5 Best Rooftop Bars To Visit In NYC This Summer

As temperatures rise in the Big Apple, tourists and locals alike are looking for places to wine and dine outside. While there are many patio bars and restaurants with outdoor seating, nothing quite hits like a New York City rooftop. There's just something magical about taking in the quintessential New York City skyline, and the experience is only elevated with a cocktail in hand from way above the city streets.

The problem with rooftop bars in New York City, however, is that many of them are overcrowded, overpriced, and frankly, overhyped. This can make narrowing down which rooftops to visit feel a bit daunting. Rooftops are generally more expensive than your typical local dive, so you'll want to make sure you're getting your money's worth. Luckily, we've done some field research for you and have conducted a list of the five best rooftop bars, from the bright lights of Times Square (where, please, for the love of God, avoid this Times Square mistake when visiting NYC) to hip and trendy Williamsburg, that are actually worth your time and hard earned cash.


It's tough to get that picturesque Manhattan skyline view if you're already in Manhattan. Luckily, elNico in The Penny Hotel in Williamsburg is just over the bridge in Brooklyn, giving you the best of both worlds. This trendy rooftop quickly debunks the theory that rooftops can't provide top-quality food and drink. Its tequila and mezcal-forward cocktail menus are thoughtful yet innovative, and you'll find anything from horchata-inspired sips to a bon bon old fashioned.

You'll also want to make sure you come with an appetite: elNico serves anything from tlayudas (a super thin, crispy tortilla met with an array of toppings) to fried shrimp tacos and a carne asada almost too beautiful to eat. You'll want to finish your meal off with fluffy churros served alongside goat's milk cateja. elNico is incredibly spacious and offers both indoor and outdoor seating, so if you find yourself there on a chillier night, you can still enjoy the breathtaking skyline from the comfort of indoors.

Sushi Lab Rooftop

More times than not, rooftop bars in New York are associated without serious partying and nightlife. However, there are a few gems where the focus isn't the wild nightlife, but instead, to simply enjoy a nice meal. Insert Sushi Lab Rooftop. Located inside the Sanctuary Hotel, Sushi Lab Rooftop is conveniently located right in the heart of Times Square, but manages to provide a quiet oasis in the busiest part of the city. While Times Square is usually one of the worst places to dine in the city on a budget, the prices at Sushi Lab Rooftop tell a different tale: They offer apps, hand rolls, and nigiri starting at just $8.

If you're having trouble making up your mind, go for the Chef's Selection, with an offering of 11 courses including an A5 Wagyu. To take it a step further, why not order The Lab Experiment? This 15-course offering includes sushi enhanced with caviar and fresh truffle. Before that, though, you'll want to order a few apps. Crispy rice has been making its waves throughout New York, and Sushi Lab's version certainly does not disappoint. If you want to break up the seafood a bit, go for the chicken gyoza or honey soy glazed wings. Since you are indeed at a rooftop, you might as well order a beverage, like the Ichigo margarita, spicy Toki 18, or simply a glass of some top-notch Japanese whisky.

Gansevoort Rooftop

This list simply wouldn't be complete without at least one rooftop pool. Finding a decent pool option in New York City can sometimes feel like an impossible task. To meet all of your pool party needs, no one quite does it like the Gansevoort Rooftop. While, yes, the Gansevoort Rooftop is completely worth visiting simply on its own, this is definitely the spot to go to if you want to up the ante for your Instagram and social media feeds. Sip pool cocktails, like a Chandon Garden Spritz or a pool margarita, and nosh on pool bites like a lobster roll or watermelon salad.

Not only will you have access to a pool in New York City — a rarity in itself — but you can also enjoy the adjacent Gansevoort Rooftop Lodge. In this chic space, which is enclosed by glass, you can sip Italian-inspired drinks like Sicilian sangria, made with limoncello and Montepulciano, or the "Rooftop Spritz" instead of the typical Aperol version, with the Gansevoort's being made with gin. Enjoy your summery cocktails with a unique dish like coconut miso pappardelle, or alongside classics shareables like a truffle flatbread and spinach artichoke dip.

Upstairs at The Kimberly

For a treat 31 stories above the Manhattan streets, head to Upstairs at The Kimberly Hotel. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the city, despite its central location, Upstairs is a floral retreat with its garden-like atmosphere. Upstairs is covered with a fully retractable glass rooftop, making it an ideal option regardless of the weather.

Enjoy small plates like an imported cheese board, crispy calamari, or the super fun Upstairs salami pizza. If you're looking for an early rooftop breakfast and brunch, head to Upstairs to enjoy blueberry pancakes, salmon eggs Benedict, or some good ol' steak and eggs. And it goes without saying that no rooftop experience is complete without a libation. Go for the cilantro sol, a concoction made with Casamigos Blanco jalapeño tequila, cilantro, pineapple, ginger, lime and a kick from some chili pepper. For some true kismet, take in views of the Chrysler Building while sipping on The Chrysler, made with Hennessy VS Cognac, strawberries, basil, and topped with Prosecco.

Haven Rooftop

Last but certainly not least is the centrally located Haven Rooftop. Yet another fantastic option when in the cruxes of Times Square, Haven Rooftop is anything but a tourist trap, and it meets all of those classic rooftop desires. It's situated in a bustling atmosphere completely surrounded by the bright lights of the city and has such a fun vibe that it's a place you'll want to stay a while. 

Nothing screams a summertime rooftop in the city louder than a passion fruit mojito, and luckily, Haven Rooftop makes a mean one. Take a trip to the South of France without ever leaving New York with its St. Tropez spritz, made with elderflower liqueur and strawberry. On the contrary, if a mocktail is what you crave, Haven Rooftop has a special menu for those who want to party booze-free. Its cucumber fizz or tongue-in-cheek "innocent mojito" are just a couple of the options.

Seafood is the star here when it comes to food. Just as loud as a passion fruit mojito screams summer, so does a lobster roll, and Haven Rooftop has you covered in both departments. Carb up with the spaghetti and clams or try something on the lighter side like Haven's sesame tuna or Mediterranean seabass, which just so happens to be gluten free.