Drinking a mimosa next to a chimney on the roof or your pre-war building can be nice. But you’re not going to get panoramic views of the city from the comfort of an egg-shaped loveseat up there. And since you were probably one year younger the last time you drank an $18 vodka cranberry on top of a proper rooftop bar, you might need some help figuring out where to go in 2020. Fortunately, the 9 places on this guide have all reopened for the summer, and have a much lower chance of ruining your relationship with your landlord.
This tropical-themed cocktail bar on the 7th floor of the Sixty LES hotel has reopened its two outdoor terraces. So if you’re in the mood to sit in a pink booth with a sake cocktail and explain why you think Watchmen is the best show on television, be our guest. You can stop by Thursday through Sunday in-person, or book a reservation online so you won’t have to wait in line.
While the roof at Elsewhere is usually an open air dancefloor, it’s now one of the few spots in Bushwick where you can sip a daiquiri and take in views of Manhattan. There are tons of socially-distant tables that you can reserve for free on the bar’s website, but if you’re allergic to planning ahead, they’re also taking walk-ins. Elsewhere opens at 3pm Thursday through Sunday, but you can check out their Instagram for weather updates. This Bushwick spot is also doing a virtual DJ series called Sunstreams that you can watch here every Friday night. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to organizations like The Okra Project and The Emergency Release Fund.
If you’re looking for a rooftop with a live salsa band, plenty of socially distant tables, and more life-size props than a Disney ride, head to Zona De Cuba in The Bronx. This huge Caribbean restaurant has a colorful dance floor, gaudy chandeliers you’d find at an estate sale, a booth made from the back of an old-school Chevy, and individual igloos you can reserve for private groups. They’re taking reservations for dinner and weekend brunch right now, and you can book a table on their website.
A vineyard, but on a roof. That’s essentially what you’ll find at this rooftop wine bar in Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has rows of grape vines you’ll want to touch. It’s also one of the most unique rooftop experiences you can have in the city. To drink wine at a picnic table, on a bench swing, or in a hammock at Rooftop Reds, you’ll have to make a reservation. They also serve beer, just in case you’re inviting someone who considers wine a sedative.
Westlight is on the top floor of The William Vale hotel, and the view here makes most other rooftops feel like subway stops that sit above ground. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a birthday or the fact that your summer no longer involves explaining the difference between East, West, and Greenwich Village to an out-of-towner. Just make sure to book a table in advance. You aren’t the only one who enjoys sitting on a couch while staring at the Manhattan skyline.
A block down from Westlight, there’s another hotel (The Hoxton) that also has a rooftop bar. This one is called Summerly, and its view of the Manhattan skyline is incredible. The whole place is decked out like the beach house from Grace and Frankie, and there are a bunch of spaced out tables where you can get drinks and snacks. You can also reserve one of these tables for lunch or dinner, and if you’re interested in brunch, check their website for updates on when that’ll restart.
If there’s anything to know about the infamous Mr. Purple, it’s that this LES rooftop restaurant typically gets extremely crowded. But these days, it’s much easier to find a table here. It’s a staple for the LES party scene, but it’s also on the roof of a nice hotel. You can eat brunch at a table, drink a cold brew martini on a couch, or jump into the pool if you need to cool off. They’re open seven days a week and you can make a reservation online.
Sushi Lab, the hotel restaurant in Midtown with a relatively affordable omakase, isn’t new. But, Sushi Lab, the rooftop restaurant with a la carte options and omakase sets, is new and looks like a great place to bring someone you don’t plan on ghosting anytime soon. Before you make any big plans, you’ll need to reserve one of the socially distanced outdoor tables, or a few seats at the chef’s counter, on the restaurant’s website.
The Soho location of Arlo Roof Top (or A.R.T. for short) has string lights, graffiti art, and a decent view of the Hudson River. Plus, the patio here is huge, and it doesn’t get quite as busy as some other rooftops downtown. So if you want to sip a frozen drink and listen to loud electronic music without having to wait in a line to do it, this place is a great option. A.R.T. Soho is taking walk-ins, but you can also book a table online.
A.R.T Nomad is a laid back rooftop near Midtown that has some nice city views and a few couches where you can sit and drink a decent cocktail. Since the weather is nice, this is actually one of the better bar options in the area. You’ll need to book a reservation before you visit, and since A.R.T Nomad tends to get busy, there is a two hours limit on all tables.
From 5pm till midnight daily, Azul on The Roof is accepting table reservations for parties of six or more. Keep in mind that if you stop by with less than six people, you’ll be seated on a first come first served basis. And if you’re into things like frozen drinks and tuna tacos, you’ll feel right at home at this Soho spot.
We understand that an upscale rooftop with bottle service, a circus theme, and a mini-golf course isn’t going to work for everyone. But if you’re looking for a fun place to get socially-distant drinks with a view, you can try this spot on top of the Moxy Hotel in Times Square. Magic Hour also offers rooftop brunch on weekends, and while you don’t need to make a reservation to enjoy it, it’s probably a good idea.
If you didn’t know that Restoration Hardware (yes, the luxury furniture store) opened a massive rooftop restaurant in the Meatpacking District, surprise - this is it. RH Rooftop is a huge restaurant full of chandeliers, shrubbery, and pricey American food where you’d usually have to wait a while for a table. But now they’re taking reservations up to 48 hours in advance, so you won’t need to pass the time on a couch that costs as much as a new car.