10 Hot Rooftop Scenes in NYC

By Kelly Dobkin  |  May 12, 2015

Memorial Day weekend is coming sooner than usual this year, and it's also the unofficial opening of most rooftop bars in NYC, so here are 10 must-visit sky-high hot spots for eating and drinking with breathtaking views all over the city. 

  • Studio Cafe at the Whitney Museum of American Art

    This brand-new eighth-floor terrace atop the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking is only accessible to museum visitors (day pass is $22), but it's worth the price of admissionfor the stunning views and food from chef Michael Anthony and chef de cuisine Suzanne Cupps of the downstairs sibling restaurant, Untitled

    The View: Lower Manhattan, The High Line and the Hudson River/NJ.

    What to Order: Any of the toasts including duck meatloaf with ricotta and kale, fennel-cured arctic char with fingerlings and capers and a basic grilled cheese.

    Insider Tip: Buy Whitney tickets online to avoid the lines. Hungry after-hours? Sibling restaurant Untitled below has its own entrance and is open much later than the museum.

    99 Gansevoort St.; 212-570-3670  

  • Terrace at SixtyFive

    While not technically a rooftop, SixtyFive, the swanky (and pricey) cocktail bar adjacent to the newly revamped Rainbow Room in Rock Center, just opened up their stunning outdoor terrace, the first time in 80 years that guests can sip on cocktails alfresco 65 floors up. 

    ​The View: Hudson River, Empire State Building, New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, East River, George Washington Bridge, Central Park and when it's clear, all the way up to Tarrytown and down to Staten Island.

    What to Order:  Signature cocktails here start at $20, so bring your wallet. Try the new Rhythm &..., a saketini made with junmai sake, housemade blueberry syrup and lavender bitters.

    Insider Tip: Walk-ins only.

    30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor; 212-632-5000

  • Roof at The Gorbals

    The roof atop the Space Ninety 8 shopping complex is an extension of The Gorbals restaurant from chef Ilan Hall and features gorgeous Brooklyn views.

    The View: South Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Bridge.

    What to Order: Poolside Swing cocktail: a mix of coconut water, cucumber, tequila, and lime and, to eat, the cucumber and avocado salad with sumac vinaigrette.

    Insider Tip: Check it out for a sunny weekend brunch

    98 N. Sixth St., Brooklyn; 718-599-0576

  • Jane Hotel

    The once private-party-only Jane Hotel bar and rooftop is now open to the public for walk-ins beginning May 15. The rooftop bar space offers many of the same cocktails as the Ballroom bar plus new for this year, food from Cafe Gitane on the ground floor.

    The View: The Hudson River and New Jersey.

    What to Order: Any of their new signature cocktails like the Summer Solstice: Old Forester Bourbon, cider, Reed’s Ginger Beer, orange juice and Canton ginger. Small plates from Cafe Gitane downstairs are also available, like avocado toast and a selection of salads. 

    Insider Tip: On Sundays the roof is open until midnight and all other nights until 10 PM.

    113 Jane St.; 212-924-6700

  • Credit: Stephen Yang

    Roof at Park South

    The team behind Boston's O Ya is behind the food and drink at this stunning rooftop at the Park South Hotel. The Mediterranean-influenced menu from chef Tim Cushman features seafood-heavy small plates and cocktails from No. 9 Park vet Ted Kilpatrick.

    The View: An unobstructed 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline that includes the Chrysler Building, the top of the Empire State Building, and the golden top of the NY Life building.

    What to Order: Wood-fired pizza margherita, the hummus, and to drink, a pina colada.

    Insider Tip: The NYC outpost of O Ya will open later this summer.

    125 E. 27th St.212-204-5222

  • Sheltering Sky at the McCarren Hotel

    The eighth-floor rooftop atop the McCarren Hotel has been rebranded several times but remains one of the best views in Williamsburg. Its latest incarnation from nightlife vet Nur Khan, Sheltering Sky, features craft cocktails and small snacky bites.

    The View: The East River, East Manhattan, including the Empire State Building, and parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

    What to Order: Cocktails like the Gimme Shelter: Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Campari, Lillet Rouge and grapefruit. The food menu hasn't been finalized yet.

    Insider Tip: A rotating selection of DJs varies by day of the week.

    160 N. 12th St., Brooklyn; 718-218-7500

  • Skylark Roof Deck

    Located on a 32nd-floor rooftop, the Skylark offers 1,500 sq. ft. of outdoor space in an ideal location for an after-work tipple. 

    The View: Empire State Building and most of Midtown Manhattan.

    What to Order: Mac 'n' cheese cupcakes to eat. To drink, try the Spring Negroni: Nolet’s gin, Aperol, Carpano and Antica served over lavender ice with an orange twist.

    Insider Tip: All cocktails are available by the pitcher, perfect for large groups. 

    200 W. 39th St.; 212-257-4577

  • Northern Territory

    This Greenpoint eatery from the Berry Park team offers food that skews Australian and Pan-European, like an Aussie burger (with the traditional fried egg and beet) and chicken schnitzel and a stunning oversized roof deck.

    The View: The East River, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

    What to Order: A spicy Paloma to drink and any of the skewers and bruschettas.

    Insider Tip: Go for happy hour between 5-7 PM on weekdays and enjoy $3 Fosters.

    12 Franklin St., Brooklyn; 347-689-4065

  • CATCH Roof

    The rooftop terrace atop the trendy Meatpacking eatery has expanded this year, adding an additional 70 seats and renovating the interior and bar area. Executive chef John Beatty (taking over after the departure of Hung Huynh) has also added some new items to the menu as well.

    The View: Lower Manhattan and the Meatpacking area.

    What to Order: New dishes include hamachi crudo and Gold Label Wagyu surf 'n' turf.

    Insider Tip: Go for lunch and order the "Catch lunch" for two that includes four sushi rolls and Parmesan truffle fries ($28).

    21 Ninth Ave.; 212-392-5978

  • St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker

    ​This new rooftop space atop the revamped Knickerbocker Hotel will feature seasonal small plates and craft cocktails from the Charlie Palmer team when it opens this spring (opening date TBD). The 7,500-sq.-ft. space will feature both indoor and outdoor seating. 

    ​The View: Times Square.

    What to Order: Menu is still TBD.

    Insider Tip: The space will feature both a Nat Sherman cigar lounge and a Waterford Crystal lounge. 

    6 Times Square; 212-204-4980