New York City wasn't christened "the city that never sleeps" for no good reason. No matter what time of the night you're out and about you'll always find something to do, be it hunting for a feed in Little Italy or Chinatown, checking out the always hectic Time Square or clubbing in the exclusive Meatpacking district.
If you're visiting the Big Apple there's no better way to explore the city while indulging in a few quiet froths than by visiting the numerous rooftop bars scattered throughout New York. Most offer spectacular views along with a little bit of NY hospitality, but with so many to choose from it's hard to know where to start, so we've narrowed it down to our favourites for you to enjoy next time you're passing through.
Perched 18 stories above The James Hotel in Soho, JIMMY is a contemporary take on the classic pub with a 70's New York twist. The interior is refined and classical but it's the outside deck that will leave you breathless, with panoramic views of Wall Street, Midtown and the Hudson River. In keeping with the wooden floors and cinnamon coloured decor, JIMMY serves classic cocktails with an American influence, including the Grilled Pineapple Mojito and Chicken Hot Toddy, made up of Hendricks Gin, hot chicken stockpot, celery bitters, carrot and parsley. Oh yeah, did we mention the rooftop pool to cool off in when the summer mercury gets a bit spicy?
Touted as New York's largest rooftop bar, Fifth Rooftop covers a massive area that houses large umbrellas and deck chairs during summer and heated igloos during winter. Special events are a regular occurrence throughout the calendar year while you can reserve tables with bottle service from as little as $180 for two people. Cocktails and beer are in ample supply, but if you really want to take things to the next level order yourself a bottle of Dom Perignon Rose 1998 for $2,260, or maybe get yourself a Macallan 18-year-old for $1,024.
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge
Catering to a weird mix of the after-work crowd and 20-something hipsters, Magic Hour is an adult playground with a carnival feel. There are two different outdoor areas providing unique views of the Manhattan skyline as well as interesting animal sculptures and a mini-golf course dubbed "Foreplay." Snacks are available if you get a little hungry, and while the cocktail list is tasty, their take on the Moscow Mule, known as the Magic Mule, is a particular delight.
In the heart of Chinatown some 21 stories above the Hotel 50 Bowery is The Crown rooftop bar. There are two outdoor terraces offering different views of the New York City landscape and a small yet mouth-watering selection of beverages, including interesting beer, wine and cocktails. If you're feeling peckish head downstairs to Rice & Gold, an Asian-inspired eatery where you can sample snacks like edamame and Thai apple salad or go all out and order a crispy orange duck or northern style beef pho.
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American's love a good theme bar and Bookmarks is for those that like to find a quiet corner with a good read and a cold beer. With a literary-inspired cocktail list (we recommend the Tequila Mockingbird or F. Scotch Fitzgerald), a great selection of red and white wines and a delicious selection of snacks - including cheese platters, pretzel bites and truffled popcorn - Bookmarks offers fantastic views in a classically relaxed rooftop that's more a boozy library than a nightclub.
You'll feel like you've stepped into the streets of Old Havana when visiting Hotel Hugo's Azul rooftop bar. Channelling a Cuban cantina decor the bar merges vibrant colours with ample greenery in a cosy setting with 360-degree views of Lower Manhattan. There's a live Cuban band on Sunday and movie night every Monday, with a large selection of Cuban rum inspired drinks available.
This rooftop bar and restaurant located on top of the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side recreates a loft ambience mixing wooden furnishings and metal finishing with various shades of purple. The incredibly long bar means you'll always be served in a timely fashion while the addition of an outdoor pool makes this a great summer spot. Like most NY bars, cocktails are all the rage, but there's also a great selection of craft beer and wine you can sample, while the food menu includes oysters, sliders and cheese & charcuterie boards.
If you're getting homesick then a quick visit to the Aussie themed Northern Territory will pick you up and help you forget your travel blues. It's no surprise this bar is located in Brooklyn, with the inside featuring hand-painted murals and the rooftop bar a great space to enjoy some Australian delicacies in the sun. Sip on a Fosters or Coopers while chowing down on a meat pie in this delightfully inviting premises. It doesn't get any more (stereotypically) Aussie than that.
Great views of the Empire State Building are hard to come by but that's exactly what you get at The Heights. Clocking in at 31 stories high, this chic looking bar also has a glass bottom floor for those who want views of the streets below. The cocktail list is inspired by the surrounding neighbourhoods, so you can grab a refreshing Brooklyn Heights (tequila, lime, lemon, fresh pressed watermelon juice) or try the Crown Heights (absolut elyx, ford’s gin, lillet blanc, fennel bitters) if you want something with a bit of bite.