New York has one of the most iconic skylines in the world, so if you want to truly appreciate the enormity of this city, climb up to the roof of one of its skyscrapers to soak up the view. And to go one better, find a spot where you can do this with a drink in hand. It's not easy to choose the best rooftops bars in New York: with each cocktail, you think you've discovered the best view until the next one dethrones it. So, with the help of our expert consultants, we have done the hard work for you and compiled a list of the ten best rooftop bars in New York…
Lemon’s Rooftop Bar - Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn
The hipster one
In the heart of Brooklyn, facing the East River, the Whyte Hotel is a handsome brick building, with a modern glass cube structure on its roof. This former warehouse has been converted into a stylish bohemian hotel complete with huge windows, exposed brick, and steel columns. Its rooftop bar is a real highlight, attracting a colourful crowd in search of a fun Brooklyn night out. Sip cocktails while gazing out over one of the most beautiful views in New York and arrive in the early evening for the chance to see the sky lit up with stunning sunset shades.
Harriet's Rooftop & Lounge - 1 Hotel, Brooklyn
The Instagrammable one
After a trip to Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) - one of the most scenic neighbourhoods in the city - where you can walk around the park at the foot of Brooklyn Bridge, with its iconic views of Manhattan, and admire the combination of tech companies alongside workshops, local markets and art galleries, we recommend heading up to the rooftop of the 1 Hotel. In tune with the neighbourhood, this hotel is known for its eco-credentials, thanks to the use of recycled materials in its decor, the lush 25ft ‘living’ wall in the lobby and the fact that it is run entirely on wind power. On the 10th floor you’ll find the 3,500-square-foot roof terrace that looks out over Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. The bar’s hippie-chic atmosphere is at its best in the evening, but if you’re here for the view, it’s well worth arriving before the sun sets.
Westlight - The William Vale Hotel, Williamsburg
The panoramic one
The William Vale is a large, modern hotel built in 2016 on the East River. It's contemporary architecture sets it apart from the low-rise architecture of the surrounding neighbourhood and makes it a must-see in the area. It's the perfect place to stop after a stroll through Williamsburg, where you can see the industrial areas that are gradually being converted into showrooms, alongside organic food stores and yoga centres. Once you reach the hotel, head up to the 22nd floor where you’ll find the Westlight Rooftop Bar. The bar was designed by Studio Munge and has a minimalist, industrial vibe to it with spectacular panoramic views of Manhattan. With such a wonderful skyline to admire, it’s easy to forget to look down at the warehouses, murals, and wooden water tanks that are so characteristic of Williamsburg, and just as worthy of your attention. If you’ve got children in tow, they will love the pool and the burgers at the food truck, so you can sip your cocktail in peace.
The Skylark, Manhattan
The elegant one
Located 30 floors above Manhattan’s Garment District, you’ll find The Skylark cocktail bar, with its view over nearby Times Square, the Empire State Building and the Hudson River. In winter, you can appreciate the cosy decor of the interior space designed by Meyer Davis Studio, while in summer you can flock to the roof to look down on the lights of Times Square.
Refinery Rooftop Bar - Refinery Hotel, Manhattan
The bohemian one
Refinery Rooftop Bar doesn’t just make our list of best rooftop bars in New York for its views, but also for its cosy atmosphere - thanks to the string lights and candles hung around the room - and typical New York-style design - think industrial decor, with metallic structures, exposed red brick walls and visible pipes. There are three seating areas, one outdoors, one indoors and one under the retractable roof, making it perfect for any time of year. The cocktails here are a particular highlight…
Le Bain - The Standard Hotel, Manhattan
The festive one
Located on the roof of The Standard Hotel on the High Line in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, Le Bain is a huge rooftop bar that doubles as a nightclub, which has featured some of the world’s best DJ's. By night you can party with New York at your feet, and by day you can enjoy a more relaxed drink in the sunshine, followed by a dip in the Jacuzzi.
The Rooftop at the Jane - Jane Hotel, Manhattan
The vintage one
Those who can’t get into Le Bain - which is just down the road - often find themselves here. The Jane is an old, red brick hotel, with vintage décor, big velvet Chesterfield sofas, mirror balls, retro lampshades and fireplaces. A former artists' den in Greenwich Village, the hotel and bar has kept its warm atmosphere. We love heading up to the roof in the early evening and settling down on one of the wicker sofas in time to watch the sun set over the Hudson.
230 Fifth, Manhattan
The popular one
230 Fifth is one of New York’s largest and most popular rooftop terraces, perched on the 20th floor at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 27th Street overlooking the Empire State building. The restaurant offers brunch at the weekend, which is great if you're traveling with your family as children under 21 aren’t allowed on the roof after 9pm, and teens will love munching on their burgers in front of the Empire State Building.
The Press Lounge - Ink 48 Hotel, Manhattan
The classic one
On the 16th floor of the Ink 48 Hotel in Hell's Kitchen, The Press Lounge rooftop bar may not be as high as others on the list, but offers one of the most spectacular views of the city, overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Expect a sophisticated, lounge-style atmosphere with high quality cocktails and small plates.
JIMMY - The James Hotel, Manhattan
The chic one
This Soho rooftop is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon, thanks to its swimming pool, sun loungers and fantastic view of Midtown's skyscrapers, Wall Street, the Hudson River and the Freedom Tower. In winter we also like its luxurious interior lounges with their giant bay windows, perfect for taking refuge from bad weather.