The Bar at Grace Hotel
125 W. 45th St.; 212-354-2323
The easiest nut to crack, Grace Hotel’s (formerly Hotel QT) open-to-all (albeit with a $10 fee for non-guests) first-floor bar comes equipped with a modestly sized pool usually full of no-holds-barred frolickers. The bar itself is located behind the action, but you can also grab a view from the bleachers directly adjoining the pool.
The Pool Deck
44 W. 63rd St., nr. Broadway; 212-265-7400
The Empire Hotel’s elegant, 150-person rooftop pool bar boasts five cabanas equipped with flat-screens, mini-fridges, iPod docking stations, ceiling fans, and daybeds. All you need is a room key! Do you perhaps have a wealthy uncle coming to town?
18 Ninth Ave., at 13th St.; 877-426-7386
Gansevoort Hotel’s own rooftop pool is guests-only as well, but the bar itself is open to all. Bring your suit just in case — after a few cocktails, a running cannonball past an inattentive lifeguard might not seem like such a bad idea.
Wall Street Bath and Spa 88
88 Fulton St., nr. Gold St.; 212-766-8600
A full restaurant, a café toting beers, and a cigar lounge — plus the requisite indoor pool, cold plunge pool, steam room, and two types of sauna — provide plenty of opportunities to imbibe in a bathrobe, if not actually poolside.
Coney Island Banya
602 Coney Island Ave., nr. Avenue C, Brooklyn; 718-853-2525
Recently reopened after a year off for renovations, Coney Island Banya has got the goods: a pool, both wet and dry saunas, a Turkish bath, a Jacuzzi, as well as masseuses, mud and salt treatments, a Middle Eastern–Russian restaurant, a juice bar, and a booze bar. The Banya also hosts semi-regular parties: By the looks of things, we should all be attending.
Body by Brooklyn
275 Park Ave., at Washington Ave., Brooklyn; 718-923-9400
A unique, huge (10,000-square-foot space), decadent mix of spa, bathhouse, and restaurant and bar. There’s no drink service in the pool area, but feel free to cart your own beverages wherever you want.
29 Ninth Ave., nr. 13th St.; 212-627-9800
Yes, Soho House is members-only, but don’t despair: Access to the bar, the restaurant, the game room, and the rooftop pool can be yours with a reservation, which runs from around half a G to a G. Okay, maybe despair a little bit.