Pier 66, at W. 26th St. and West Side Highway; 212-989-6363
This historic lightship, docked on a railroad-car barge, boasts a musty, barnacle-encrusted interior (complete with catwalks and an exposed engine room) straight out of a Nine Inch Nails video. On the pier, a tiki bar serves up booze and burgers, and a sixteen-foot observation plank offers a fantastic view of activities on the Hudson.
Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn
4254 Arthur Kill Rd., nr. Sharrots Rd., Staten Island; 718-984-1202
This beer garden rocks for its international oompah bands like the Blue Meanies—as well as its open-air courtyard with a gazebo bar and fir trees. Once a month in the summer, a whole lucky pig goes on the outdoor smoker and everybody feasts on crunchy-skinned pork.
35-33 36th St., Long Island City; 718-383-1001
An 18,000-square-foot beer garden with a menu of bratwurst, burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, and beef and chicken kebabs and a décor of picnic tables, iron fire pits, a cobblestone courtyard dotted by birch trees, and a covered patio. Fancy wooden taps dispense over two dozen beers and house-made sangria.
Water Taxi Beach at Governors Island
One of two new WTB locations (the other is at South Street Seaport), this features beach volleyball, a café, an outdoor grill, a live-music stage, basketball courts, and some pretty incredible views of the Statue of Liberty.
The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café
79th St., at Henry Hudson Pkwy.; 212-496-5542
This is the Upper West Side's unofficial summer HQ, full of grill smoke, dogs on leashes, and babies in carriages. The draw is the views—especially of the sun sinking behind the Palisades every clear night.