4 Berry St., nr. Nassau Ave., Williamsburg; 718-782-2829
Never judge a roof by its distance from sea level. Berry Park’s massive second-story beer garden offers midtown vistas, German drafts, and reasonable drink prices (mostly under $8), not to mention a comparably quiet respite from the FIFA madness in the bar down below.
The Rock Shop
249 Fourth Ave., nr. Carroll St., Park Slope; 718-230-5740
The latest nightlife venture from the Bowery Ballroom guys is already poaching customers from next-door beer garden Mission Dolores. There are no views to speak of from the second-floor roof deck, but $3 drink specials, ample seating, and a louche, hungover-rocker vibe duly compensate.
55 Little West 12th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-675-6686
The meatpacking district’s longtime alfresco clubhouse now sits punily in the shadow of the Standard Hotel, whose soon-to-open rooftop lounge will likely compete for the dubious honor of New York’s Most Difficult Door. Still, the deck has tremendous appeal for Hudson River sunsets. Get in—and out—early to avoid the crowds.
97 Greene St., at York St., Jersey City, N.J.; 201-435-5756
No relation to the Brass Monkey, this breezy third-floor rooftop has an anti-destination air that’s increasingly hard to find at roof bars across the river. Yes, it’s in Jersey City, but consider: There are 33 beers on tap, inoffensive tunes, tasty cheeseburgers, and a path station just two blocks away.
Penthouse 808 at the Ravel Hotel
8-08 Queens Plaza S., at Vernon Blvd., Long Island City; 718-289-6101
Everything’s a bit juiced here, including the scale (some 7,000 square feet), the view (an unimpeded Manhattan skyline), the Sunday brunch (thumping, extending well into the night), and, in large part, the crowd.
621 W. 46th St., nr. Eleventh Ave.; 212-315-9400
The onetime private-events-only aerie relaunched as a slightly more egalitarian Palm Beach–inspired venture last summer. The Jersey views are spectacular, guaranteeing an up-close-and-personal fireworks-viewing party on July 4.
The Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St.; 212-535-7710
The Met’s idyllic rooftop takes on a strikingly different look each year. This season, classic cocktails are served amid Mike and Doug Starn’s labyrinthine bamboo installation. Dress down and lay off the martinis if you want to get closer to the work: Flat shoes and sobriety (plus a walk-up ticket) are prerequisites for climbing.
Plunge at Hotel Gansevoort
18 Ninth Ave., at 13th St.; 212-660-6736
A new, bright-red paint job, white leather banquets, and loads of blown-up black-and-white fashion photography will greet Gansevoort regulars this year. Cocktails are still expensive (all $15), the pool is still off-limits, and the best time to go is still midweek.
Glass Bar at Hotel Indigo
127 W. 28th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-973-9000
Nestled on the single block that is the Flower District, Glass Bar is more neighborly than epic, with seasonal drinks like the Spicy Rita, a jalapeño-infused margarita ($14), Italian snacks, and a live-music lineup on Monday evenings. A gay night is supposedly in the works.
Press Lounge at Ink48
653 Eleventh Ave., at 48th St.; 212-757-2224
In the weeks since it debuted, Press has attracted an impressive, citywide crowd, all willing to trek to the western edge of midtown just to take in the view (which is admittedly remarkable, covering a swath of the Hudson River, midtown, and the Upper West Side). Drinks hover in the $16 range, but the massive wraparound terrace is worth the surcharge.
Mad46 at the Roosevelt Hotel
45 E. 45th St., at Madison Ave.; 212-885-6095
Once you complete the seemingly infinite elevator journey from the 46th Street entrance to the nineteenth-floor bar, things get exponentially better. Green hedges line a somewhat secluded wraparound terrace bustling with Murray Hillians, who see no shame in snagging a cabana, calling some friends, and knocking off a few afternoon pitchers of Miller Lite.
Top of the Strand at the Strand Hotel
33 W. 37th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-448-1024
A close, unobstructed view of the Empire State Building is the main draw at this urban-Zen-vibed lounge, with its ample greenery and bamboo backdrop. The bar’s massive cocktail list tends toward the tropics with litchi martinis, mai tais, and caipirinhas, all about $15.
Salon de Ning at the Peninsula Hotel
700 Fifth Ave., at 55th St.; 212-956-2888
Revamped two years ago to look like a Shanghai socialite’s art-filled pied-à-terre, the indoor-outdoor bar has some of the most interesting views in the city—from an eastern stretch of Central Park to a bird’s-eye view of MoMA’s sculpture garden. Drinks are exorbitant at $22 to $24 a pop, but the views—and the people-watching—help justify the cost.
Upstairs at the Kimberly
145 E. 50th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-702-1685
A southern-facing wall of windows frames a delightfully prominent Chrysler Building, while inside the look is vintage-minimalist, save for the glittering lights strung overhead. Drinks are expensive at $18 and lean toward the classics; try a Pomme D’or, made with Hennessy VSOP, pear liqueur, apple cider, and lemon.
The Sky Room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Times Square
330 W. 40th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-967-9494
The highest and biggest of its peers, this just-opened bi-level lounge has five distinct spaces, including two sizable terraces upstairs. Party-size cabanas dominate the southern terrace, while the north-facing veranda is all-weather with a retractable roof.