In New York City, everything is always just a little more extravagant and imposing than in other places. Buildings stretch higher, stores are bigger and even the city itself cannot be compared to any other city in the world. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the nightlife in New York is no different. NYC has spectacular nightclubs, lounges and bars. Strikingly, some of the best terraces and bars in the city cannot be found on the ground, but instead high up in the air!
One thing Manhattan doesn’t have is lots of space, and that’s where New York City’s rooftop bars come in. These bars often stretch across the entire rooftop of a building, using the space available, and even have outdoor patio sections where you can cool off in the summer high above the city streets. Over the years, many of these rooftop bars have popped up all over the city.
To help you find your way to the best rooftop bars in New York City, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 rooftop bars in Manhattan:
1. 230 Fifth
This classy rooftop bar boasts some of the best views in the whole of New York. Located on 5th Avenue and 27th Street, the rooftop garden offers a close-up view of the Empire State Building and the other Midtown Manhattan skyscrapers. There is plenty of seating at this 22,000 square foot bar, both outside on the terrace and inside in the Penthouse Lounge. 230 Fifth is open year round, and on colder days the rooftop garden is partially heated. You can even ask the servers for a bathrobe to keep you warm. It’s quite a sight to see so many well-dressed people wear bright-red robes! This classy bar is strictly 21+, so be sure to bring an ID. Admission is free, but if you want to try one of the delicious cocktails do keep in mind that the prices can be steep.
230 Fifth is open from 4 pm to 4 am, and can be reached by taking the N or R train to the West 29th Street & Broadway subway station.
2. Le Bain (the Standard)
Located in the Meatpacking District above the High Line, this trendy rooftop bar is not easy to get into at night. If wearing a dress and high heels or a trendy suit is not really your thing, try stopping by Le Bain in the afternoon. You’ll have seats to choose from, and the hot tubs and pool look just as inviting during the day. If you are into clubbing, dress the part and enjoy the world-class DJs and delicious drinks. Do note that the pool, “grass” floor and crêperie are only part of Le Bain during the summer season. Still, the amazing views of the Hudson River and New Jersey across the water can be enjoyed year round. Don’t forget to make a trip to the bathroom while you’re there, for the most spectacular view!
To get to the Standard, you can take the L, A, C or E train to 14th Street and 8th Avenue.
3. Plunge Lounge (Hotel Gansevoort)
This penthouse rooftop bar has an ingenious glass structure that opens on warm days and creates a closed-off greenhouse-like dance floor when it gets colder. The rooftop also boasts a magnificent outdoor pool, but it often has restricted access. Plunge gives views of some of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City: the Meatpacking District and SoHo. If you want to beat the crowds, come early in the week and enjoy a sophisticated cocktail on one of the wooden benches.
You can get to the Hotel Gansevoort by taking the L line or A, C and E trains to14th Street and 8th Avenue.
4. Sky Room
Sky Room occupies the 33rd and 34th floor of a Times Square building, making it the highest rooftop bar of New York City. Not only are the Midtown Manhattan views spectacular, but the lounge is also very spacious and consists of multiple rooms. There is lounge space, club space and there are two terrific terraces. During the day you can just come in for a relaxed drink, while at night the space turns into a full-fledged dance floor.
You can find Sky Room at 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, which means it is easily accessible by subway. Take the N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3 or 7 lines to Times Square.
5. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was built in Central Park, which means the museum’s roof garden offers the best view of the most famous of New York City’s parks. So even though the rooftop isn’t much of a bar – there’s just a simple concession stand where you can purchase drinks and some food – we still think the Cantor Roof Garden is one of the best in Manhattan. Every spring a new art installation is featured at the roof garden, which means you can soak up great views and great art simultaneously.
The rooftop garden can be found on the 5th floor of the Met, and is open from springtime until early autumn. To get to the museum, take the subway (4, 5 or 6 lines) to 86th Street and Lexington Avenue.
While rooftop bars are certainly one of the most stylish ways to get a great view of New York City, they’re often not the cheapest. If you’re looking for amazing free views of the city, check out this article about the best places to get free panoramic views of New York City. Alternatively, you can also look for a vacation rental apartment in New York City with a great view, so you won’t even have to leave your apartment to soak in the New York skyline!
Have you ever been to a New York City rooftop bar?
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