12 Best Rooftop Bars New York City – Drinking in the Best View in the World

One of the best things to do on any trip to New York is to get up High on one of New York Observation Decks and gaze at the simply Staggering Views. The only problem with this is after a while, after taking a load of pics and some envy-inducing selfies you run out of things to do, apart from going back down again. It would be much more appealing if there was maybe a bar up there. Due to the Throughput of these attractions they don’t want people lingering too long. Fortunately, there are plenty of places in New York where you can get a drink AND enjoy the incredible views of New York’s Skyline. Here is the roundup of our favorite Bars in the clouds. Our 10 Best Rooftop Bars New York City Style.

12 Best Rooftop Bars New York City

Our List is just that though, We have tried to be varied and include different types of bars from High-End to cheaper fun bars so there is something for everyone. We haven’t rated them as they are all great so the order has little to do with our opinion of the Bar. We just wanted to list all the best Rooftop Bars in NYC … In our opinion of course, so you can choose which would suit you best!

Locations

As you can see our list is Spread out across Manhatten so where ever you are staying or going there is sure to be a bar near you. We are still looking for a great Downtown bar and will update the List accordingly when we find more bars worthy of joining the Club!

1 – 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

  • Location Midtown
  • Price – $
  • Best for – Fun drinks with an Incredible View, Toasty Evening Drinks in Winter

Read Most Reviews of New York’s rooftop bars and you will hear one thing repeated over and over. Expensive but worth it because of the view. These rooftop Spaces are PRIME real estate and the owners know it. $25 for a martini! Well yeah with that view!

230 Fifth is different. It’s just a bar with standard bar prices. It even has a Happy Hour…A really good Happy Hour at that. The food is good. It’s bar food, nothing fancy or over the top, and priced that way too. There is a fantastic Bottomless Brunch as well on Saturdays/Sundays and overall it’s a great little bar.

It also happens to have one of the best views in the world. Overlooking Midtown with the Empire State Building taking center stage with the Crysler building and the rest of Midtown giants surrounding it. It is an incredible place to have a drink and a bite to eat.

Come Winter and the thought of an outdoor rooftop terrace suddenly becomes much less appealing, but 230 Fifth has this covered. With super cool Igloo’s, Heaters, and even free dressing gowns, mean you can enjoy some festive cheer with staggering views. It even has a Specialty hot chocolate and hot Cider menu for the winter months.

Should you find yourself at the top of the Empire State Building, looking downtown, You may notice a colorful Rooftop down below (This is how we first discovered 230 Fifth). It looks like the Play area of a billionaire and the hangout of Celebs and Bruce Wayne. Not for the Likes of You. This Rooftop is 230-Fifth and you are perfectly welcome!

We try not to be biased in our reviews, and we have zero affiliation with 230 Fifth, but we absolutely love this bar and recommend everyone stop by for great drinks and amazing views!


2 – The Cantor Roof Garden Bar @ the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Location Central Park
  • Price – $$
  • Best for – Taking a break from the Culture!

While not really worth visiting unless you are already in the met as you will need to pay the Met’s Entry fee this incredible rooftop space provides striking views of central park and the Skyline beyond. There are not many places within the park where you can get up high and lookout. The Met’s Roof garden bar gives you just that.

Serving Cocktails and basic light snacks it’s not the most upmarket menu although the prices may make you think otherwise. But the location and the view make this place unmissable if you are visiting the Met. The Bar is seasonal and can close for quite odd reasons (too hot?) but when it’s open it is a fabulous space. It’s not overly high but enough to give a very different perspective on New York’s Central Park. The use of plastic glasses may be unbearable for some, however!

Some people seem to have trouble locating it. But the elevator is on the first floor in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts gallery is well marked and besides…there are museum assistants everywhere in the museum, They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Unfortunately, this is a seasonal bar and closes down in the winter.


3 – Top of the Strand

  • Location Midtown
  • Price – $$
  • Best for – Fantastic Views of the Empire State Building

This small High-end roof terrace provides fantastic views of the Empire State Building. The Top Of The Strand is not overly high in comparison to some but stands proud of most things around it. It’s not a great view of the New York Skyline itself, but the Perspective of the Empire State building is phenomenal. The location of the Bar is very close to the Empire State and offers an almost completely unobstructed view, a very rare thing in New York.

The outdoor deck is quite small giving an air of Exclusivity…or pokiness? There is a fairly changeable menu of Lights snacks and some good cocktails along with a good wine and beer selection. None of which is cheap but what you would expect for such a premium location.

Cocktails come in around $18-20


4 – Bar Sixty-Five @ The Rainbow Room

BarSixtyFive Rainbow Rooms

The Rainbow Room is a New York City Landmark and a haunt of the rich, famous, powerful, and Beautiful. It’s not really available to us mere mortals though. Unless you want to book a private event that will cost more than your house. However the owners of the Room, fortunately, saw fit to throw us, commoners, a bone. And It’s quite a Juicy bone too, Bar Sixty Five.

Towering high above the Manhatten skyline the Bar is only a few floors down from the Top Of the Rock Observation deck in the Same Building. While you would have to pay $34 to go up to the deck, entry to Bar Sixty-Five is FREE. Of course, the bad news is you will be expected to buy at least one Drink and at $20 for a Gin and Tonic, it’s not cheap.

But the Bar feels like part of New York’s History, which it is. And while the drinks are very pricey they are top-notch. Not sure we could recommend the $375 “above the Law” cocktail, We are sure it’s great but it’s above our price range, by about $360!

For us, the Bar Sixty-Five is a Treat. A place for a celebration or part of that once-in-a-lifetime trip. It really is a special place and this is reflected in the dress code, no jeans, and hoodies up here. We strongly recommend booking as this place can, and does, fill up well in advance.

There is also a wonderful outdoor terrace where you can head out and really take in the incredible view of the city below.


5 – Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge

  • Location Midtown
  • Price – $$
  • Best for – Instagram Perfection

We really like the Moxy Times Square and rate it as one of the best budget hotels in the City. It is Marriot’s attempt at a boutique hotel and offers distinctive and rustic accommodations in the heart of the city for comparatively low prices.

The Hip and Trendy Crowd that flock to these types of lodgings also require somewhere equally unique and boutique to drink and get their Instagram on. The Magic Hour was literally designed to fulfill this need! While the Hotel is run by Marriot the Bar space is run by the Tao Group, one of the hottest nightspot owners in the world, so it’s always going to be top notch!

5 uniquely themed spaces open up to the stunning New York Skyline with jaw-dropping views beneath the Empire State Building. Themeing is strong with Carnival features, rude Topiaries, and lots of classy vintage lighting. It really is the perfect spot to grab the envy-inducing Instagram post and let EVERYONE know you are in the big apple and Living your best life!

Also try the Fleur Room, atop the Moxy NYC Chelsea, this sophisticated lounge offers excellent cocktails and stunning views. A little more classy and intimate than the Magic Hour. Another Tao Location.


6 – Bar-54 – Times Square

  • Location Times Sqaure
  • Price – $$$$
  • Best for – Times Sqaure Views

Right Slap bang in the Centre of Times Square Bar-54 is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle below. With a great menu of Cocktails, Beers, Whiskeys, Wines, and Spirits, it’s a great place to relax after fighting the crowds. 54 Stories up it’s pretty high, but in the densely clustered heart of Midtown, it’s not actually high enough to get up above the rest. But still offer fantastic views actually looking down on Times Square.

In Winter you can rent the “bubble” an inflatable dome that shields you from the elements. You will need to shell out over $100 for a bottle of bubbly to be allowed in though but for a special treat, it’s not too bad. Price, in general, is at the eye-wincing level. $26 cocktails, which are fantastic, are at the upper end of our tolerance …even with the bucket list location!

Reservations are not essential but are recommended if you don’t want to miss out. The Bar opens for New Year’s Eve and you can see the Ball Drop from the Roof. The chances of a reservation are fairly slim though and expect to pay $$$$$’s for access to the private New Years Eve Party


7 – Bar 13 NYC

Bar 13
  • Location Union Sqaure
  • Price – $
  • Best for – Hardcore Partying

If you are looking for a younger trendier bar experience the Bar 13 NYC is a great location. The prices are reflective of a more Student vibe so the prices are cheap and even cheaper at happy hour. This is the type of bar to properly get your drink on. Food is also very cheap by NYC standards. It’s not exceptional but pretty good considering the locations and prices. It’s bar Snack type food but then it’s a Bar.

The space and the views are nothing to get excited about but that is not what the bar is about. You are still on a rooftop in NYC but enjoying sensible bar prices. This is the perfect place for a birthday or celebration event.


8 – Apres – Summit One Vanderbilt

  • Location One Vanderbilt
  • Price – $
  • Best for – Drinks on top of the world

Apres is the new Bar associated with the Summit Observation Deck at the top of the New One Vanderbilt Building in Mid-Town Manhattan. The Bar requires you to pay to enter the Summit Experience first, which is well worth it. But then offers an amazing space away from the main area to indulge in Danny Mayers (Of Shake Shake Fame!) creations.

Prices are fairly reasonable for a captive audience and the outdoor Garden area is an amazing place to relax as you take in one of the most stunning views in the world.

Our Full Review of the Summit can be found here


9 – The Edge – Champagne Bar

Keeping in the same theme the Edge is New York’s other New Observation Deck. Here the focus is on Champagne, not Cocktails but that is fine with us. We love the fact the new incarnations of Observation Decks are incorporating Bars into their lineups as slowing down and really taking in the view is the best way to experience these places.

You might also REALLY need a drink afterward if you decide to take on the New City Climb.

Read our Full Edge Review here.


10 – Jimmy Soho

  • Location Soho
  • Price – $$$
  • Best for – Relaxed Sophistication

If you are after a bit of sophistication Jimmy Soho is a bit different from the Bars we have had so far. A Warm Refined modern Decor is relaxed and welcoming while still feeling classy and luxurious. An extensive Bar menu of Bar snacks and Excellent Cocktails compliments the vibe perfectly.

The Prices are Expensive but not overly so considering your surroundings and really this just feels like a bar that is going to be expensive. The Lunch menu is more gentle on the Wallet.

The Outdoor area is fantastic but the Lounge space allows year-round operation. There is a pool outside but it’s more for display and ambiance than to actually use.

Don’t expect to get in without reservations.


11 – The Press Lounge

  • Location Hells Kitchen
  • Price – $$
  • Best for – A Different Take on the Skyline

The Press Lounge is right at the edge of Hell’s Kitchen, Down by The Hudson River, the Bar offers a very different perspective on the City. Being Set Back from the Towering Skyline its vista offers a more overall perspective of the landscape. More like the Skyline you get from Brooklyn than Manhattan. As stunning as the view from tall towers is, this overview perspective is equally pleasing.

It’s a very pleasant bar too with high-end drinks and good bar food it’s a fantastic place to spend a few hours. And while the Drinks are not Cheap, They are certainly reasonable (~$21 for a cocktail) so you probably can afford to kick back and relax while drinking in that View. While we Like the Food, Hell’s Kitchen is no place to fill up on bar Snacks We prefer to Drink here and eat in one of Hell’s Kitchens many fantastic restaurants.

The Door Policy is relaxed, there is a Dress Code but it’s not Strict. There are no reservations taken but you will normally get in with a short wait at busy times.


12 – St Cloud Rooftop Bar – The Knickerbocker

  • Location Times Square
  • Price – $$$
  • Best for – An Icon of New York!

At the beginning of this article, we stated we were NOT rating these bars, just giving you a selection of the best so you can find one to suit your trip. We want to reiterate this, and the fact St Cloud is number 12 on the list is NO reflection of how we compare it to the others. We could happily reverse the order of the list and have St Cloud as Number 1. Every bar on this list is great, in its own way. So we are ending in style!

St Cloud sits on the top of the iconic Knickerbocker hotel and is a stunning space befitting of the legendary status the hotel holds. It’s not cheap, but with the view, you are getting over Times Square this was never going to be a cheap bar.

The Ambiance, the Setting, the View, the drinks are all top-notch and this iconic bar is really one not to be missed. There are no reservations here so just turn up and hope to get in.

The Eagle-Eyed among you may have spied the Times Square Ball in the photos above and are thinking maybe we could come here on New Year’s Eve for the Ball Drop and avoid the Times square madness! Well yes, you can, but don’t expect it to be cheap. You won’t get much change from $1000 per person for a basic standing-room-only ticket. But you will get possibly the best view of the ball drop in the City.

Currently, for every cocktail sold the Knickerbocker gives a $5 donation to Save the Children.


Have Your Say

Let us know your Favourite Rooftop Bar in the City? Have we missed out on your Favorite, or have you had a poor experience at one of the bars on our list. Just drop us a comment. Or let us know if you have any questions or require a personal recommendation.

230-Fifth nyc sm
230 Fifth – NYC

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8 thoughts on “12 Best Rooftop Bars New York City – Drinking in the Best View in the World”

  1. What a great guide to some fantastic looking bars! I particularly like the look of the “bubble” at Bar-54. I can imagine sitting in one of those with the snow falling and the city lights – magical. You’ve provided a really helpful guide on rooftop bars in New York – hopefully one day I’ll get to try a few out!

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret,

      Glad you like the Guide and like the look of the “bubble” at Bar-54, it’s certainly a pretty special experience. Hope you get to New York soon to try out one of these amazing bars.

      Thanks for reading.

      steve

      Reply
  2. After living in NYC for 5 years and now just north in Westchester county, I see that you’ve managed to capture many of the great rooftop bars. I love your tips on each of them because tourists are often caught unaware about hidden costs (like entry to the Met at the one). A couple of others came to mind that are worth checking out not so much for the view but for a great rooftop bar vibe – rooftop at The Standard Hotel (near the High Line in the Meatpacking District) and Pod 39 in Midtown.
    Very enjoyable read and I’ll be back for sure:)

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn,

      Fantastic to hear from a local, and great to hear you think we have found most of the best rooftop bars. People always want different things from a bar so it’s important to highlight the real vibe in a bar along with hidden extras etc. No point heading to Bar Sixty-five if you are looking for a casual drink or to 230-fifth if you are looking for luxury etc..,

      Thank you so much for your suggestions we are sure to check them out and add them to the list in the future. We are always looking for new and amazing places to visit when in the City.

      Thanks for reading.

      Steve 

      Reply
  3. Hey,

    I am Belgian and I have never visited ‘the Big Apple’. However, this is still on my bucket list.

    But since all Belgians are also Burgundians and like good food and drink, such information can be very important to me. It must be overwhelming to be able to have a drink or snack on a roof of a high building.

    I would say: there is plenty of choices! So when I’m there I will visit one or more!

    cheers!

    With best regards.

    Reply
    • Hi, 

      Definitely visit more than one! Once the sun sets and the City lights up there is nothing better than sipping a nice cocktail or ice-cold beer high above the streets with one of the best views in the world. 

      You are dead right it is quite overwhelming at first, but you get used to is and then the feeling is just gratefulness that you actually get the opportunity to do this! 

      Steve

      Reply
  4. Thanks for the heads up on these bars. When I lived in Connecticut I enjoyed checking out New York City now and then as it was only two (2) hours from my home in Waterbury. I just love the views from these bars as well as the good energy of New York. On my next trip there I will definitely check out a few of these places. “Jimmy Soho” looks really intriguing as well as the “St. Cloud”. Now I really look forward to my next trip.

    Reply
    • Hi Joseph, 

      Yep, there is a certain pulsating energy throughout New York and the views from up high are really like nothing on earth. 

      Glad our guide got you excited for your next trip, writing it got us excited too and we head there in a couple of weeks now! 

      Steve

      Reply

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