1 Penn Pl., Eighth Ave. at 33rd St.; 212-629-7070
Okay, so not much is exhilarating about the rooftop of a one-story building, but those looking to unwind before their train back to the 'burbs could do worse than snagging a seat at the smattering of tables or at the elevated patio bar atop this casual beer bar near Penn Station.
The View: Chat up the folks on the upper decks of the tour buses that constantly roll by.
Menu: Sliders, nachos, chicken tenders; you get the idea. Pomegranate martini, $13; beers, $8.
The Hours: M–S (11:30 a.m.–2 a.m.), Su (11:30 a.m.–midnight)
Hotel Le Bleu, 370 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn; 718-625-2177
Italian for "the roof," il Tetto isn't quite as breezy as most rooftop bars, but if the weather's wet it's your best bet. And the view is better than any in Manhattan.
The View: Large windows, a Manhattan-side deck, and plenty of skylights give a 270-degree views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The Menu: A full menu hails from the downstairs restaurant (of the same owners) and offers authentic Italian fare.
The Hours: M–Th (5 p.m.–2 a.m.) F–S (4 p.m.–3 a.m.), Su (11 a.m.–2 a.m.)
92 Ludlow St., nr. Delancey St.; 212-254-9100
A black-and-white-tiled Francophile park in the sky, Hotel Chantelle's rooftop restaurant furthers the theme of the bar below. Benches line the room and the roof is retractable (with a cigarette area if you really want to pretend you're French), a rarity on the Lower East Side.
The View: The Williamsburg Bridge and buildings of lower Manhattan, including newcomer the Blue building
The Menu: A new chef is still in the works, but they'll be serving French colonial fare for dinner and brunch.
The Hours: Still only open for private events, but that will change in upcoming weeks.
Eataly, 200 Fifth Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-229-2560
Like its multipurpose marketplace below, Mario Batali's Italian craft beer garden on the roof of Eataly is not just a bar, but a full, seated, 160-capacity restaurant with a rustic Italian menu and a brewery, complete with a copper-clad brewing system. Plus, thanks to a retractable roof, it'll be brewing and boozing year-round.
The View: The twinkling lights of midtown
The Menu: Look for house-brewed chestnut, peppercorn-wheat, and thyme-infused beers. Hearty victuals include blood sausage (one of four housemade sausages) and delicious fried shiitakes from the all-mushroom vegetarian section of the menu.
The Hours: M–F (11:30 a.m.–1 a.m.), S–Su (11:30 a.m.–2 a.m.)
The Sky Room
Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites–Times Square, 330 W. 40th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-380-1195
Ceiling LED lights mimic the view of midtown on the 33rd- and 34th-floor decks of the Times Square Marriott. Designers Stephen B. Jacobs and Andi Pepper (who’ve also worked with the Gansevoort, Library, and Giraffe hotels) split the massive bi-level outdoor area into five "terraces": One has a retractable glass roof, another features private cabanas.
The View: Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River
The Menu: Small plates of modern American cuisine
The Hours: M–W (4 p.m.–2 a.m.), Th–Su (4 p.m.–4 a.m.)
Opening August 21, 2010
35 E. 13th St., at University Pl.; 212-979-6677
NYU students who couldn't make it to Florida for spring break (and downtowners too lazy to travel for a rooftop) seek solace at this campus clubhouse. Amid the palms and illuminated panels, revelers can pretend they're in South Beachand of legal drinking age.
The View: Opaque screens surrounding the deck mean the only place to look is up.
The Menu: Well drinks are $7, while the 13-ini, the bar's signature Absolut Mandarin–based beverage, costs $10.
The Hours: Daily (5 p.m.–2 a.m.)
The Penthouse at the Park
118 Tenth Ave., nr. 17th St.; 212-352-3313
Time has passed since scads of A-list celebs and Vice-toting debs flocked to these kooky environs, but the multi-area greenhouse-cum-funhouse still makes for a transporting experience, especially Fridays and Saturdays after midnight, when the penthouse hot tubs are open to the public.
The View: Eye candy compensates for a lackluster third-floor-level take on West Chelsea.
The Menu: Beers are $8, fruit cocktails range between $11 and $13, sangria is $8.
The Hours: F–S (midnight–4 a.m.), Su–Th (closed)
Thompson LES, 190 Allen St., nr. Houston St.; 212-542-8689
This seventh-floor members-only bar in the Thompson LES hotel is arguably not worth the hassle during the colder months. But when that retractable top comes down, it's a veritable rooftop oasis.
The View: LES, baby.
The Menu: Small plates and cocktails come courtesy of Shang, downstairs.
The Hours: W–S (6 p.m.–10 p.m.), Su–T (closed)
610 W. 56th St., nr. Eleventh Ave.; 212-260-4700
The spacious midtown concert staple has added an equally spacious rooftop with lots of booths and its own bar. For better or worse, it kind of looks like an airplane hangar (check it out here).
The View: Mostly buildings and sky—the space's walls are too high to peek over.
The Menu: A fully stocked bar, including beers on tap, as well as an Empanada Mama cart (alas, located inside)
The Hours: Vary, depending on that night's show
The Heights Bar & Grill
2867 Broadway, nr. 111th St..; 212-866-7035
Students and locals flock to this second-story Morningside Heights bar that has a semi-retractable roof and AC for when it gets humid. You'll pay $6 for a margarita, but dude, you'll be so wasted you won't even care.
The View: The only thing that will make you feel high up are your beer goggles.
The Menu: Frozen margaritas ($4 during happy hour, 4 p.m.–7 p.m.; $6–$7 thereafter) and stuffed-to-bursting burritos ($8.95– $13.95)
The Hours: S–F (4 p.m.–11:30 p.m.), S (11:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m.)
The Terrace at Sutton Place Bar and Restaurant
1015 Second Ave., nr. 53rd St.; 212-207-3777
The good news first: Sutton Place has a huge rooftop patio with lots of tables and a long, snaking bar worthy of Club Med. The bad news: It's a tad bland in that east-side sports-guy kind of way. Apparently some people just feel more comfortable in khakis.
The View: A third-floor terrace overlooking Second Avenue
The Menu: $9–$12 cocktails and generic pub grub
The Hours: Daily (noon–1 a.m.)
Broadway Bar and Sky Deck
226 W. 52nd St., nr. Broadway; 646-459-5818
There's nothing remotely glamorous about the bar on the Novotel's tenth floor (the loungers on the narrow terrace appear to be terra cotta, but they're actually plastic), but if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive patch of sky, this is the place.
The View: To the south, a straight shot down the Great White Way
The Menu: Beers are $6.50, mixed drinks $14, and martinis $9. The eats are basic: wings, quesadillas, and the like.
The Hours: Daily (noon–midnight)