Splish, Splash, and Sip

Cool off This Summer With Poolside Cocktails at These Urban Waters

If you know where to go, New York is full of pools—some public (and crowded), some that require twisting a certain membership-holding friend’s arm, and some that require little more of you than a drink or two and a willingness to have a good time. In the summer months, here’s where to opt for the latter. And besides, poolside drinking is just following the doctor’s orders to always accompany alcohol consumption with water, right?

Tiki Tabu at Sixty LES (190 Allen St.)
An elevator ride up to roof-level will transport you to the tropics at the Lower East Side’s Sixty LES Hotel, where Tiki Tabu awaits anyone wanting to live out their daydreams of islands more far-flung than Manhattan. Palm frond fabrics, greenery hanging from bulb-strung ceilings, and cool breeze set the scene, while the bar pours Mai Tais, frozen daiquiris and coladas, and Negronis on tap.

The oversized lava lamps and Hawaiian-shirted staff may err on the side of kitsch, but this is a spot that encourages its guests not to take themselves too seriously, after all. The hotel’s pool—bottomed with an Andy Warhol self-portrait mural—is only open to guests, but the happy-go-lucky vibe and groovy tunes up at Tiki Tabu see guests splash out in some of the city’s best nightlife.


McCarren Hotel (160 North 12th St., Brooklyn)
The sorbet-colored pillows strewn around umbrella- and fern-shaded daybeds say “Cap D’Antibes,” but the striped street art-esque murals and house music tunes are very South Beach. Either way, the pool at the McCarren Hotel & Pool is likely to make you forget that you’re in New York while you’re sprawled on one of those loungers, slowly beginning to understand the intersection of identities that is Williamsburg these days.

A two million dollar makeover saw this glassy hotel open in 2015 to much fanfare for its upscale-funk feel, which is perhaps best absorbed by the cerulean oasis with a tropical cocktail from the poolside bar in hand. When the pool closes at 6 p.m., follow the crowd to the subterranean Oleanders restaurant for a bone marrow–brushed burger, or up to the roof for a sunset beer brewed just around the corner at Brooklyn Brewery.


The Jimmy (15 Thompson St.)
Only open when the weather’s nice, the best view of SoHo comes from 18 stories high atop The James New York hotel, where rooftop bar The Jimmy beckons with its classy 1970s-style bar and glassy plunge pool. With 360-degree views of downtown, it’s the perfect place for people to watch from above—or at eye level.

A chic clientele flocks here for daytime pool parties from 3 p.m. on weekends, or to converse by the handsome centerpiece bar inside, surrounded by glazed tile walls reflecting those hard-earned summer tans. Cocktails are shaken and stirred with premium liquors and herbs from the hotel’s garden for fresh creations such as grilled pineapple mojito or, to cool off, the “Slushie du Jour,” perhaps paired with shitake wontons or parmesan fries for some sustenance to keep the night going, since you definitely won’t want to leave.


The Beach at The Dream Downtown (355 West 16th St.)
If the fact that The Beach at the Dream Downtown hotel had contemporary sportswear brand Cooper & Ella design a special collection of cover ups for its guests is any indication, this urban pool club is ultra-trendy—ultra-everything, really. For a “go big” day at the pool, this just might be the place, spanning more than 4,800 square feet on the edge of the Meatpacking District.

Private cabanas and 50 lounge chairs provide grounds for sitting pretty, while the glass-bottomed pool offers cool respite after playing around on the sand beach. Staff shuttle craft cocktails, tacos, and sharing plates (mini lobster rolls, charred peppers) to and from the kitchen, but the best way for groups to make use of a day here is with one of the Poolside Party Packages that offer combinations of sangria pitchers, bottles, beer buckets, and kegs of boozy fruit punches.


The William Vale (111 North 12th St., Brooklyn)The 60-foot-long pool at Brooklyn’s hideout du jour, The William Vale hotel, is one of the longest hotel pools in the city, as well as one of the nicest. Sleek and simple, this pool deck is devoid of any theme decorations in order to give its guests more room to breathe and enjoy the Manhattan skyline views.

Five types of lounge options range from two-person sofas to six- person cabanas, from which guests can order ice pops, organic juices, classic cocktails, or a menu of light bites designed by award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini. Open seven days a week, there’s certainly no bad time to come to this watering hole, but it’s worth keeping an eye on its events calendar. Summer festival Rooftop Films holds screenings here, and a weekly fitness class jointly hosted by the hotel and Lululemon are conducted poolside.