When you live in a town with over 8 million residents and just 300 square miles of land, there's only one way to go: Up. And what better way to be. For there''s something about defying the limits of our otherwise earth-bound selves that turns us loose as the neighboring birds. Whether it's the change in atmospheric pressure, the invincibility we feel on the fringes of the world's most recognizable skyline, or the memory job of a middle school 3 a.m. "rooftop rendezvous," partying where we're not supposed to is great, just great.
With Manhattan itself home to nearly 2,000 bar and restaurant establishments-- where exactly should one climb to indulge mightily with the Gods? If the options may seem endless it's because they are, but endless to whom is a different story. Listed below is Joonbug's Summer 5 most Accessible Rooftop Bars for summer 2011:
Quietly situated atop an unassuming venue for romance, the low-budget La Quinta Inn Koreatown, Me Bar guarantees an aerial buzz, butterflies and an intimate view of The Empire State Building, without the dreaded sight of worn "Lonely Planets" either. (you know what we mean-- that pluralized T-word) The area, otherwise known for nightlife of the karaoke variety, is unmatched for after work, rooftop martini haunts-- so call ahead to ensure they've got space as private parties have been known to snag up space in the past. And tempting as it may be to snap a photo of the unexpected views, remember, we love the locals-only vibe... and want to keep it that way. 17 W. 32nd Street (212) 290-2460
2. AVA Lounge
We're big fans of DREAM Hotel. "Part Riviera, Part Rome, with inflections of South Beach" decor is as sexy as the views it envelopes. From the Hudson River to Time Square, with a special line of Broadway which rest 15 stories below, AVA is sure to impress. If reasonable cocktails, no entry fee, minimally outfitted waitresses, and DJ's who spin out the stars until 4 a.m. sang your attention, then Ava's for you. If you're in the mood for classical New York sights, in the privacy of an upscale party deck, Ava's definitely for you. 210 W. 55th Street (212) 956-7020
Worldwide recognition. Open 365 days a year. Palm trees, fountains, a velvety aesthetic, and safari animalia... 230-Fifth is New York City's largest outdoor rooftop garden and enclosed penthouse, and there's little not to love. No cover policy, no reservations necessary, no haughty rules about bottle service and guest list. The place, quite simply, was designed to accommodate the all-seasons, all-reasons, all-hours, all-welcome kind of buzz. It's 230-Fifth and no less than 22,000 sky-tickling square feet of fun. 230 Fifth Avenue (212) 725-4300
If you're of the kind who doesn't leave your neighborhood, you'll want to jump to #5. If you're willing to hike over the bridge, however, for a majestically candle-lit, open-air rooftop palace--home to some of the most stunning panoramic sights this city has to offer, you will find yourself in Long Island City's Ravel Hotel Rooftop Bar. It's fun too. With themed booze nights and pitchers of cocktails that need muddled, not stirred, Ravel makes the trip to Queens worth it, where you can gaze from afar in style. 8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City. (718) 298-6101
Cerebral folk and wannabes can get into grammatical debates all summer long at the lovably demure classic, Bookmark Rooftop Lounge. Between the enclosed greenhouse, outdoor terrace, fireside cocktails and mahogany-tinted interior, sophistication is for the taking. Employ high-minded language only whilst sipping The Hemingway, or don your most velvety smoking jacket please when lighting that cigar--the foliage, cobblestone, and castle-like cuts of this lounge give an elegant Old English feel to a dizzying swarm of city life below. Contemplatively stare at the pitfalls of modernity like Tolstoy too; views are magnificent. 299 Madison Avenue (212) 204-5498