Hotels with rooftop bars in NYC


Finding and gaining access to the best hotels with rooftop bars in NYC can be tricky, especially for non-locals who aren’t always in the know. Here’s our list of some top options in NYC, and how to get into them.

These rooftop bars offer some of the best views in NYC. Image credit: ventdusud/iStock
These rooftop bars offer some of the best views in NYC. Image credit: ventdusud/iStock

New York City rooftop bars are typically a hot commodity in the concrete jungle, especially during the warmer months.

Whether you are looking to be among the skyscrapers, wanting that sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline, or just want to be elevated enough to be above the touristy crowds while still getting an incredible view, there’s a hotel rooftop just for you. Below is our list of some of the best hotels with rooftop bars in NYC.

Castell – Spanish-inspired bar with classic 60s cocktails

This relatively new Spanish-inspired rooftop is perched high above the streets of the Garment District at the top of the AC Hotel in New York. Castell (castle in Catalan) focuses on highlighting classic cocktails of the 1960s, which includes a menu full of martini concoctions ranging from dry to dirty, 50/50, and Spanish.

The martini menu at Castell includes a gin and/or vodka option with a profile and garnish, specifically tailored to the drink at hand. The food menu at Castell offers reimagined Mediterranean dishes that include toasts, salads, and larger shared plates.

1 Rooftop Garden & Bar – picture-perfect NYC skyline views

If you are looking for the best hotel views in NYC, you’ll need to take a ride over to Dumbo, just across the Brooklyn Bridge, and head straight to 1 Rooftop Garden & Bar, located inside the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.

The expansive 3,500 square foot space inside one of the best luxury hotels in NYC is a hotspot seven nights a week.

Here you will find a mixed crowd of locals, tourists seeking those perfect photo opportunities of the city skyline, and a party-ready crowd when the sun goes down. The bar menu includes signature cocktails including Heatstroke, a popular tequila, and mezcal-based drink.

Food options include bar-centric bites like soft pretzels and French fries, although they do offer an incredible Lobster Roll if you find yourself needing substance. The bar charges a 20 USD entry fee Monday – Friday from 4 p.m – Midnight, and Saturday & Sunday 12 p.m – 12 a.m.

The Turf Club – soak up the sun with crafty drinks

High up on the 22nd floor of The William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, is the wildly popular Westlight rooftop bar, which transforms into The Turf Club during the summer months.

The Turf Club is one of the best offerings for rooftop hotels in NYC and hosts crowds day and night in an alfresco palm tree-lined space with sweeping views of Manhattan. There are lawn games, beanbag chairs, and craft cocktails. The bar menu is a sampling of what is normally offered at Westlight and includes small bites like popcorn, sliders, and soft pretzels. There is a 20 USD fee to enter the Turf Club and advance ticket purchases are highly encouraged, as the summer rooftop scene is New York is something not to be missed.

Soak up the sun with these rooftop bars in NYC. Image credit: pixelfit/iStock
Soak up the sun with these rooftop bars in NYC. Image credit: pixelfit/iStock

The Polynesian – a celebration of culture

If you find yourself in busy Times Square and feel a bit overwhelmed with the crowds, head straight towards 42nd Street and 9th Avenue to The Polynesian at Pod 39 for a relaxing tropical cocktail.

Technically not a rooftop, The Polynesian is located on the third floor of the hotel and has a large outdoor terrace with incredible views of Times Square. Indoors, expect to find lots of bamboo and peacock blues in addition to a really fun bar menu created by bartender and part owner, Brian Miller.

If you’re with a group or are just feeling thirsty, there are a few large creations that celebrate Polynesian culture, like the Exotica Bowl served on a clamshell-shaped platter wafting with dry ice, or the Hokule’a Punch, which is packed full of rums.

The short food menu is a considered mix of spiced seafood fare (ahi tuna poke, crispy calamari, crab rangoon puffs) and crowd pleasers (ribs, burgers, fries), with the Polynesian Pu Pu Platter available as a pick-and-mix option for groups.

Arlo Roof Top (A.R.T.) – gorgeous Hudson River views

Recently rebranded and refreshed this past summer is A.R.T., a rooftop bar located above the Arlo SoHo and comes with twinkling café lights, lounge seating, and provides the epic views of the Hudson River.

Expect bubbles and rosé by the glass, local beer and hard cider, and classic cocktails created by well-known NYC bartender, Milos Zica.

The throwback food menu includes favorites like garlic knots with marinara and deviled eggs with bacon, plus flatbread options and larger bites including a hot chicken sandwich with pickles.

Open from 4 p.m. during the week and from noon until late at weekends; the outdoor lounge maintains a low-key vibe that continues even past midnight when hotel guests return for a nightcap before bed.

Azul On the Rooftop – lively Cuban music

Another favorite with views of the Hudson River is Azul On the Rooftop at the Hotel Hugo.

Head here for live Cuban music on Sundays, their lively brunch scene and or their rum-heavy cocktails. A bit more colorful and loud than its sister rooftop bar, Bar Hugo, Azul On the Rooftop is the place to be for those epic sunset views while sitting on cushioned banquettes that line the bar’s perimeter.

During the hot summers, order the frozen passionfruit mojito or a pitcher of the house sangria. On Mondays during the summer months, you can enjoy a film at sunset.

The views from Azul On the Rooftop extend down to the Financial District and Lower Manhattan to the south, across the Hudson River to Hoboken to the west, and north to the cranes and new constructions happening at the ever-expanding Hudson Yards complex.

Tuck into some delicious flavors at these NYC rooftop bars. Image credit: cold snowstorm/iStock
Tuck into some delicious flavors at these NYC rooftop bars. Image credit: cold snowstorm/iStock

Broken Shaker – playful vibes with Roman-designed interior

Strictly a first-come, first -serve establishment, the Broken Shaker is located on the 18th floor of Gramercy’s Freehand Hotel, a welcome addition to the best hotels with rooftop bars in NYC.

The Broken Shaker offers a friendly vibe from the Roman and Williams-designed interiors, which include mod wallpaper and pine paneling, to the foliage-filled terraces.

Their sister hotel is located in Miami which explains why the drinks are presented by region, with concoctions from New York, Miami and “somewhere in between.”

There is also an extensive collection of ciders, beers and a creative wine list. The popular Caribbean and Middle Eastern-influenced food options cover the spectrum from arepas with avo salad, a chicken schnitzel sandwich and share platter of Yemenite bread, labne, tahini and more.

The Empire Rooftop – panoramic offerings of NYC skyline

The Empire Rooftop at The Empire Hotel offers an expansive 8,000 square feet of space, with East and West terraces, two bars, a working fireplace and a retractable roof.

The hotel’s massive lettering spelling out “Hotel Empire” is perched just above the walls surrounding the terrace, which makes for a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity.

Brunch is served both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m – 3 p.m while the bar opens Monday – Friday from 3 p.m.

Plunge – a lush escape from the city

Located on the 15th floor of the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, this hotspot venue offers its guests cocktails and small plates to enjoy while soaking up the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River.

In the evening, the rooftop becomes a bit more exclusive with table service and a rotating roster of NYC DJs.

If you are planning to go in the evening, there is a guest list request form located on their website, which helps avoid the long lines.

Once you’ve picked your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to head along to, why not round out the experience by booking a professional Blacklane car service in New York to arrive there in style.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Duran

David Duran is an award-winning travel writer who has been to all seven continents and more than 75 countries and counting. When not travel writing, David speaks about travel trends and changes to the travel industry at conferences and symposiums around the world.