Hudson Hotel; 356 W. 58th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-554-6000
Mexico beckons at this taqueria and watering hole at the Hudson Hotel’s outdoor terrace, which specializes in its namesake spirit with more than 40 varieties. Sip a smoky apple or strawberry-mint margarita while snacking on "Common" and "Uncommon" bites like the Sriracha cheese steak taco, chipotle lime chicken, or kimchee shrimp nachos, all served with a signature trio of salsas including habanero cherry. There's even an "adult" horchata, if you're so inclined. All that's missing is the beach.
Pier 15; 78 South St., at Albany St.; 212-742-8200
Pull up a picnic table or a cherry-red stool and stay a while, as dramatic Brooklyn Bridge and East River views are the draw at this casual indoor-outdoor 3,500-square-foot space on Pier 15. Sample summertime essentials like burgers, lobster rolls, and hot dogs while washing them down with craft beers, frozen margaritas, sangrias, and cocktails like the Bourbon Palmer (think Arnold Palmer), with bourbon, peach mint tea, honey, and lemon.
Pod 39 Lounge
145 E. 39th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-865-5800
The seventeenth-floor rooftop of the Pod 39 Hotel soft-opened last year, but this season they’ve expanded their menu of artisanal cocktails—try the vermouth, Campari, and cinnamon-vanilla Red Right Hand, or go for a baby watermelon filled with watermelon purée and your choice of voda, gin, tequila, or rum—and brought-in dishes from Ken Friedman and April Bloomfeld’s Salvation Taco downstairs. With terra cotta columns and brick arches, the two-story space has a transporting feel, but you’ll just need to check out the spectacular views of lower Manhattan to remember just where you are.
Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
Thompson LES; 190 Allen St., nr. Houston St.; 212-460-5300
The South meets the Lower East Side on the second floor of the Thompson LES hotel's outdoor terrace, serving up plates of barbeque and slaw, smoked and boiled nuts, and casual games of Ping-Pong. Paper lanterns give the air a festive vibe, but the beer list of bottles and cans takes itself seriously, covering cult favorites like the Hitachino White Ale from Japan and small-batch Sorachi Ace from Brooklyn Brewery. Wine is also available by the glass or carafe, and prosecco by the bottle, should you want to make things bubbly.
The Strand Smokehouse
25-27 Broadway, nr. 29th St., Astoria; 718-440-3231
If barbecue is what you’re after, you can't go wrong with the Strand Smokehouse, giving the established beer gardens of Astoria a run for their money with a spacious backyard and rows of picnic tables out front where you can tempt passers-by with your beef ribs and burnt ends. On tap are craft beers and barrel-aged spirits (done right in the bar).
19-33 37th St., nr. Twentieth Ave., Astoria; 718-606-0788
The suds are hopping at this 5,000-square-foot microbrewery, complete with a 25-seat, mahogany-walled tasting room and outdoor area from owner Rich Buceta (formerly of Greenpoint Beer Works). Catch some rays while sipping on specialty brews including the hops-heavy-and-proud-of-it Half Stack IPA and the Hank lager with juniper berries, made especially as the house brew for nearby Strand Smokehouse. Coming soon will be live music performances.
Monarch Rooftop Lounge
71 West 35th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
Nightlife revelers will flock to midtown for this latest venture from the team behind Ava Rooftop Lounge, which boasts eighteenth-floor views and 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, right around the corner from Herald Square. Drinks showcase the potent small-batch Brooklyn Gin and house-infused cinnamon bourbon. Look for it all to go down in June.
Opening June 26