The Kimberly Hotel, 145 E. 50th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-253-7337
String lights overhead and overstuffed leather chairs set the ambiance at Upstairs, the swank new bar on the 30th floor of the Kimberly. A retractable glass roof—don't worry, it won't impede your view!—and heated floors keep the bar open year-round and comfortable on chilly nights.
The View: 360-degree view of midtown Manhattan
The Menu: Small plates of the French persuasion from Chef Gwenaël Le Pape
The Hours: Daily (5 p.m.–1 a.m.)
Ink48, 653 Eleventh Ave., at 48th St.; 212-757-2224
Designed by David Rockwell, the sixteenth-floor Press Lounge features a twenty-foot reflecting pool, mod wicker furniture reminiscent of Ditzel's egg chair, and lux leather couches in the interior area (open year-round).
The View: 360-degree views of downtown Manhattan and Jersey City
The Menu: Small plates of farm-to-table modern American cuisine with Italian influence
The Hours: Su–W (5:30 p.m.–midnight), Th–S (5:30 p.m.–2 a.m.)
The James, 15 Thompson St., at Grand St.; 212-465-2000
Sip your cocktails poolside at the the outdoor component of Jimmy, at the pinnacle of Soho’s new James hotel. If you happen to head indoors, even the women’s bathroom offers a view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
The View: 360 degrees of rolling downtown topography, with sight lines stretching from the Empire State Building to the Hudson to the gradually multiplying floors of the future 1 World Trade Center.
The Menu: Food is not yet served but is planned for the future.
The Hours: Su–W (4 p.m.–1am), Th–S (4 p.m.–2 a.m.)
Library Hotel, 299 Madison Ave., at 41st St.; 212-983-4500
With its brick walls, lovely floral displays, and an abundance of reading material, the terrace of the Library Hotel's rooftop bar could pass for the patio of an Upper East Side townhouse.
The View: The majestic Lefcourt building rises across the street.
The Menu: $15 summer sparklers, which mix flavors like vanilla, blood orange, ginger, cucumber, and watermelon with sparkling wine
The Hours: M–F (4 p.m.–midnight), S (5 p.m.–1 a.m.), Su (closed)
Hotel on Rivington’s Rooftop
107 Rivington St., nr. Ludlow St.; 212-475-2600
The "fully functional lounge and event space" is located in Hotel on Rivington's 2,300-square-foot penthouse and comes equipped with a 1,000-square-foot rooftop deck. Events will be mostly private, but nab a producer credit for some random indie flick and you're totally in for the premiere after-party.
The View: The Williamsburg Bridge and the East River
The Menu: Fare from the hotel's restaurants—including Thor and Matt Levine's LEVANTeast—is available.
The Hours: Vary, according to the party being held
Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Ave., at 13th St.; 877-426-7386
Those willing to weather the line outside and suffer the cramped elevator ride consider the Gansevoort Hotel's fifteenth-floor penthouse an airy (and cruisy) escape; those who believe untucked dress shirts are an aesthetic affront consider it the inner ring of meatpacking hell.
The View: Great shots of lower Manhattan and New Jersey, from whence many of the patrons hail
The Menu: Basic cocktails start at $15
The Hours: Daily (11 a.m.–4 a.m.)
8–08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City; 718-289-6101
Located atop Long Island City's first boutique hotel, the space is 8,000 square feet altogether, including a 40-foot bar. D.J.'s spin till 3 a.m.
The View: Back at you, Manhattan.
The Menu: Frozen drinks (including a blueberry mojito) paired with tuna tartare, carne asada flatbread, and lamb sliders
The Hours M–T (4 p.m.–midnight), W–Su (4 p.m.–3 a.m.)
230 Fifth Ave., nr. 27th St., 20th fl.; 212-725-4300
Fresh air meets stale pickup lines at the city's largest rooftop drinkery. Since it opened in 2006, a steady stream of finance types have flocked here for the Miami Vice–like décor of palm trees, stuffed safari animals, and an endless expanse of wooden benches.
The View: The Empire State Building to the north, the MetLife building to the east, and Jersey to the west
The Menu: $12 cocktails incorporate fresh grape and pear juices; a full menu ranges from fried shrimp to the Malaysian Romli burger.
The Hours: M–F (4 p.m.–4 a.m.) S–Su (11 a.m.–4 a.m.)
Hotel Metro Rooftop Bar
Hotel Metro, 45 W. 35th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-279-3535
After a tidy renovation last summer, this favorite after-work spot has reopened with décor upgrades and several new wines by the glass. Servers now deliver specialty cocktails from the bar, which is now fully stocked and located in the middle of a newly tiled floor.
The View: A close-up of the Empire State Building
The Menu: $6–$7 beers, $8 wines, $12 mixed drinks
The Hours:Daily (5 p.m.–11 p.m.)
Hudson Sky Terrace
The Hudson Hotel, 356 W. 58th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-554-6303
Should the techno and chatter of the Hudson Bar's terrace get to you, grab a beach chair (or a hammock!) on the breezy and beyond-serene fifteenth-floor deck.
The View: Glimpses of the Hudson River as well as Ninth Avenue stretching toward lower Manhattan.
The Menu: The $15 White Mint Lemonade comes with muddled lemons, white sugar and mint, vodka, and ginger ale.
The Hours: Daily (noon–10 p.m.), through October
17 W. 32nd St., nr. Fifth Ave., 14th fl.; 212-290-2460
This Koreatown rooftop boîte, hidden atop the La Quinta budget hotel, is the antidote to karaoke-room claustrophobia. Although throw pillows and beach chairs lend a beach-house vibe, the drink prices are decidedly left of Hamptons.
The View: The Empire State Building is all aglow directly overhead.
The Menu: Be swayed by the pomegranate martini, made with liqueur and cranberry juice. During happy hour, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., a $1 discount means $5–$8 wines.
The Hours: Daily (5:30 p.m.–midnight)
Roof Garden Cafe
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St.; 212-535-7710
So, if that Andy Goldsworthy sculpture could speak, what do you think it would say? We'll let you puzzle that out up on the romantic rooftop of the Met, where art, hot Italian tourists, frozen daiquiris, and colossal Central Park views converge into one juggernaut of a drinking experience. If you can't manage a pickup line in a place like this, well, you're hopeless.
The View: A fifth-floor garden surrounded by the park, its skyline, and sculpture installations that change every summer
The Menu: Sparkling wine and ham-and-Brie baguettes
The Hours: F–S (10 a.m.–8 p.m.), T–Th and Su (10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.), Mon (closed), open May–October
Salon de Ning
The Peninsula Hotel, 700 Fifth Ave., at 55th St.; 212-956-2888
The former Pen-Top Bar and Terrace is now Salon de Ning, a Henry Leung–designed, sino-inspired lounge featuring Venetian mirrors, Chinese screens, Moroccan lanterns, and daybeds. The name is a nod to the famed Shanghai socialite Madame Ning.
The View: Stunning vistas of Fifth Avenue and Central Park, as well as midtown architectural gems like the Citicorp Center.
The Menu: The Ning Sling, a cocktail featuring orange vodka, lychee, and passion-fruit juices, will run you a stiff $22.
The Hours: Daily (4 p.m.–midnight, weather permitting)