One of the greatest perks of New York City living is the plethora of towering rooftop bars in from which to soak up sweeping views alongside boozy sips. While the sunshine and rooftop pools only appear during warmer months, there’s no shortage of elevated digs for wintertime boozing and more of the best things to do in winter. From a secret log cabin to a no-frills rock club, here are the best NYC rooftop bars open during the winter.
In the holiday spirit, 230 Fifth has once again created a wintertime oasis on their rooftop with the help of several igloo-shaped tents. The tents will stay up until May and do fill up on a first come, first serve basis so if you want to check them out be sure to get there early!
There will also be 17 igloos upon opening today (in comparison to the 14 they opened with last year), with plans for more to be added to the space as the season progresses. As has been standard in the past, each igloo can accommodate 12-14 guests which means you’ll likely be cozying up to a few new friends.
The Rooftop Igloo Bar will serve hot drinks like Boozy Hot Chocolate, Irish Coffee and several other options including virgin drinks as well. The igloo will protect you from the frigid air, the cocktails will warm you up internally, and the views of the city skyline will be stunning. What’s there not to love about this?
Most rooftop bars rely on their expansive vistas to woo the crowds, noting the sky-high vantage as the main attraction. For Magic Hour, the spot from TAO Group that crowns the Moxy Times Square hotel, its view of midtown and the Empire State Building is just a footnote.
The team plays up the idea of an “urban amusement park” in its palatial 10,000-square-foot space, with rotating carousel seating, a topiary garden and Foreplay, a putt-putt course filled with animal statues. In addition to its playfully named cocktails, like All Spice No Drama (Bombay Sapphire, strawberry shrub, allspice dram, rosemary), the bar also serves small plates like duck carnitas tacos.
The Lodge at Gallow Green
The verdant, vintage train station-inspired rooftop bar at the McKittrick Hotel affords a regal view of gleaming West Side buildings and the cloud-streaked horizon. The place is helplessly romantic, capturing the looseness and frivolity of a well-oiled summer wedding, but in a way that never feels saccharine. The floor of pebbles and slate, trellises woven with flowers and weathered wooden tables recall a lush upstate country garden left adorably to seed. Make a reservation for one of the sky-high alfresco brunches, live music performances, or wildly popular interactive theater performances from Sleep No More.
The William Vale Hotel came out of the gate hot with culinary clout: The team behind the Williamsburg hotel’s food-and-drink programs—including Airstream burger joint Mister Dips and the soon-to-open Southern Italian dining room Leuca—is none other than NoHo Hospitality heavy hitters Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom (Lafayette, the Dutch, Locanda Verde). But a venture across the river wasn’t the only first for the trio—at the hotel, they also debuted their first-ever rooftop bar, Westlight, a stylish glass box capping the neighborhood’s tallest skyscraper.
Take the dedicated elevator 22 stories up to the industrial yet swank space—set with black-and-white tiled floors, bright globe lights and a beamed ceiling—to experience a hotel rooftop bar that has all the goods to be a standalone New York cocktail den.
Westlight is located sixteen stories higher than the nearby rooftop bar Ides at the Wythe Hotel and offers sweeping views of three boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan). A wraparound terrace—encased with a plexiglass railing and dotted with bright-yellow viewfinders for sky-high people-watching—is fixed with lounge chairs for warmer weather, but when the chill sets in, the best seats in the house are the low-slung leather couches and velvet banquettes set directly in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Sit back and enjoy the show below.
In the heart of the Garment District, Refinery Rooftop is a favorite for both its scale (3,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor bar and lounge spaces) and knockout views of the Midtown skyline and Empire State Building. Under a cafe-light-strung glass roof, guests feast on hearty lunch dishes from chef Jeff Haskell by day, while light bites and handcrafted cocktails sustain the crowds until 1 a.m. If you’re there with a group, order the caddy (4 servings of your favorite tipple), or go for the specialist concoctions from the hotel’s expert mixologists. We recommend you snag a spot near the DJ booth and roaring fire for the coziest winter hang.