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The Top 10 New York City Rooftop Bars to Check Out This Summer

Category Broadway

|by Mikey Miller |

Rooftop season has officially arrived

Memorial Day has come and gone, and even though summer doesn’t officially start until mid-June, rooftop season in New York has definitely arrived. One of the best parts of summer in the city is having the ability to enjoy the outdoors without freezing, and one of the most suitable ways to toast summer’s arrival is at an elevated bar overlooking the city. In celebration, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite rooftop bars in Manhattan, so that you can enjoy some of the best food and alcohol that New York has to offer, all while taking in the hot summer sun (or at least looking out at a beautiful summer day).

Looking to sample several rooftops in one night? Check out the Rooftop Lounge Experience for a VIP tour.

Toast the arrival of warmer weather at these elevated bars (Photo: iStock)

Toast the arrival of warmer weather at these elevated bars (Photo: iStock)

The Crown
Located on the 21st floor of Hotel 50 Bowery, this Chinatown rooftop bar with unobstructed views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn features Asian-inspired cocktails and small plates. Some of these menu items include original drinks called the Night Market (Casamigos Blanco, yuzu, pineapple and serrano pepper) and Red Skies at Night (Woodford Reserve, Aperol and Choya Umeshu) and small plates such as a cold noodle salad, a fluke crudo tostada, their classic lobster roll and even homemade doughnuts with miso creme. This year, The Crown debuts a new summer experience, the “Royal Summer,” which will feature regularly scheduled music, art, business and brunch events.

Gallow Green
Looking for a rooftop experience where you can become one with nature? Look no further than Gallow Green, located on the top of the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. Gallow Green has a more natural feel than most rooftop bars, with a deck that resembles a greenhouse, wooden chairs and tables for that a rustic ambiance, and opportunities to sit by faux campfires. You can hang out at Gallow Green for both brunch or dinner, the former of which is defined by its cold and hot buffets which offer shrimp cocktail, suckling pig and fried chicken.

Elsie Rooftop
Right in the center of Midtown, a block from Bryant Park, is the Elsie Rooftop, a 25th-floor penthouse rooftop bar named for the late Elsie de Wolfe, the interior decorator who created the first penthouse in the 1920s. A little pricier, yet incredibly elegant, the Elsie Rooftop is also open for both brunch and dinner. Its menu features lamb sliders, chicken kabobs, hummus zaatar and bluefin tuna tartare, and you can utilize bottle service to order some of your favorite drink selections.

The Lookup
A brand-new player in the rooftop bar scene, the Lookup just opened a few weeks ago on May 15. Brought to you by people behind Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (known for those incredibly Instagram-able milkshakes that are topped with whole slices of cake, cookies and more), look for the Lookup on the 13th floor of the Kixby Hotel (formerly Hotel Metro) in Koreatown. You won’t find any crazy milkshakes here, but you will be able to enjoy a cocktail menu by mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer, and food items like rosé-infused shrimp cocktail and Sriracha carrot hummus.

The Polynesian
Housed inside the Pod Hotel, this tiki-inspired bar sits only a couple blocks west of Times Square. The Polynesian is a fully functioning bar year-round, and it has an outdoor terrace for when the weather is reminiscent of a beautiful Hawaiian day. Owned and operated by globally renowned tiki enthusiast Brian Miller, the Polynesian offers 19 original cocktails, including the Mistaken Identity (gins, cognac, vanilla, Chinese 5-spice, yuzu, absinthe and juices) and the Damned to the Depths (rums, passion fruit curd, guava, absinthe and juices), as well as an menu of bar snacks that features coconut shrimp, crab Rangoon and an enormous Polynesian pu pu platter.

Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar
Perfect for art enthusiasts, the Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar sits on the 5th floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Offering an incredible view of Central Park East, the rooftop bar features contemporary art installations and a sunset happy hour. Only open when the Met is (weather permitting, of course), the bar is lush with greenery, and you can enjoy specialty cocktails, wine, lemonade, sandwiches and salads.

Serra Fiorita
Meaning “greenhouse” in Italian, Serra Fiorita is located on the 14th floor of Flatiron’s Eataly. Equipped with a retractable roof, this rooftop is open rain or shine, and its decor changes with the season. And inspired by the Italian countryside, the food and drink options also change with the seasons. You can enjoy an extensive menu of cocktails, which include an Aperol spritz, the Garden Grove (gin, rosemary syrup, lime juice, St-Germain and rosemary), and the Flatiron Fizz (blood orange juice, gin and club soda, garnished with orange slices), and food such as salamis, cheeses and other Italian delicacies.

Jimmy at the James
Housed on the 18th floor of the James Hotel, Jimmy might take the spirit of summer most seriously, as it has a swimming pool for its patrons to use. Modeled after the classic pub combined with 1970s New York vibes, Jimmy has views of Midtown, Wall Street, the Hudson River, and the bridges that traverse the East River. While relaxing in its incredibly chic pool, you can indulge in a John Wayne (Duke bourbon, BBQ simple, Angostura bitters and orange), a cucumber switchel (Ketel cucumber vodka, Calamansi vinegar, elderflower and John Henry bitter lemon), or a White Unicorn (Reyka vodka, Ty Ku coconut sake, rainbow stars and coconut foam), as well as Korean fried chicken wings, steamed veggie dumplings, or a spicy crunchy salmon roll.

A.R.T. NoMad
Right in NoMad, you can find the A.R.T. NoMad, which takes over the 31st floor of the Arlo NoMad hotel. Its landmark feature is a mural from the WorldPride Mural Project that honors the Big Apple itself, and the bar has beautiful views of the Hudson River and the Freedom Tower. And while you’re there, try out drinks like the Arlo Collins (Hendricks gin, cucumber, thyme, black pepper, lime and club soda), the Hells Hundreds Acres (Absolut vodka, grapefruit, rosemary, habanero and lime), and the Orchard Thief (Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey, Cynar, apple, cinnamon and lemon), and enjoy snacks like crispy artichokes, the ahi tuna tostada, and the prosciutto, fig and brie flatbread.

Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room
Not only does 30 Rock thrill and entertain through the TV content it produces right in the heart of Manhattan, but it also allows the general public to have a unique rooftop bar experience. Situated on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center, Bar SixtyFive has been open since 1934 (one year after Prohibition ended), and it offers patrons drinks such as the 1934 gin and tonic (Botanist gin, lemon, Angostura bitters and Johnnie Ryan tonic), the Silver Slipper (Brooklyn gin, crème de violette, Carpano Bianco, and lemon), and the Luso Sour (Diplomático Reserva rum, tamarind, lime and black sea salt), as well as full entrees like lobster bratwurst, a grilled ribeye and pan-roasted tilefish. Bar SixtyFive also hosts private events.

For more of the best of New York this season, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in June 2019

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