You deserve the best. Sort by event category to see Joonbug’s best-of roundups and blogs and browse our curated selection of everything New York City has to offer.
Image: IG: @mikavie.ny
People might say 1 Hotel’s rooftop bar can’t be the best view in the city because it’s in Brooklyn, and those people are the kind that brag the curry isn't spicy enough for them. Let’s be honest – you cannot beat DUMBO’s perspective of the Manhattan skyline – I don’t care if you aren’t up close and personal with the Empire State Building. 1’s vista is unparalleled in New York, and so far – relatively accessible, as long as you’re willing to pay the $20 fee for non-hotel guests. If you're a DUMBO resident you'll still going to have to deal with the Instagrammers you try to avoid everyday on Washington Street, but the backdrop alone is worth it. The real downside? 1 Rooftop’s bar is only open seasonally, but the space remains open as an observation deck. You can also get a pretty darn good view and old fashioned a few floors below at the Brooklyn Heights Social Club during the winter while you stay toasty. Get ready for those summer months, though, because 1 Rooftop also has a plunge pool to cool off.
BEST SUMMER ROOF: JIMMY AT THE JAMES HOTEL - SOHO
There are enough
Louboutins strutting poolside at JIMMY to tell you it attracts a stylish
crowd. Not surprising, considering the
entire place looks like a modern art sculpture.
Set inside the giant frame of a white box, the outdoor area of this
James Hotel hotspot offers craft cocktails and stunning views. Inside, warm up from a dip against plush navy
velvet by the fireplace. Renowned DJs
cycle through here like models at fashion week – so there's almost always a
beat to sip to. During warmer months
expect frozen drinks to take the party up a notch, but bring your card -
cocktails here start at $19. It isn't the tallest roof in New York City - but
it's certainly the sleekest.
MILLENNIAL HOTSPOT: TONIC EAST- Midtown
Don't fret my fellow broke millennials – there's a rooftop bar for you too. Finding the Tonic East is like stumbling upon a gyro for under $4 in New York City – exhilarating, until you start wondering what's inside. Fear not - Tonic is as good of a find as it seems, it just doesn't come with many frills. This is your good old-fashioned good-time NYC locale – that just happens to have an epic third floor with a retractable roof. Expect to see the Chrysler and Empire State buildings while you sip on your $5 Happy Hour margarita. People stop by Tonic for a low-key drink and some grub at all times of the day, but on Friday and Saturday night Tonic goes into full nightclub mode. So if you're looking to wear sequins, there's still hope for you.
QUINTESSENTIAL NYC EXPERIENCE: THE ROOF AT THE PUBLIC HOTEL - Lower East Side
Image: IG: @travelplusstyle
If you recently moved to NYC because of a movie you saw,
this is one of those fantastical venues that delivers the dream – unlike our
subway delays. Expect a selection of craft liquors at both the indoor and
outdoor bars, floors with blue light pouring from their seams, and a view that
is undeniably spectacular. People
recommend beating the crowd, but make sure you stay after the sun sets - this
is one of those places that sparkles in the dark. It's not the kind of place you just drop into
late at night, though, so if you're above waiting in line, get there early or
call ahead to reserve a table and impress your friends from out of town. Don't want to plan, but can't stand
lines? Get over it - this is a rooftop
in New York.
BEST KEPT SECRET: POD 39 ROOFTOP - Murray Hill
Get ready, seasoned city-dwellers, because I'm about to inform you that the most magical rooftop in New York is sitting atop a budget hotel in Murray Hill. Renovations have had it closed, but this month Pod 39's one-of-a-kind rooftop will reopen its doors. Guests will take in terra cotta columns and open brick walls with twinkling lights hung between them. Romantic archways frame our city's gems like the Empire State Building. Though it's been able to maintain a relatively underground reputation, Pod 39's little oasis has developed a cult following. That means get there early to grab a seat, because when work's out - all bets are off. It's the rare hideaway oozing old-world charm with a metropolitan city as its backdrop. If walking through a budget hotel lobby seems beneath you, kindly keep the secret for the rest of us.
WHERE TO TAKE CLIENTS: TOP OF THE STANDARD - Meatpacking District
Sitting atop the Standard High Line Hotel, this rooftop bar has a seasonal outdoor space, but you're not missing anything in the winter. Taking in the interior is like admiring a work of art with its arched bar that boasts an impressive liquor selection. The 18th floor Art Deco-inspired space fills with music from live jazz musicians, and if you want to look important, there's no better place to go. Pretty much everyone here looks like they just took a break from perusing the Restoration Hardware catalogue with their interior designer and came out for a dirty martini. But after 10 p.m. it becomes a members-only with a mysterious guest list. So you may want to keep drinks to happy hour – and with its gilded decor and floor-to-ceiling windows, Top of The Standard is just about the best place in the city to watch the sunset anyway.
**Top of the Standard’s PR team declined to have a photo published and noted that they don't allow guests to take photos.
BRUNCH SPOT: GALLOW GREEN – Hudson Yards
Image: Conor Harrigan
This is a charming, slate stone-floored nest above the famous Sleep No More interactive theatre experience, and yes, the roof is equally as majestic. Famous for their seasonal all-you-can-eat buffet brunches, (think an omelet station, fried chicken, roasted vegetables, pig roast) Gallow Green makes you feel like you’re having brunch on top of your aunt’s country house. Potted tulips, twinkle lights, a green archway, and trees surround you – yes, you heard me correctly, TREES. To top it all off, live jazz plays at the McKittrick Hotel’s rustic hideaway – which reminds me, your aunt’s country house does not have a great view of New York. It does, however, serve frozé. You may have to pay $17 for it, but hey – it’s frozé. Brunch is crazy popular here, so be sure to book your tickets online to secure a spot.
LA TRANSPANT HAVEN: BROKEN SHAKER – Flatiron
Image: Adrian Gaut
Speaking as someone who moved away from perpetual summer to fully embrace the East Coast lifestyle again… it’s a traumatic experience. All of the sudden there are seasons, and zen interiors are replaced with industrial ones. At ease, my surfing castaways, with greenery against brick the Freehand Hotel is here to bridge the gap between coasts while you sip on a formidable cocktail. The legendary craft cocktail spot that started at the Miami Freehand is now open in Chicago, Los Angeles, and here in New York. Set to debut a new brunch menu in a week's time, Broken Shaker will be one of the only rooftop brunch spots in NYC with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s here you can sip on delicious concoctions like “The Waxman” made with Olmeca Altos blanco tequila, Cocchi Americano, Dolin Genepy, smoked carrot-pineapple reduction, and fresh citrus. Woven lanterns and beachy vibes abound at the bar made to remind you that tiki cocktails are an art and bohemia exists in New York. So when the sun hates you and three Northfaces aren’t enough to keep you warm in May– head over to the Broken Shaker.
FIRST DATE SPOT: JULIETTE – Williamsburg
for renovations, Juliette’s rooftop is getting ready to open this spring with a
brand new 26-seat bar. While not a
rooftop that boasts particularly impressive views, what this quaint open-air
deck does have is ambiance. This
greenery-clad French Bistro is tucked away in Williamsburg and its rooftop is a
lovely intimate space to get to know your Hinge match. Juliette is a small establishment with bistro
umbrellas and a casually dressed crowd that is a glorious fusion of
Williamsburg’s rugged past and gentrified future. Craft cocktails are expertly done, but the
space hasn’t conformed to the same polished restaurant standards as some of its
neighbors. While Juliette is lovely,
there’s no pressure here amongst its breezy vibes and friendly staff. And you only have to walk down two stories if
the date isn’t going how you expected.
DRINKS WITH CO-WORKERS: WESTLIGHT – Williamsburg
Need some fresh air after work? Sipping a cocktail on Westlight’s plush outdoor sectionals feels like viewing New York City from a cloud. Glass half walls provide unencumbered 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline and man, are they impressive. Even locals can’t help but look through the bright yellow telescopes lined along the roof’s edge. After having served my fair share of time behind a bar, I tend to be a cocktail snob, but for a rooftop bar that could easily coast when it comes to its menu, Westlight certainly does not. Expertly selected small-batch spirits and well-paired ingredients make Westlight’s cocktail menu a home run. That also means you should expect the standard New York prices ($17,18) when you’re celebrating your promotion. Second only to the bathroom, this is the best place in New York to go after leaving a cubicle.
GOOD FOR COMING WITH A CREW: REFINERY ROOFTOP - Midtown
Refinery is a model
of a rooftop bar and restaurant done well.
With a stunning warm interior comprised of classic New York brick
archways and rustic accents like a fireplace, shiplap and glass ceilings, and
oriental rugs, Refinery attracts patrons of all ages. You’re right next door to the Empire State Building at this homey hotspot and reservations can be made for larger parties
on the deck so your whole crew can enjoy the view. Refinery is a ridiculously popular destination every night, but gets particularly lively on the
weekends - it’s an all-weather, all-times, crowd-pleaser. Even rain can’t keep devotees away because of
the luxurious interior and instagrammable drinks There’s really
never a reason to leave except that, well… they close.
WHERE TO PARTY: PHD Lounge at the Dream Hotel Downtown – Chelsea
This penthouse is iconic in the New York City nightlife scene, so it’s no surprise that they’ve decked it out accordingly. Dance under LED paneled ceilings to live DJ performances or step out onto the terrace and mingle with NYC’s most enthusiastic revelers. Sip champagne while you stare beyond triple-tiered chandeliers through PHD’s massive windows and down the Hudson as New York lights up for its after dark devotees. Come ready to play at PHD and forget the rest of the world – because you’ll be twelve stories above it.
BEST HAPPY HOUR: ALMA – Cobble Hill
Image: IG: @globetrottergirls
Check out this happy hour deal: two enchiladas or two tacos with a house margarita or sangria for $14. That’s basically a New York City record. And there’s much more to be adored about Brooklyn’s quaint Mexican hotspot. The small roof deck eatery was built “from the ground up” by the four owners, and its low-key vibes and exposed wood deck make it feel like your summer house dream. Alma’s got an industrial yard sitting between it and the Hudson, but the Manhattan skyline behind it shines plenty bright enough with few interruptions. With a menu that is out of this world and añejo tequila to top it off, there really isn’t anything not to like about Alma.
LOW KEY HANGOUT: BERRY PARK – Williamsburg
Open year-round with DJs on the weekends, it’s genuinely shocking that this cheery watering hole doesn't get more attention in the press. The roof deck sits under an industrial atrium with touches of green and high-tops made out of barrels, making it both sleek and approachable. Yes, it’s only two stories up, yes it’s home to “The Backyard” – an indoor soccer facility, and as you may expect, yes, it’s above a soccer bar. If you think all of these things make it that much more awesome, you’ll love Berry Park. Also they have a massive chocolate chip ice cream sandwich so… yea.