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5 Rooftop Bars In NYC Where You're Not Just Paying For The View

Bonus points for avoiding the bros
5 Rooftop Bars In NYC Where You're Not Just Paying For The View
Journy Admin

Google will tell you that New York teems with top-notch options for Manhattans with a view of Manhattan. Experience tells you they're filled with $20 mixed drinks that taste like flat soda, mediocre views and service that makes you wish tipping was optional. But there are some that are actually good. Here's our top five picks for rooftop bars that don't suck—bonus points for the fact that they're all indoor/outdoor.

Venue Report

If You Want A View Of The Empire State Building, Go To The Skylark

Located on the 30th story of a building just south of Times Square, this cocktail bar provides the perfect perch for observing the city's rhythmic chaos.

What To Get:

Drinks cost $18 each and are on point, as are the sharing-friendly snacks.

When To Go:

Do note that it's only open from Monday to Friday, and sometimes closes for private events. Best to call ahead before you make dinner plans. During summer, you can sit outside where the roar of traffic disappears to a white noise din. But we love the Skylark just as much for winter, when we cuddle inside on their jewel-toned couches.


If You Want To Run Into Celebs, Go To Top Of The Standard

When To Go:

The best time to go is right when they open at 4pm to avoid the scene-y crowd that comes later. Walk into the lobby, take the elevators straight to the top and snag a window table.

What To Get:

The drinks are steep at $24 a pop and, while the cocktails haven't always lived up to the view, they recently hired Jonathan Lind who was a former bar manager at the Nomad Hotel to ensure their mixed drinks are destination worthy in and of themselves. Or you could just go for the relatively well-priced item Henriot Souverain Brut Champagne, which isn't cheap at about $130. But hey, it comes served in an ice bucket that resembles a golden egg with the top broken off. If you'd rather party, opt for Le Bain, which you access via a separate side entrance off the hotel.


If You Want To Sip In Silence, Go To Sir Henri

Although this sleek rooftop bar opened to much media fanfare last June, the crowds have yet to descend. We still love the mid-century modern decor, which makes us feel oh-so-NYC cool.

What To Get:

Balanced, creative drink from a Milk and Honey alum, like an melon punch fortified with aquavit or a "smoked basil fix" with bourbon.

When To Go:

This is where you go when you actually want to talk to the person you’re with and get in—unlike The Nomad and Edition. There's only a small balcony for outdoor space, so the views over Southern Manhattan won't win you points on Instagram.

Creme Design

If You Want To Feel On-Trend, Go To Mr. Purple

When To Go

The best time to go is during the day or early afternoon on weekdays, when artists, startup execs and LES residents fill the seats. There's plenty of outdoor areas with couches for lounging, tables for talking and an indoor bar with a view for drinking in the winter.

What To Get

While their tall boys of Narragansett beer are the best bargain, opt for either the bottled sparkling Negroni or bottled Moscow mule, which are served quicker than other mixed drinks. Avoid going on the weekends when it gets scene-y.

Studio Munge

If You Want To Gawk At Manhattan's Skyline, Go To Westlight

While Brooklyn rooftop bars might not reach the vertigo-inducing heights of Manhattan's, they punch above their weight in can't-stop-staring views. Case in point: Westlight in the newly-opened William Vale Hotel. Settle into an electric yellow couch, order one of their original cocktails and be prepared to fight to never leave your seat.

What To Get:

The food menu is from Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch and Locanda Verde, while the drinks come via Anne Robinson, considered by many to be one of the city's best bartenders.

When To Go:

Avoid weekends, when the crowds descend—midweek is much less chaotic. The glass window-walls can be rolled up, meaning the entire bar becomes al fresco in the summer, and indoors in the winter without sacrificing the view.

New York City Travel Tips
3 August 2018
4 min read

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