool open year-round sound great, right? Well, sadly Soho House is members only, so, if you want to have a dip in one of the city’s chicest rooftop pools, you’d better start sweet-talking some VIPs now.
7. The Roof at Viceroy
Decked out in brass details and custom walnut-and-leather sofas, The Roof at the impossibly cool Viceroy on 57th Street is designed to resemble a luxury yacht. From its 29th-floor rooftop lounge and terrace, it does kind of feel like you are sailing over the city, gazing down at Central Park as you glide.
8. Bar 54 at Hyatt Times Square
Vertigo-sufferers look away. Bar 54 soars a mighty 54 floors above Times Square. Not content with laying claim to the title of tallest hotel rooftop lounge in the city, Bar 54 also boasts a cocktail menu by iconic mixologist, Julie Reiner. With your squad? Grab a punchbowl to share.
9. La Piscine at Hôtel Americano
Only open in summertime and rather sceney, La Piscine is nevertheless a must-do for its cool (though tiny) pool and views across Chelsea and the High Line. If you’re not a guest of the hotel, you will have to pony up a $40 cover charge, but who’s counting?
10. The Empire Rooftop Bar & Lounge
If you've come to party, you've come to the right place. Music volume at ear-splitting level? Check. Gaggles of models and scenesters? Check. Gorgeous views over the Lincoln Center and the Upper West Side, complete with iconic neon sign? Well, that's what makes this one worth the headache.
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