NYC Speakeasies

by John Rudy September 1, 2015

Nothing beats a sidewalk cafe on a nice summer night—except looking down on it from a rooftop bar. 

Having cocktails on the roof feels oddly like going on vacation. The big cheese in the power tie acts like he’s on a plane headed for Maui. The supermodel look-alike kicks off her stilettos and makes a ponytail. Small-plate menus and punch bowls encourage roaming around and sharing; patrons rearrange bar chairs as though they were beach towels. The muffled noise of traffic far below goes surprisingly well with live jazz and a cool breeze. No one’s hurrying back to the subway any time soon.

A tour of New York's rooftop bars is an excellent way to beat the heat and take in glittering views.

SixtyFive, the terrace off the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, holds bragging rights as the loftiest bar. The high-dollar drinks are worth saving up for now and then, especially if you’re trying to impress visiting friends from Ohio. There’s almost nothing you can’t see from SixtyFive.

Rooftop crawling needn’t cost a fortune, though, and there are many less expensive standouts. 

Rooftop at Pad 39, which boasts a bird’s-eye view of Lower Manhattan and the Empire State Building, is on East 39th Street atop the Pad 39 Hotel.

Gallow Green, above the historic McKittrick Hotel-turned-theater in Chelsea, features live music. The hotel show and drinks upstairs afterward make for a great date night.

In Brooklyn, check out Night of Joy in the Williamsburg neighborhood. It opens early afternoon, and the large tented area for cooling off makes it a day of joy, too. The drinks are famously strong, and the graffiti décor is something to see. 

Vu Bar on West 32nd Street in Koreatown doesn’t have much view to speak of, but it’s got a great neighborhood vibe and the cheapest rooftop drinks in town.

When a heat wave hits the city, there’s nowhere to go but up.

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1.Loopy Doopy
102 North End Ave
New York, NY 10282

2. Gallow Green
542 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001

3. La Piscine at the Americano Hotel
518 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001

4. The Wyndham Garden Chinatown
93 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

5. Bar 13
35 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003

6. Hudson Terrace
621 W 46th St
New York, NY

7. Cantina Rooftop
605 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036

8. Above Allen
190 Allen St
New York, NY 10002

9. Catch
21 9th Ave
New York, NY 10014

10. Top of the Strand
33 West 37th St
New York, NY 10018

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