Raising the Roof

At these rooftop bars, drinks are a step up from the rest

As August begins to ease the hottest season into fall, there’s no better way to bask in the end-of-summer glow than on a roof with a drink in-hand, enjoying the city from above. With skyline views and craft cocktails, these drinking establishments make that an easy feat, with only an added elevator ride to get there.

Empire Rooftop

Empire Rooftop

Rising tall just south of Lincoln Center, the Empire Hotel has long been a favorite among Manhattanites for midday getaways, after-work drinks, and weekend nights with its skyline views that extend all the way to Hudson River. Recently renovated in time for summer, Level R (as the rooftop is known) now boasts two terraces – one with a retractable roof and one open-air – outfitted with banquettes and cabana-style furniture respectively, a menu designed by international restaurant group China Grill Management, and a re-vamped cocktail menu. Live jazz sets the mood on Mondays while DJs pick up the pace on weekends, and weekday happy hours are accompanied with gorgeous sunset views. (63rd St. at Broadway)

Loopy Doopy Bar

Loopy Doopy Bar

On the 16th floor of the Conrad Hotel in Battery Park City, the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar offers a cozy 55-seat setting overlooking the Hudson River at the bottom tip of Manhattan. The bar takes its goofy name from the impressive 13-story wall drawing by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt above the hotel’s atrium, but it takes its menu seriously. Small plates provide bites to accompany carefully crafted cocktails and Prosecco on tap, and this summer, the bar has partnered with Brooklyn’s People’s Pops company to serve alcohol-infused popsicles, providing cool respite from the summer’s heat. (North End Ave. nr. Vesey St.)

Skylark

Skylark

The Times Square area may be full to the brim at street level, but 30 floors up, it can prove a bit calmer enjoyed from above – especially with a dirty martini in-hand. Occupying three floors, The Skylark’s suede sofas and leather bar stools provide chic seating to its even chicer clientele, who flock to the bar from the Fashion District after work to get in the New York state of mind with the so-named cocktail of apple brandy, pomegranate liqueur and ginger beer. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views in the main bar, but take advantage of the rooftop while the weather permits. The uninterrupted line-of-sight extending all the way down to the Financial District is difficult to beat. (39th St. nr. 7th Ave.)

Refinery Rooftop

Refinery Rooftop

Near Bryant Park in Midtown, the Refinery Hotel’s five-star accommodations have certainly taken a luxurious turn since the building’s days as a hat factory, but the building has lost none of its charm. Up on its roof, the Refinery Rooftop bar outfitted with strings of bulb-lights hanging over candlelit wooden tables make the bar an equally perfect place for mingling or intimate tête-à-têtes, and its menu of shareable light fare – hummus plates, flatbreads, pork belly sliders – and classic cocktails offer plenty of tipple from which to choose. The Rockaway Lemonade made with fresh strawberries is as refreshing as drinks come. (38th St. nr. 6th Ave.)

Impressed by Sol LeWitt’s wall drawing at the Conrad Hotel? Check out our museum feature to learn about LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #370’ at the Met.