August is the perfect time to drink at one of the many rooftop bars scattered around New York City. Whether you are in the mood to have a cocktail and take in the view, lounge in the sunlight with a cold one or simply watch the sun set over the river with friends, the choices are endless. Alas, we can’t list all the great alfresco bars to stop by this season, but to get you started, here are five must-visit venues:
Head to the recently opened Archer Hotel New York in Midtown for a stylish rooftop setting. The view from the 22nd floor can’t be missed as the glassed-in space offers a panoramic look at the Empire State and Chrysler buildings. As you take in the sights, the boutique property’s bar entices with a list of New York-centric cocktails such as the Top of the World (Aperol, watermelon, prosecco and St. Germain) and The Empire State (Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, ginger and basil). All food is curated by chef David Burke‘s team and includes nibbles such as smoked salmon flatbread with ramps and fresh horseradish, chickpea fries with hummus, and candied bacon.
If you want to take advantage of a 360-degree view of the city, the recently refurbished rooftop at Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC hotel is where you’ll want to do it. Here you can relax in the garden cabana, order kebabs from the outdoor grill service and sip a mango-lime rickey until the sun sets. Plunge also has an indoor loft complete with a flat-screen television, in case the weather proves poor. On the other hand, should things stay nice, there’s an outdoor pool for hotel guests. If you’re staying dry, make sure to don in casual yet chic attire because this elegant rooftop has a dress code.
Atop the Mondrian SoHo you will find a span of bright green turf, lawn chairs and strings of lights decorating the roof — and you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy it. The 1950s-beach-club setting is designed to pay homage to Italy’s Forte dei Marmi seaside resort, so inside the 3,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor space, you will find cheery stripe umbrellas and an impressive 30-foot mural of the Tuscan coast. The bar is also quite the looker, thanks to seasonal, garden-fresh cocktails (the Tequila Avión- and honeydew-packed Dolce Verde has summer written all over it) and the frozen Limoncello from mixologist Julio Torres. There’s also a gelato counter run by il laboratorio del gelato. In fact, the only thing missing from this beach-friendly set-up is the ocean.
You don’t always have to head to a hotel rooftop for stunning scapes, though. That’s precisely the case of Birreria, a restaurant and bar situated on top of Mario Batali’s Italian food superstore, Eataly. The best part is that even though this establishment sits in the Flatiron District, great beer is never far away. Because of a collaboration with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Teo Musso of Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo, Birreria is able to brew fine ales right on the property. Couple those perfect pints with Eataly’s array of antipasti, sautéed calamari, meat and cheese platters and fresh pastas, and you have yourself a recipe for the perfect summer evening under the stars.
One of the perks of taking a turn-of-the-century hat factory and creating a boutique hotel in the Garment District in its place is having a 3,500-square-foot space stories above the streets of Manhattan to play with. Head up to take in the Refinery Hotel’s French terracotta- and repurposed wood-lined roof space, where artisanal cocktails such as the sparkling Gin-Jam (Nolet’s gin, raspberry jam and lemon juice) and a menu filled with fresh flatbreads, pork belly sliders, lobster rolls and other fun bar snacks are happily served. Enjoy sips and nibbles outdoors or, in case of rain, under the retractable glass roof, while lounging by the bubbling fountain or while taking in the cinematic look of the Empire State Building and beyond. Reservations are recommended.