9 New Rooftops and Outdoor Spaces for Summer in NYC

From scenic views to frozen drinks
May 23, 2017
by Kelly Dobkin

While spring weather has been touch-and-go in 2017 (May in NYC has felt more like October in Seattle), there's nothing like that first 85-degree day to make all New Yorkers freak out and leave work in search of outdoor drinking venues and frozen cocktails. That day finally happened last week, and now (despite cooler temps) most outdoor venues are already in full swing for summer. While returning favorites include Gilligan's (the pop-up outdoor space at the SoHo Grand), Grand Banks, The Brooklyn Barge and Mister Dips, there's also an array of brand-new rooftops and outdoor spots worth checking out, now that Memorial Day is just around the corner. Here are nine brand-new outdoor spaces for summer.

Little River Beer Garden
Just behind Riverpark overlooking the East River is this brand-new beer garden, restaurant and day drinking destination from Tom Colicchio's Crafted Hospitality. A summery menu featuring seafood items like peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters, fish tacos and lobster rolls will complement draft wines and beers from Long Island Beer Project as well as frozen boozy and non-boozy desserts.

Must-order: Lobster roll, fried chicken sandwich, vanilla-funfetti ice cream sandwich, mango-rum popsicle

450 E. 29th Street; 212-729-9790

The Heights at the Arlo NoMad
The crew from Three Kings Restaurant Group (Dale Talde, David Massoni and John Bush) have been on an expansion tear of late. After opening Atlantic Social in Brooklyn and Massoni in the Arlo NoMad this winter, the group is now debuting a rooftop bar and restaurant atop the same hotel (plus another rooftop concept, info below) as well as two more concepts later this summer. The Heights will feature Detroit-style pizza, sandwiches and appetizers (but currently just ceviches and guac) alongside a cocktail menu that includes two slushie options as well as signatures named for different neighborhoods with "Heights" in the moniker (e.g. The Dyker Heights, The Jackson Heights, etc). The AvroKO-designed space features striking views of the Empire State Building as well as a glass floor featuring views 30 stories below.

Must-order: Ceviche, guac and chips, The Jackson Heights (blueberry, lemon, lime, ginger slush)

11 E. 31st Street; 212-951-1141

The Crown
The second rooftop opening from the aforementioned Three Kings group is The Crown, which sits atop 50 Bowery Hotel where the group will eventually roll out two other F&B concepts inside. The Crown features amazing views of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, Asian-inspired cocktails and currently just guacamole and ceviches (much like its sibling rooftop eatery). Stay tuned for more menu items as the concept ramps up (it just opened on Monday). 

Must-order: Watermelon margarita, ceviche, guac and chips

50 Bowery; 212-508-8000

Loosie's Cafe
The third concept within the Loosie's compound on S. 6th Street is a slight rejiggering of the Loosie's Kitchen outdoor space next to Loosie Rouge cocktail bar. A redesign of the outdoor space now acts as an all-day cafe with free Wi-Fi as well as a happy hour starting at noon (hello frozen drinks). Note hours are 7 AM–6 PM.

Must-order: Frozen green goddess matcha margarita, grain bowls, cheddar biscuit egg BEC 

93 S. 6th Street

180 Tenth (by Smorgasburg)
The former Alta Linea space in front of the High Line Hotel has been taken over by the good folks of Smorgasburg and relaunching (weather permitting) on May 25. The entirely outdoor concept features frozen Negronis (like its predecessor), a new snacky menu with items like burrata and burgers from former Maple chef Aaron Taber and more cocktails from Berg'n GM Jen Watson.

Must-order: High Line Bling (oyster shooter with Veuve Clicquot champagne), arancini, veggie burger

Outside the High Line Hotel, 180 Tenth Avenue; 212-933-9735

Harold's Surf Shack
Another Arlo hotel rooftop concept, this summer pop-up from chef Harold Moore (who helms Harold's Meat + Three downstairs) at Goodstory features an oyster and rosé station, fun frozen drinks and beachy summer food. Views of New Jersey and lower Manhattan under string lighting are primo at sunset.

Must-order: Carnitas tacos, Surf Shack burger, oysters, frozen margarita

231 Hudson Street; 212-342-7000

Salvation Burger Backyard
The Midtown burger concept from April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman just debuted a lush backyard behind the Pod 51 Hotel (where the restaurant is located). 

Must-order: Classic burger, fried apple pie, white Negroni (bottled)

230 E. 51st Street; 646-277-2900

The Lovage Rooftop & Indoor Lounge
Ric Addison, CEO of his namesake hospitality brand and restaurateur Jeff Lam, co-owner of Downtown hot spot, Chinese Tuxedo, are behind this new rooftop concept on W. 40th Street which features floor-to-ceiling windows and 360-degree views of Manhattan plus a wraparound terrace. Chef Alan Wise (an alum of Public, Juni and Picholine) is behind the food, while cocktails take a tropical slant (with island-themed names and ingredients).

Must-order: Kiwi Kolada, Tropical Storm

346 W. 40th Street; 212-956-7020

Gristmill patio
This buzzy Park Slope neighborhood favorite from chef-owner Jake Novick-Finder just debuted a backyard patio complete with a cocktail "garnish garden" (i.e. an herb garden). The wood-fired eatery is known for its creative pizzas like sweet potato and 'nduja and stellar wine and cocktail program. A weekday happy hour runs from 4:30–6:30 PM featuring $6 draft beer and house wines, $8 Negroni Sbagliatos and a large craft cider for $20. 

Must-order: Frosé, any of the pizzas, Gristmill burger, garlic knots

289 5th Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-499-2424