The Manhattan skyline is of course one of the world’s most iconic, an awe-inspiring tribute to human ingenuity and America’s economic success. To see it at night is magical. To see it at night from atop a Manhattan roof — to be part of the skyline, in other words — is more magical still. And to do so with a well-mixed cocktail in one’s hand is an experience simply not to be missed. Here is a list of the best hotel rooftop bars in New York City.
The Empire's rooftop bar boasts (slightly) cheaper cocktails (about $14), more space, and a more down-to-Earth crowd than you typically find at the Gansevoort's Plunge in the Meatpacking District -- and it even has a comparable rooftop pool.
Although the Gramercy Park Hotel's Gramercy Terrace competes with the uber-hip Rose Bar downstairs, it's the place to be in warmer weather. The strings of lights and crawling green vines make it feel like you've entered a fairyland after dark.
The Gansevoort's 15th-floor rooftop lounge, called Plunge, has stunning 360-degree views of the city and the Hudson River, and draws a crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings dressed to kill.
With its views of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River, Press Lounge at Ink 48 -- opened in April 2010 -- has quickly established itself amongst the ranks of best rooftop bars in New York City. Featuring a wrap-around terrace, indoor seating, a reflecting pool, and even a hot tub, Press Lounge encourages late-night partying in style -- the lounge is open year-round and doesn't close its doors until 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
A popular spot amongst Midtown professionals in need of after-work cocktails, the Top of the Strand provides patrons with an intimate, garden-esque setting year-round (a sliding roof makes the bar four-seasons-friendly). The signature cocktails will set you back $15 each (relatively standard for NYC) but the not-so-standard views of the Empire State Building, just three blocks away, make it more than worth it.
A60 is one of the city's most exclusive rooftop bars, open only to card-carrying "members" (read: celebrities, fashion types, and other bold-named scenesters), plus hotel guests. In other words, for the price of a room, you just might gain access to some of the best celebrity-gawking in Manhattan.
Opened in Spring 2010, the 4,000-square-foot Upstairs lounge on the 30th floor boasts spectacular 360-degree views of Midtown Manhattan and the nearby Chrysler Building, a long list of signature cocktails, and tasty small plates such as truffled mac and cheese and crisp baby artichokes.
Styled in the spirit of 1930s Shanghai, Salon De Ning -- a 23rd-floor rooftop terrace that's popular among locals for its beautiful views and swank outdoor setting -- offers excellent, $22 cocktails and small shared plates. Sunday brunch is served on the terrace during the summer.
The rooftop garden and bar Bookmarks has three different personas: the "poetry garden," a greenhouse with a wraparound terrace; the "writer's den," which has a working fireplace and its own heated terrace; and the bar itself, which has a sleeker, more mod feel than the rest of the hotel.
The Affinia Shelburne's summer rooftop garden and bar, appropriately named Rare View, has stunning views of the Chrysler building. At night, strings of lights illuminate the garden's white-latticed walls, white picnic tables, and pots of trees and flowers.
The Roosevelt Hotel's 19th-floor rooftop bar, Mad46, which opened in 2008, draws a crowd heavy with finance professionals who can afford its double-digit martinis. It stays open from May until the weather turns chilly in the fall. Renovations are under way to add an indoor lounge.
Rare View opened at the sleek Fashion 26 hotel in summer of 2010, and offers views of the Chrysler Building, Broadway marquees, and the surrounding area of Chelsea. The menu of cocktails are reasonably priced and offers eclectic and unique concoctions. Go for the RARE Fashion, it's a killer.