Tipples on Top

These Rooftop Bars Take Cocktail Culture Up High

Be it a bout of day drinking, nighttime dancing, or sundowners with skyline views, imbibing always seems to taste sweeter when it happens on a roof. The city is full of rooftop bars, but these seven spots each offer a unique atmosphere of their own.

Roof at Park South (124 E. 28th St.)
Lifting all the beloved vibes of the Gramercy neighborhood up to the top of the Park South Hotel, Roof at Park South feels like a secret garden planted with greenery, strung with bulbs, shaded by canopies, and forgoing any thumping music to let its guests relax and talk in peace. The focus here is on eccentric cocktails, which are as fine as at any of the city’s ground-level watering holes, each embodying a different tropical-climate concept.

There’s the Paddle Boarding the Amazon of cachaça, Suze, pineapple, and lime; the Volcano Bowl of the “house-rum blend #2” and spices; and, for those who like to get fancy, the Dukes’ Martini, served icy cold with a side of caviar. Be sure to come here in the warm months, as it’s only open seasonally.

 

Lovage (350 West 40th St.)
While Lovage may not be an icon on the New York skyline, it certainly takes in all the rest. The Empire State Building, One World Trade, even Lady Liberty are all on view from this 37th-floor rooftop lounge, which is as splashy as the bottles of champagne oft- popped here after dark.

Covering 4,000 square feet, it offers 360-degree views from its 17-foot- tall windows and outdoor balcony and is fitted with luxurious accents like walnut herringbone floors and Christian Lacroix fabrics. Cocktails and light bites made to share t well with the sunset views—some of the best in the city—but once the DJs start spinning, bottle service feels more appropriate for such a high-flying locale.

 

Mr. Purple (180 Orchard St.)
Most of the Lower East Side’s going-out spots take after the area’s name and are situated at low levels. Hotel Indigo, however, defies this norm with its 15th-floor rooftop bar Mr. Purple, which checks all the boxes of a this-day-and-age bar: lament bulbs, indoor plant life, craft beer, and a cocktail menu split between classic drinks and specialty house creations.

The signature Mr. Purple, for one, is a tequila- based apple and cranberry punch accented by allspice dram. Two balconies offer a swimming pool and plenty of room for fresh-air seating, and the fact that this is an outlier among its surrounds means the views stretch far and wide.

 

The Sundeck (420 Park Ave. South)
The Gansevoort Park Avenue has always been a favorite spot for summer fun-days, with its afternoon parties and three-level rooftop. The top of the three is The Sundeck, which, instead of being an expected sky-high club, is instead fashioned after a chilled-out beach bar, with cabanas to lie in, pitchers of spiked lemonade to pour, and life-size blocks of Jenga to challenge other guests to play.

Nearly the entire menu is made to share, save for the Frosé—sparkling rosé and berries kept cool by a dollop of rosé sorbet—or whole coconut spiked with rum, emphasizing The Sundeck’s appeal as a watering hole suited for big groups. On those clear June days that feel perfect for the beach, it’s the closest thing to sand and surf in Midtown.

 

Bar Hugo (525 Greenwich St.)
Set at the top of Hotel Hugo at the westernmost edge of SoHo,Bar Hugo offers unobstructed views of the Hudson River from one of the most handsome settings south of 14th Street. Comprising two floors, it adopts the hotel’s concept of elegant bohemianism in a duplex-like environment outfitted with leather sofas, contemporary art, blown-glass light xtures, and glittering views across to Hoboken.

It’s the type of place that lends itself well to the snap-happy—everywhere you turn here looks like a picture, especially during sunset happy hour, or on Sunday nights when a live band plays Cuban music.

 

Penthouse 808 (8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City)
Long Island City isn’t exactly  known for its club scene, but Penthouse 808 matches with Meatpacking District locales and raises them a view of the entire Manhattan skyline, making it well worth a ride out to Queens for a night. On top of the Ravel Hotel, 808 offers a breezy rooftop deck from which to post up with a cocktail and watch as the sky dims and city begins to twinkle.

A menu of Hawaiian and Asian fare—everything from sushi to Thai-roasted salmon—gives a solid base for nights fueled by a quite unusual and potent drink menu. Rum and vodka punch come in one- and two-gallon tiki heads; all cocktails are available by the glass or pitcher; and there’s even a selection of fine sakes. Drink up, because this dance floor doesn’t stay quiet for long.

 

Output (74 Wythe Ave.)
Anyone who loves house and big-in-Berlin-style music knows that Williamsburg’s Output is the club for them, though oftentimes it requires a wait due to its limited capacity. However, when the weather warms, it opens up its roof to make space for more dancers, particularly with its Sundays on the Roof day parties, which are marked on every cool young thing’s summer calendar.

A top-of-the-line Funktion-One Sound System makes every song feel all the more groovy, and unlike many hot spots in the city, this place refreshingly attracts a crowd devoted to the music rather than the people watching. Don your dancing shoes and leave your inhibitions at home. The beer and well drinks help too.