Altitude is everything: The new Press Lounge, and nine other rooftop bars in New York City

See recent posts by Kelsey Blodget

The  Private Roof Club and Garden is one of our favorite spots in the city for warm-weather drinking.
The  Private Roof Club and Garden is one of our favorite spots in the city for warm-weather drinking.

At long last, rooftop season is upon us — the time of year when Manhattanites head skyward to soak up warm weather, city views, and, of course, copious amounts of alcohol. One of our favorite new boutiques, Ink48, is kicking things off right with the opening tonight of its new roof deck, Press Lounge (rain be damned). Located on top of a former printing house, the Press Lounge has a more laid-back approach than other swanky New York rooftop bars (no bottle service or strict door policy). You might say it’s a slight consolation to all those who long for the days of ink and paper.

New Yorkers certainly won’t lack options when it comes to rooftop drinking this spring: More rooftop bar openings are soon to follow — Glass Bar at Hotel Indigo and Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel — and there are a number of fantastic spots already open for your drinking pleasure. We’ve listed our favorites below the jump.

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge

The Empire’s rooftop bar boasts (slightly) cheaper cocktails (about $14), more space, and a more down-to-Earth crowd than you typically find at the Gansevoort’s Plunge in the Meatpacking District — and it even has a comparable rooftop pool.

Private Roof Club and Garden

Although the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Private Roof Club and Garden competes with the uber-hip Rose Bar downstairs, it’s the place to be in warmer weather. The strings of lights and crawling green vines make it feel like you’ve entered a fairyland after dark.


The Gansevoort’s 15th-floor rooftop lounge, called Plunge, has stunning 360-degree views of the city and the Hudson River, and draws a crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings dressed to kill.


A60 is one of the city’s most exclusive rooftop bars, open only to card-carrying “members” (read: celebrities, fashion types, and other bold-named scenesters), plus hotel guests. In other words, for the price of a room, you just might gain access to some of the best celebrity-gawking in Manhattan.

Mé Bar

This colorful, funky bar on the 14th floor of La Quinta hotel has one of the best views in town — the Empire State building, one of New York’s most iconic sites, towers above the action. But it’s still somewhat of an undiscovered gem; you won’t have to fight the crowds or put on your swank party clothes like you would at A60 or Plunge. Low-key revelers can enjoy the scene year-round — seating is available in an enclosed glass area in the winter — and order delivery to the rooftop from the area’s excellent Korean joints when the late-night munchies hit (the bar doesn’t serve food). Drinks are reasonably priced (for New York, anyway).


The rooftop garden and bar Bookmarks has three different personas: the “poetry garden,” a greenhouse with a wraparound terrace; the “writer’s den,” which has a working fireplace and its own heated terrace; and the bar itself, which has a sleeker, more mod feel than the rest of the hotel.

Rare View

The Affinia Shelburne’s summer rooftop garden and bar, appropriately named Rare View, has stunning views of the Chrysler building. At night, strings of lights illuminate the garden’s white-latticed walls, white picnic tables, and pots of trees and flowers.


The Roosevelt Hotel’s 19th-floor rooftop bar, Mad46, which opened in 2008, draws a crowd heavy with finance professionals who can afford its double-digit martinis. It stays open from May until the weather turns chilly in the fall. Renovations are under way to add an indoor lounge.

Hudson Sky Terrace

Hudson’s Sky Terrace, which opened in May 2009 in time for the warm weather, is a relative newcomer to the New York rooftop bar scene. A limited menu is available from 12 to 8, and the terrace closes at 11:30, so it’s better for mellow cocktail sipping in the sun than late-night parties. The 15th-floor location offers stunning views of Midtown and the Hudson River.

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