After visiting New York two years in a row and staying with friends, the city that never sleeps has left me wanting to return for more. Like London and many other international cities in the world New York has it all; from chilled and quirky coffee shops, to outrageous daytime brunch parties and elegant rooftop dining spots, there is literally something to tantalise your taste buds every minute of the day in the big apple.
I am a big foodie myself and I religiously research places before visiting somewhere, so I am so excited to share with you all my guide to New York’s best eats, brunches and rooftop bars. Part II on NYC brunches will be coming out soon.
All the rooftop bars are listed via district as I think this will be most useful to you when exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn. I have also created a list on Google Maps, so you have all the places when you are ready to explore!
B. on Top at Gansevoort Hotel // @gansevoort
B. on Top is a chic lounge and cocktail bar located on the 14th floor of the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking district. The rooftop is a stylish scene, with both indoor and outdoor spaces and incredible views overlooking Manhattan and the Hudson River. In the evenings there is usually a live DJ which gives the rooftop bar the most chilled ambience. We visited here after doing Bagatelle and it was the perfect spot to watch the sunset across the Hudson River whilst sipping on refreshing cocktails.
One of the best rooftop bars in the summer is Le Bain, a penthouse discotheque and rooftop bar on the top floor of The Standard Hotel. During the peak of summer, there can be extremely long queues to get in, so it’s best going on to their website and checking out what events they have on before you go. Like the Gansevoort, Le Bain is a sweet spot for watching the sun go down as it is west facing; it even has a plunge pool that’s open during the summer, as well as a creperie on the grass covered rooftop.
If you are unable to get into Le Bain due to the long queues outside, The Standard Hotel’s rooftop bar is a great alternative, it has the views (as seen above), however it isn’t open air and lacks the live DJs like Le Bain next door.
Catch NYC // @catch
This restaurant was one of my personal favourites. Set in the heart of the Meatpacking district Catch is an exquisite seafood restaurant set out over 3 floors. It’s worth making a reservation before you go, as both their beautiful indoor dining area and there slick al fresco dining area is usually pretty packed day to day. This restaurant is known for its celebrity sightings, so be sure to people watch when you go. After midnight from Thursdays to Saturdays the roof turns into a lively nightlife space which is usually open until 4am. If you are a lover of seafood, then this restaurant is definitely not one to miss.
Refinery Rooftop // @refineryrooftop
Refinery Rooftop is a delightful, chic rooftop bar with indoor seating and an outdoor terrace on top of the Refinery Hotel in midtown Manhattan. During the peak summer months the rooftop can get exceptionally busy, so I would advise making a reservation before you go. This is definitely a hot spot for all the local workers after hours as well many visiting tourists, so expect a wait at the door and at the bar.
The Refinery bar has an industrial feel to it, intertwined with plants and chic lighting which makes it a real fashionable spot. It’s a perfect spot for cocktails and for admiring the views of the Empire State Building before sunset. They also serve delicious sliders which is great if you are feeling peckish after a long day of exploring.
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar // @230fifthrooftop
230 Fifth is a must if visiting Manhattan. This rooftop bar is New York’s largest outdoor rooftop garden with a fully enclosed penthouse lounge and is located in the middle of Manhattan, right in front of the Empire State Building. The rooftop looks just like a summer garden, you are surrounded by trees, plants, umbrellas and picnic style benches; what more could you want? In the winter, the bar also turns into a winter wonderland haven with outdoor igloos so you can get cosy and watch as the lights on the Empire State Building change colour. This really is the place to chill out with friends for casual food and drinks or recoup after a few hours of exploring – it has a super chilled and laid-back atmosphere, so it’s great spot to put your feet up and unwind after exploring Manhattan’s bustling streets.
PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown // @phdterraceny
PHD Terrace is another outstanding rooftop in mid-town Manhattan; it has the chic urban vibes like the Refinery, but also the space like 230 Fifth. PHD is a swanky lounge and restaurant with incredible views of the Manhattan skyline and Times Square.
On a Saturday afternoon, you’ll find the penthouse buzzing with party goers who aren’t there for a long time, but a good time. PHD terrace is renowned for its breath-taking views, which makes it a popular place to go at the weekend. I’d advise going during mid-afternoon or making a reservation if you want to get in for the evening. In the winter time, it’s also the perfect place to cosy up with a cocktail and admire the skyline around you.
Located at the Rockefeller Plaza, the Rainbow Room is a sophisticated bar on the 65th floor. The bar has some of the most iconic views in the city, including stunning views of the Empire State Building. I would advise emailing or phoning to check their opening times before you go as the bar is often closed for private events. They also have a strict dress code of “neat and refined” (which unfortunately does mean no flip flops for guys, even when it is 30 degrees outside) – it was only on our third attempt that we were allowed to enter. This is a great and much cheaper way to get the same views, a cocktail and light nibbles if you don’t fancy going up the Rockefeller Centre.
SERRA on the roof // @eatalyflatiron
Serra is a little hidden gem nestled lower down in midtown Manhattan on the 14th floor of the popular Eataly. The entrance to the rooftop is inside the popular Eataly (which I will cover in NYC: part II). At the top you’ll discover Serra’s oasis of beautiful flowers and Italian dishes all in its fun themed and Italian countryside inspired settings. From formal lunching and weekend brunching, to Serra’s cocktail hour it’s a great place for a summer session and for sipping on rose all day with your friends.
Lower East Side
Mr Purple // @mrpurplenyc
Mr.Purple is a rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Different to the rooftop bars mentioned above, Mr.Purple provides gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline and the Empire State Building from the south side. It’s a vibrant bar with a lively feel and is a popular spot in the evening and especially at weekends. On the roof terrace is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking Manhattan which oozes sex and the city cosmopolitan vibes. The terrace is a fabulous place for afternoon-to-evening cocktails and to watch the sun go down.
Westlight & The Turf Club at the William Vale Hotel // @westlightnyc
Westlight and the Turf Club is definitely worth a visit one evening whilst you are in New York. Both Westlight and the Turf Club are located on the top floors of the Willam Vale Hotel. Westlight, located on the 22nd floor is a rooftop bar and restaurant with seating both inside and outdoors. The bar has a sophisticated design inside with velvet sofas, a chic indoor bar area and an expansive area outdoors which makes this bar a glamorous place to go with a group of friends.
The added bonus is The Turf Club above Westlight which is located on the 23rd floor of the William Vale Hotel. The wide-open space, and 360-degree views of NYC, along with the casual foosball games and lawn games makes this spot one of the best rooftops to go to chill for the night and watch the sunset across the river and the whole of Manhattan. The bar on top serves cocktails and snacks, so even if you don’t eat at Westlight beforehand, it’s a superb rooftop hangout in the summer.
Planning a trip to NYC?
Like the sound of the rooftops above? Be sure to favourite my New York: Best eats, bars and brunches on Google maps so you have all the locations when you are ready to explore.