Rooftops in Manhattan are a strange breed. Entirely forgotten in winter months, they come alive in the spring to the point where scoring a coveted spot from which to admire a Manhattanhenge sunset becomes near impossible. But that's part of the appeal. Walk up to a NYC rooftop on any given summer day or night, and you'll be greeted with a happy crowd of sunset enthusiasts all with a tiki cocktail and a beef slider in hand.
In a way, rooftops in New York City are like the frosé of restaurants. Don't expect high cuisine (except for in rare occasions). Don't even expect a table—as real estate is limited, you may have to enjoy your lobster roll sans chair. But what NYC rooftops lack in gourmet fare and personal space, they more than make up for in handcrafted cocktails and unparalleled views.
Are you in the mood for tacos and a mezcal cocktail overlooking the Hudson River? How about countryside Italian and biodynamic wines in the heart of Flatiron? Or maybe you'd prefer your small bites and margarita overlooking the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn? Whatever you're in the mood for, we have the perfect rooftop restaurants in New York City for you.
Head to the Arlo Soho rooftop for unbeatable views of the Hudson River, craft beers, cocktails, and small plates in a laid-back atmosphere. It's the perfect spot to sit down for a happy hour drink and small bites and watch the sunset.
Eat and Drink: Guac and chips with a St. Germain elderflower spritz
As if plucked off the streets of Old Havana, Hotel Hugo's Azul rooftop restaurant and bar channels a Cuban cantina vibe against the backdrop of magnificent panoramic city views. Here, enjoy frozen drinks and tacos with the occasional live music act.
Eat and Drink: Pan-seared tuna tacos and an El Tapatio cocktail
Jimmy at The James
New Yorkers have long been going to Jimmy at The James in SoHo for the unbeatable 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. In this 18th-story cocktail lounge, sit by the fireplace (in winter) or by the pool (in summer) and soak in the views with a drink in hand.
Eat and Drink: An all-American burger and a classic mint julep
If you're looking for something casual that delivers on food and drinks, head to Empellón Al Pastor. The Murray Hill location offers a rooftop experience during the summer months at the POD 39 Hotel. Expect to find bar snacks, tacos, margaritas, and tiki-inspired cocktails.
Eat and Drink: Chips and guacamole with a Mezcal margarita
Neighborhood: Murray Hill
If you have a coveted Soho House membership (or have a friend that does), run to Dumbo House's rooftop where you run the chance of brushing shoulders with Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin. The Brooklyn hot spot has unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn bridge and serves up the best in food and drinks in true Soho House fashion.
Eat and Drink: Murray's Burrata and a house rosé
One of the hottest new rooftops to hit Manhattan in the past few years, the Broken Shaker is a Miami outpost known for its incredible handcrafted cocktails in a laid-back rooftop oasis atmosphere. In Miami, Broken Shaker was a James Beard Award semifinalist and winner of Tales of the Cocktail's Best American Hotel Bar, so you know you're in good hands.
Eat and Drink: A shrimp ceviche with a cocoa puff old-fashioned
The new Made Hotel's 18th-floor lounge with panoramic views of New York City offers tiki-inspired cocktails, craft beers, and batch cocktails for sharing. Good Behavior doesn't serve dinner, but the hotel's restaurant, Ferris, can more than make up for your food cravings, should you get peckish throughout the evening.
Eat and Drink: A mai tai and a lobster toast (at Ferris)
Neighborhood: Midtown West
For a luxe night out, head to Catch Roof. It can be tricky to reserve a spot on the coveted rooftop, but if you're lucky enough to gain entry, you can enjoy a delicious meal and drinks on top of the world. After dark, the rooftop transforms into a lounge where you can fend for a spot at the bar or reserve a table with bottle service.
Eat and Drink: Baked king crab hand rolls and a Lush Lemonade
Perched atop the iconic Beekman Tower, Ophelia Lounge is a newly revamped restaurant and bar sporting plush banquettes, cocktails, and East River views. The wraparound patio is not for the faint of heart—the high-altitude atop the 26th floor is enough to make heads spin—but the interiors boast a quaint old New York intimacy.
Eat and Drink: Ahi tuna tartare and an Ophelia's Ascension to drink
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Like most high-altitude Manhattan spots, Refinery Rooftop serves up craft cocktails and a light fare in an industrial-chic atmosphere with dramatic views. It's the perfect spot for a happy hour drink, but beware: Every other New Yorker working in Midtown probably had the same idea, so it's safer to reserve a table.
Eat and Drink: A margherita flatbread and a rooftop spritz
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Head over to DUMBO and you'll find the best views of the Manhattan skyline, especially at sunset. At the newly opened 1 Hotel rooftop, eat and drink poolside on a Saturday afternoon—you'll never feel the need to escape the city in summer months.
Eat and Drink: A lobster roll with a white sangria
If the after-work crowd of Manhattan rooftop bars isn't quite your thing, escape to Northern Territory in Greenpoint, where the rooftop feels more like a local tavern than a tourist hotspot. This cozy Australian-themed bar offers Aussie fare, beers, and cocktails in woody industrial surrounds.
Eat and Drink: Fish and chips with a Cooper's Pale Ale
A local favorite, Mr. Purple is a rooftop restaurant and bar perched on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo. The Lower East Side haunt is meant to emulate the vibe of an artist loft, offering indoor and outdoor areas strewn with twinkling lights and contemporary furniture. Enjoy small bites made with locally sourced ingredients and imbibe with small-batch spirits, craft beers, and modern cocktails.
Eat and Drink: Buttermilk fried chicken sliders and a Mr. Purple IPA
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
If dinner and a live show is your idea of a good time, try Chelsea's iconic Sleep No More experiential theatre, followed by a drink and a meal at Gallow Green. Or skip the show and go straight to the rooftop. Either way, you'll be delighted by this rooftop bar's leafy environs that feels as though you're miles away from the concrete jungle.
Eat and Drink: Watermelon salad and margherita pizza with a White Widow cocktail
Serra by Birreria
If great food is more important to you than the view, head over to Serra by Birreria at Eataly, an Italian countryside respite in the heart of Manhattan. Sit down at one of the rustic tables in the shade, and share down-to-earth dishes made with simple quality ingredients and a bottle of biodynamic wine.
Eat and Drink: Casarecce con pesto alla Genovese and a glass of Barbaresco
Boom Boom Room
The Standard's Boom Boom Room is probably more known for its glitzy club crowds than its food, but the top of the Standard does serve a light fare that's worth a try. Here, take in the Hudson River views in a shiny opulent interior by Roman & Williams.
Eat and Drink: English pea ravioli, a glass of champagne, and (why not?) a side of caviar
The Roof at the Viceroy
The Roof at the Viceroy Hotel by Central Park is known to have some of the city's best views. This alluring lounge and outdoor terrace offers an expansive collection of small-batch spirits, regionally brewed craft beers, global wine offerings, and a rotating selection of modern cocktails and small bites.
Eat and Drink: Grass-fed beef sliders and a Midtown martini
For seasonal, soulful cuisine with a stunning view, head to Manhatta, a relatively new outpost located on the 60th floor of the 28 Liberty building. There, you can enjoy an upscale lunch or dinner with a sweeping view of the city below. Although it's indoors, you'll still feel on top of the world.
Eat and Drink: Grilled wagyu coulotte and The Manhatta
Neighborhood: Financial District
Cantina Rooftop serves up modern Mexican fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner with specials like Taco Tuesday and Big Wednesday throughout the week. The colorful terrace is filled with bright chairs, string lights, and plenty of fresh plants for an atmosphere that will make you think you've escaped the hectic city—that is, until you take a look at the view of skyscrapers and highrises all around you.
Eat and Drink: Asada tacos with and a coco loco mojito
Neighborhood: Midtown West
Experience a luxe tiki lounge in the heart of New York City at The Polynesian. Situated atop the Pod Times Square Hotel in Midtown, the indoor/outdoor spot resplendent with bamboo slated ceilings and island-inspired architecture includes a terrace with sweeping views of the city below. The menu includes 19 original cocktails and one of the largest Rum collections in the world. You can also chow down on items like Hawaiian ribs and tuna sliders.
Eat and Drink: Split a Maramamama Punch with friends and snack on pork spring rolls
Neighborhood: Midtown West
The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge
The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge is a luxurious venue to visit for a cocktail or a full meal. With indoor and outdoor areas, the hotspot offers excellent views of the city from an iconic destination (if you're familiar with Gossip Girl, you've definitely seen the neon red sign on the rooftop before). As far as New York rooftops go, this 8000-square-foot space is about as expansive as it gets. It's home to not one but two bars, a fireplace, and a retractable roof.
Eat and Drink: Indulge in duck confit tacos with a glass of merlot
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Both a rooftop bar and a spacious indoor lounge, Monarch is open day and night year-round on the 18th-floor penthouse of the building. The eclectic, maximalist décor is reason enough to stop in for a drink, but you can also enjoy light bites and a great view of the Empire State Building. It's ideal for happy hour after work or a weekend afternoon of fun.
Eat and Drink: Citrus shrimp ceviche with a classic mojito
The Terrace by Social Drink & Food
The Terrace by Social Drink & Food is located on the roof of Yotel, a hotel located in Hell's Kitchen. Open day and night, The Terrace is at its most lively after the sun sets and thanks to heaters and a covered area, it's open year-round for food, drinks, and socializing. Plus, during the summer the venue hosts an outdoor cinema experience where you can catch a flick on the roof.
Eat and Drink: Keep it simple with a pizza and a beer.
Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen
If you're craving space to move around and enjoy yourself, visit Magic Hour, New York City's largest hotel rooftop with indoor and outdoor areas. Open all year, the bar and lounge includes what it refers to as an "urban amusement park," featuring a carousel that's been transformed into a seating area, an oversized garden, and a playful putt-putt course complete with life-size animals in naughty positions.
Eat and Drink: Corn hush puppies and champagne
Last but certainly not least, one of Williamsburg's latest hot spots is Westlight on the roof of The William Vale. The rooftop bar with panoramic skyline views serves up handcrafted cocktails and small bites—in true rooftop fashion.
Eat and Drink: Shrimp cocktail dumplings and a Mirrorstone cocktail
Next up: The best hotels in Manhattan, period.