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New York Nightlife Guide: Rooftop Bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan

a group of people sitting on a rooftop with views of NYC in the background

New York City is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, a pulsating mix of cultures and experiences that come alive as the sun sets over the iconic skyline. Among the many options available, rooftop bars have emerged as a quintessential part of NYC’s nightlife scene. These elevated venues offer breathtaking views, chic atmospheres, and a unique way to experience the city’s energy. Whether you’re a local looking to unwind after a long day or a tourist seeking the perfect spot to soak in the cityscape, rooftop bars in Manhattan and Brooklyn have something special to offer.

Why Rooftop Bars Are So Popular

The allure of rooftop bars lies in their ability to blend stunning views with a lively social environment. From the panoramic vistas of towering skyscrapers in Manhattan to the more relaxed, artistic scenes in Brooklyn, these bars provide a one-of-a-kind backdrop for any night out. The appeal is multifaceted:

  1. Unmatched Views: Rooftop bars offer a visual feast of NYC’s iconic skyline, bridges, and river views. The experience of sipping a cocktail while watching the city lights twinkle below is unparalleled.
  2. Atmosphere: Each rooftop bar has its own unique vibe, ranging from upscale and sophisticated to laid-back and bohemian. This variety ensures there’s a perfect spot for every mood and occasion.
  3. Seasonal Appeal: Many rooftop bars adapt to the seasons, offering cozy heated spaces in the winter and open-air terraces in the summer. This versatility makes them a year-round destination.
  4. Social Experience: The combination of great drinks, music, and ambiance creates a social hub where people can connect and unwind. It’s no wonder that rooftop bars are a favorite for both casual outings and special celebrations.

Here are our top 5 picks for easy, local approved rooftops to get into:


a lit up city at night with Empire State Building in the background

  1. 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar
    • Location: 230 Fifth Avenue
    • Vibe: This iconic bar offers spectacular views of the Empire State Building and a spacious garden. Known for its igloos in winter, it’s a must-visit year-round.
      • Arrive Early: Get there before 6 PM to avoid any potential crowds.
      • Weekdays Are Better: Visit on weekdays for a more relaxed vibe and easier access.
      • Dress Smart Casual: No strict dress code, but smart casual ensures no issues at the doorTips for Getting In:

       

      2. Cantina Rooftop

      Why It’s Great: Situated in Hell’s Kitchen, Cantina Rooftop combines stunning views with delicious Mexican cuisine. The vibrant decor and lively atmosphere make it a great spot for a night out.

      Tips for Getting In:

      • Make a Reservation: While you don’t need to be on a list, booking a table ensures you have a spot.
      • Happy Hour: Visit during happy hour for great deals on drinks and a less crowded scene.

      3. Mr. Purple

      Why It’s Great: Perched on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo, Mr. Purple offers a chic, laid-back atmosphere with sweeping views of Lower Manhattan. The poolside seating and trendy decor make it a perfect urban escape.

      Tips for Getting In:

      • Off-Peak Times: Go during off-peak hours, like early evening or late afternoon.
      • Casual Vibes: The dress code is casual, so you can feel comfortable and stylish.

      4. Berry Park

      Why It’s Great: Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Berry Park is a spacious rooftop bar with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. Known for its laid-back vibe, it’s a great place to chill with friends over a beer.

      Tips for Getting In:

      • Go Early: Weekends can get busy, so aim for early arrival.
      • Group-Friendly: Perfect for larger groups since it has ample seating.

      5. The Delancey

      Why It’s Great: Nestled in the Lower East Side, The Delancey offers a tropical oasis in the middle of the city. With palm trees, cabanas, and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a hidden gem worth exploring.

      Tips for Getting In:

      • Early Bird: Arrive early to grab a prime spot by the cabanas.
      • Casual Attire: Casual dress code means you can come as you are.

Harder to get into but worth a shot if you go early!

hotel rooftop with tables chairs plants and nyc buildings in view

  1. DAY PASSES NOW AVAILABLE AT THE ROOF AT THE PUBLIC HOTEL!
    • THE ROOF WILL be open daily this summer for daytime use at 10AM. Day passes can be purchased at Louis for $25 (COMPLIMENTARY FOR HOTEL GUESTS) and include: wifi access, towels, refreshments and an all day menu. At sunset, specially priced cocktails, wine, beer, sliders, fries, guac & chips and more. Monday to Friday, 5pm – 7pm.
    • More info here.

 

a view of a city at night in front of a window

  1. Le Bain
    • Location: The Standard, High Line, 444 W 13th Street
    • Vibe: A nightclub on the top floor with an outdoor terrace and plunge pool, offering sweeping views of the city.
    • Tip to Get In: Dress to impress and be prepared for a cover charge. Visiting during off-peak hours (aka, don’t go at 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night) can increase your chances of getting in without a wait.

Top Rooftop Bars in Brooklyn

a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant

  1. Westlight
    • Location: The William Vale, 111 N 12th Street, Williamsburg
    • Vibe: Offering panoramic views of Manhattan, Westlight is known for its inventive cocktails and chic, modern design.
    • Tip to Get In: Make a reservation in advance, especially on weekends. Walk-ins are welcome, but there’s often a wait.a body of water with a city in the background
  2. Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge
    • Location: 60 Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights
    • Vibe: Nestled in the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, this rooftop bar provides stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline.
    • Tip to Get In: Reservations are highly recommended. Try to visit during the weekday for a more relaxed experience.a group of people in a city
  3. Rooftop Reds
    • Location: 299 Sands Street, Brooklyn Navy Yard
    • Vibe: The world’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard, offering a unique wine-tasting experience along with great views.
    • Tip to Get In: Booking a tour or tasting session in advance is essential. This spot is popular, so plan ahead.

Others: Wythe Hotel, 1 Hotel Brooklyn (featured blog post image), and The Hoxton.

Tips for Both Locals and Tourists

  1. Dress Code: Many rooftop bars have a dress code, especially in Manhattan. Opt for smart casual attire and avoid sneakers and flip-flops.
  2. Timing: Arriving early can save you from long lines, especially on weekends. Weekdays and off-peak hours are generally less crowded.
  3. Reservations: When possible, make reservations. This is particularly important for larger groups and popular venues.
  4. ID: Always carry a valid ID, as most rooftop bars strictly enforce age restrictions.
  5. Weather Check: Since rooftop bars are exposed to the elements, check the weather forecast before heading out. Some venues have indoor areas, but others may close during inclement weather.
  6. Be Polite: Courtesy goes a long way. Being polite to the staff and other patrons can enhance your overall experience and sometimes even help you get in quicker.

New York City’s rooftop bars are more than just a place to grab a drink; they’re an experience that combines the city’s stunning architecture, diverse culture, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, knowing the best spots and tips to get in can make your night out unforgettable. So, dress up, head out early, and enjoy the breathtaking views that only NYC’s rooftops can offer. Cheers to an amazing night in the city that never sleeps!