The Press Lounge1/19
Located above Kimpton Ink48 Hotel, The Press Lounge is a rooftop bar in Hell’s Kitchen boasting retractable glass sidings, water features and 360-degree views of Manhattan and the Hudson. Spaces range from covered outdoor lounges to open-air terraces and an intimate alfresco dining area where you’ll find a well-heeled crowd enjoying an ever-changing menu of cocktails starring locally and regionally sourced seasonal ingredients and small bites, including house-made hummus and pretzels with honey mustard.
St. Cloud Rooftop at the Knickerbocker Hotel2/19
Atop the 1906 Beaux Arts wonder of The Knickerbocker Hotel is an oasis of beautiful calm above the madness of Times Square. Most New Yorkers wouldn’t be caught dead in Times Square but those in the know are happy to frequent the St. Cloud Rooftop above it with its three exclusive Sky Pods. For the rest of us, there’s always The Velvet Rope: Aviation Gin with Grey Goose, Lillet Blanc and Aperol.
Le Bain at The Standard, High Line3/19
Deep within the Meatpacking District is a bar – billed as a “penthouse discothèque” – that sits like a halo atop The Standard hotel. Le Bain’s glow comes from the beautiful people – fashion editors, models, start-up moguls – who revel in its infamous hot tub, while bouncers arbitrarily turn people away at the door. By day, the Astroturf-carpeted space is scattered with deck chairs, the perfect perch for viewing the Hudson River. By night, get ready to dance.
Brunch, rooftop cocktails and everything in between await you in New York City. Start planning your escape now at qantas.com
Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel4/19
This Chelsea hang doesn’t boast the arresting city views of some of New York City’s other rooftop bars, but what it lacks in panorama it makes up for in abundant greenery, twinkling fairy lights and a sense of excitement about where the night will take you. That could be due to the McKittrick Hotel’s signature production, Sleep No More, which has been running here since 2011. Audiences roam the rooms of a noir-ish, 1930s “hotel” – actually a series of warehouses in Chelsea – witnessing the performance, based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s intense, inspiring – and you’ll need a drink afterwards.
Open year-round (in the New York winter freeze, cosy igloos are installed), 230 Fifth has truly marvellous 360-degree views of the city from its 20th-floor position and was the “largest rooftop bar in NYC” until Moxy stole its crown in 2017. It’s fair to assume large numbers of its tourist clientele happen upon it from the Empire State Building, from the viewing deck of which its web of marquee and twinkle lights can be seen. It’s open from brunch time until late with a drinks menu that includes a refreshing frosé – what more could you need on a sultry Manhattan day?
Bookmarks Lounge at The Library Hotel6/19
Located just a short walk from the magnificent New York Public Library is this haven for the bookish. Bookmarks crowns the Library Hotel (where each room is named after one of the Dewey Decimal System categories) and offers a cosy fireplace in winter and deckchairs on the terrace for the summertime. Bring along a novel or the latest issue of The New Yorker and there’s really no need for company – though discussing the works of Don DeLillo over a Dante’s Inferno (mezcal, blood orange liqueur, Aperol) as the sun slowly sinks is quite a lovely way to farewell the day.
You’ll need something to read on the subway, in diners, and parks. Don’t forget a novel for the plane, too – book flights to New York City now at qantas.com
Westlight at The William Vale7/19
For the best views of Manhattan, head to Brooklyn. This 22nd-floor bar even has telescopes for close-up city spying. Located in hipster ground zero Williamsburg, Westlight opened in 2016 to queues and, thanks to its 360-degree views over Brooklyn, Queens and out to Manhattan, you can expect more of the same every rooftop season. The bar offers inventive, original cocktails — the Snap Happy mixes Haku Vodka, Batavia Arrack, Snap Pea and shiso – as well as delicious snacks such as spiced chicken empanadas and tuna tartare puffs with whipped ponzu don’t hurt, either.
The Cantor Roof Garden Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art8/19
Spend the day (spend a year and you still won’t have seen everything) exploring the Met before ascending to the fifth-floor garden terrace of the Upper East Side temple to culture for a very civilised tipple. Contemplate the museum’s art while taking in spectacular views of magnificent Central Park and enjoying fruity cocktails or a poptail.
Jane Rooftop Bar Terrace9/19
Its location way to the west of the West Village means the rooftop lounge bar at The Jane Hotel takes in incredible views of the Hudson River and distant New Jersey. The nautical-themed hotel, built in 1908 to cater to sailors (and, once, in 1921, Titanic survivors) has a striking octagonal interior bar – formerly drag queen/actor RuPaul’s apartment – while outside, it’s all red cane sofas, the river and the sunset.
New York City is packed with highlights. Book flights now at qantas.com
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, Moxy NYC Times Square10/19
A vast expanse of rooftop splendour sits atop the Moxy Hotel in Times Square. Measuring 929 square metres, Magic Hour is an “urban amusement park” complete with mini golf, topiary garden and special events such as vintage fashion pop ups, trivia and painting classes. You'll also be treated to Empire State Building skyline views no matter the season: the bar is "winterised" to keep guests warm in the colder months.
On the 17th floor of the kitschy Pod 39 Hotel is an unexpectedly understated rooftop bar with original brick arches, terracotta tiles and creeping ivy. Located in midtown at 39th Street and Lexington, the two-storey space’s view encompasses 1 World Trade Center to the south, the Empire State Building to the west, the East River and the Chrysler Building to the north. The menu is varied and fun, from blistered shishito peppers with sweet Dijon dipping sauce to chocolate chip cookies.
Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar at the Conrad Hotel12/19
The go-to here is the extremely summery and rather fun Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktails: chilled prosecco with a People’s Pop (a Brooklyn-made, fruit-filled ice block) plonked in for good measure. Entry is through the grand Conrad New York’s atrium lobby with its soaring 15-storey art installation by Sol LeWitt.
Some of the world’s best hotels are in New York City – along with their exceptional bars. Book a room, then a flight at qantas.com
Roof at Park South13/19
Roof at Park South ticks all the boxes, which is probably what makes it a local favourite. Take in the Chrysler and Empire State buildings while sitting fireside or by the fountain, and choose from an impressive selection of modern cocktails such as the Spicy Paloma, a layered Casamigos tequila number with agave and grapefruit soda and piña colada combo. The food menu consists of bar snacks taken up a notch: octopus skewers with smoked paprika aioli, brisket sliders with maple BBQ sauce and eggplant fries with marinara sauce.
Kimoto Rooftop Garden Lounge14/19
If you’re after a rooftop venue that’s always a party, we suggest heading over to Kimoto in Brooklyn. Perched atop aloft and Sheraton Brooklyn, the intimate open-air space has views to Manhattan, a dance floor and live DJ, and enough Asian-inspired bar food to make a meal out of. Think Kobe beef burgers, Sriracha buffalo wings and sushi rolls that bring together some interesting flavour combinations (case in point: the Brooklyn Sushi Roll with shrimp tempura, kani salad and yuzu mayo). This is dished up with a decent selection of craft beers and a fruit-heavy list of signature cocktails including the Dragon’s Blood (Grey Goose, fresh ginger beer, lime and muddled dragon fruit).
Crowning the Hotel Indigo on the island’s Lower East Side, Mr. Purple is the stuff of New York City rooftop dreams: there’s a pool, a couple of sleek sun loungers and a cocktail menu crafted to match any Manhattan mood. Order the GG Manhattan, mixed with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Carpano Antica Vermouth and Angostura Bitters and enjoy the vantage over the eastern edge of the city.
Rooftop bars are among the best places for a bird’s-eye view of New York City. Book your flights now at qantas.com
Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Hotel16/19
For an elegant bar with fabulous views down to the retail paradise that is Fifth Avenue, look no further than Salon de Ning on the 23rd floor of The Peninsula Hotel. Eponymous signature cocktails include the Ning Sling, with Hendrick’s Gin, mint, lychee and passionfruit puree and, while the drinks are admittedly pricey, their value is in the fact they’re accompanied by that view over Midtown (and beyond).
Serra by Birreria at Eataly17/19
New York City’s iteration of Eataly has it all: pizza bar, Italian groceries, gelati counter, wine store and charming rooftop bar, all in the middle of Chelsea. Serra means ‘greenhouse’ in Italian, and the countryside – especially Southern Italy – is the inspiration for Serra’s menu. There are cocktails garnished with fresh mint plus coastal fare such as crudo Hamachi.
Laser Wolf at The Hoxton18/19
Impressive rooftop bars do exist outside Manhattan. Case in point: Williamsburg’s Laser Wolf atop boutique hotel The Hoxton is a taste of the suburbs with a view of the city. Despite the view, you might even struggle to believe you’re in New York City, especially after a look at the menu – the coal-fired Israeli cuisine tastes like it’s from further away than Williamsburg.