Rooftop Dining In NYC

By Patricia Canole

With warm weather upon us, seasoned New Yorkers look forward to days of al fresco dining. For the last several years, we have taken our appetites up a notch to rooftops scattered across the city. From trendy hot hotel perches to low-key people-watching hideaways, let’s take a tour to the best bars and dining enclaves that are as unique in the atmosphere as their location. Breathtaking views are only some of the perks you’ll find while you’re on top of the world.

Perched on top of the luxury boutique Sanctuary Hotel is the new addition to the Times Square district. With hanging greenery and basket lights, the outdoor rooftop terrace makes for an intimate and charming setting. Here diners enjoy a creative spin on traditional sushi from Executive Chef Frankie Chen’s small plates, along with creative Sashimi and Maki sushi. Of course, the star of the show is their Omakase experience, utilizing only the freshest ingredients. Along with the excellent menu is a selection of sake, Japanese whiskey, beer, creative cocktails, and wine. Info: sushilab.nyc

With a prime location, steps from Madison Square Garden in Midtown, VERSA NYC provides an 8,000-square-foot open-air rooftop dining experience. This trendy venue offers to seat both indoors and out on the rooftop terrace. A retractable roof is available for open and airy summer days. Although it is just five floors up at Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, the restaurant delivers an excellent menu and knock-your-socks-off views of the Midtown skyline and Empire State Building. Choose between pasta, salads, flatbreads, burgers, and sliders. Info: versanyc.com

Is one of the top restaurants and bars in New York City, located on the roof of Stage 48. It is a modern Mexican dining experience that offers music, nightlife, happy hour, brunch, and delicious food and cocktails—perfect for friendly gatherings with friends. With a climate-controlled retractable glass rooftop, the spacious Cantina is an excellent venue for all weather conditions. Under the helm of Chef Saul Montiel, the restaurant offers delicious items such as Mejillones, steamed mussels with chorizo, and Tres Leches French Toast. Don’t forget the Giant Ass Taco, which is available by special order to share with six of your closest friends. Apart from colorful food, the rooftop bar serves a comprehensive and fun selection of signature cocktails, including the Don Diego Santa Skull Margarita. On weekends, don’t miss one of the best rooftop brunch menus available in NYC. Info: cantinarooftop.com

Located at Hotel Indigo, this chic loft style is evident by its use of wood, concrete, metal pipes, and glass globe lights. The skyline is the art. The wide bar, tables, and contemporary banquettes in the spacious room offer a view of the East Village. Doors lead to a narrow terrace where purple tables and chairs suit intimate gatherings. Lounge chairs, a bar, and an outdoor pool adorn the west side of the building. The extensive bar menu suits all tastes. Hummus, salads, burgers, and flatbreads are featured. Try the specialties that include Crispy Fried Calamari and Tuna Tartare with radish and harissa, served with wonton chips—all spectacular. Info: mrpurplenyc.com

Colorfully painted walls with images of Cuban entertainers and the gigantic water tower that stands at the bar greet guests as they enter this popular Soho hotspot. Nestled on top of the Hotel Hugo, the rooftop lounge features a breathtaking 360-degree view of New York’s Lower Manhattan as well as the icon Empire State Building and Midtown. Cool off with Mojitos or Moonshine Negronis. Bocaditos (tiny sandwiches) are the popular favorites as are Guacamole & Chips, homemade Soft-Shell Tortillas and the lounges own Pico De Gallo & Chips (salsa and fresh ingredients). Info: azulrooftop.com

A gorgeous 360-degree view of New York as far as the eye can see mesmerizes most who call on this inviting garden space. Plenty of trees and plants add ambiance and privacy for private events, and an entire section can be closed off by a glass-paneled garage door during winter. 

Signature cocktails include favorites like So Berry Cool which combines bourbon, watermelon, blackberry basil syrup, citrus, and rooibos tea. There is a good selection of wines by the glass and beers. Assorted plated, farmstead cheeses, hummus, olives, and nuts make up the small bite menu. Info: thepresslounge.com

For a unique Midtown experience, nothing quite fills the bill than Haven high atop the Sanctuary Hotel. Enter the hotel’s plush lobby, and you’ll be ushered up to a setting that will take your breath away including its stunning covered rooftop. The terrace is light, airy, nicely decorated and set over three levels. But rest assured the menu is just as spectacular. Haven offers everything from Sliders to Filet Mignon. Pair with a cocktail or glass of wine and you have found dining paradise! Don’t miss the spectacular Weekend Bottomless Brunch. Info: havenrooftop.com