The best way to experience the Big Apple? Drink atop one of the many NYC rooftop bars! After exploring rooftop after rooftop while living in New York, here are 7 of my favorites.
Rooftop bars? That’s not a road trip, Stephanie. Yes, yes. I hear you. My home life slightly contradicts my travel life (and therefore blog); my adventures deal almost entirely with road trips, but here in NYC? I’m all about public transportation. And, here in NYC in the SPRING (yes – it’s almost here!) I’m all about public transportation that drops me in front of my favorite New York rooftop bars. And my friend, there are many.
I consider myself an expert in the “NYC rooftop bar scene,” because that’s the only place I want to be when warm weather hits. And, since spring sunshine may be on the horizon (oh, wait – did I say that already? Yeah… #overlyexcited), I can’t stop thinking about rooftop season. Alas, that’s why today is the perfect day to highlight my favorite rooftop bars in New York City – and what type of “outing” each bar is best for.
1. 230 Fifth – Touring Visitors
230 Fifth gained its fame for the plastic igloos and complimentary robes it provides guests during the winter months, but this gem is just as great come spring and summer. The rooftop overlooks all of NYC’s highlights – Empire State Building, the Hudson, the Chrysler Building, etc. – and even has a “skyline guide” to help newer New Yorkers navigate the skyline (which is why I love taking visitors!)
Location: 230 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10001
Dress code: “General Dress Code for Friday & Saturday Nights: NO t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, sports jerseys, sneakers, work boots, athletic wear, sandals, flip-flops and no baseball caps or hats.”
2. Mr. Purple – Casual Sunday
I first visited Mr. Purple on a Sunday in the fall, and was amazed by the chill vibes and open seats. (Most NYC rooftops are PACKED!) I revisited twice, both times on Saturday, and it was a lot busier and the opposite of chill (AKA, it was bumpin’). With that, I would highly recommend a Sunday visit here, and get excited — (some) because beers only cost $7! (Much cheaper than most rooftops!)
Location: 180 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Dress code: Not listed, but dress sharper on Friday and Saturday nights, casual on Sundays (from my experience)
3. Berry Park – Day Drinking Saturday
Part rooftop bar, part German beer hall, this Williamsburg hangout is one of my favorites. Berry Park has great views of the city, delicious German brews on tap (and of course, numerous cocktails) and a fun and lively ambiance. I’d visit here in the late afternoon for your Saturday out on the town because golden hour overlooking Brooklyn – and Manhattan – is gorgeous.
Location: 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Dress code: Casual
4. Spyglass Rooftop – A Parents’ Visit
One of the smaller rooftop bars in NYC, Spyglass is a great option when your parents are visiting because the views are epic – but the setting is really relaxed. And, even better – it’s centrally located near Rockefeller Center, so if you’re sightseeing with your parents you can just hop on up. Because seating is limited, I’d recommend getting here right when it opens.
Location: 47 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018
Dress code: “Business casual or going out attire”
5. Gallow Green – Happy Hour
Gallow Green had been on my NYC rooftop bars list for years, but I finally got there in summer 2017 with my friend, Jen, (AKA the founder of The Travel Women!) We caught up after work, and while we struggled to find seats, I’d highly recommend visiting during the week because I’ve heard the weekends can get even crazier. With rows of festive plants and views overlooking Chelsea, Gallow Green has a Boho atmosphere that separates it from other rooftops. If you can, get here stat!
Location: 542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Dress code: Casual
6. The Top of the Standard – Special Occasion
Of all the rooftop bars I’ve visited, the Standard Hotel’s rooftop is by far the fanciest. I dropped upwards of $60 on a medium-sized margarita pitcher. (Woof.) You definitely pay for what you get, though, because the views from The Standard are by far the best. They have clear “walls” that give you floor-to-open-ceiling views from the Meatpacking District to downtown Manhattan, the Hudson River and even to the Statue of Liberty. Given the prices, I’d recommend hitting up the Standard for a special event or occasion.
Location: The Standard, High Line, 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014
Dress code: “smart casual attire focusing on well-tailored and fitted clothing with the appropriate footwear”
7. Press Lounge – Exploring the West Side
Anyone who commutes across the Hudson knows the far west side of Midtown Manhattan is basically a dead zone. There are a few great spots here and there (lookin’ at you Gotham West Market) but other than that… not so much. Enter the Press Lounge, a fancy-ish rooftop lounge on 11th Avenue that overlooks New Jersey, the Hudson and NYC’s tallest skyscrapers. This is a great spot to stop if you’re exploring the west side, or, really any time you’re looking for a new view!
Location: 653 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Dress code: “elegant casual”
Looking for additional New York adventures? After living here 3+ years, here are some of my favorites!