New York City
New York City

The rooftop repertoire

No matter your drinking style, there’s always a lofty lounge to match and a view to go with it in New York City

If you need an excuse to visit New York City, there can’t be a better one: on August 26, the most attended annual sporting event in the world will return to New York City at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the US Open Tennis Championships take over Queens. Stars like Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal will compete for the last grand slam championship of 2019 in front of more than 700,000 fans during two weeks of tennis that concludes on September 8.

What better way to enhance the tennis experience than sitting atop a romantic rooftop bar, gaze at the stunning NYC skyline and analyse the day’s game? Rooftop bars are a summer-in-NYC essential: the perfect places to take in glimpses of the City’s skyline—along with some actual drinks, of course. Perennial favourites like Gallow Green, 230 Fifth, Loopy Doopy and Birreria at Eataly faithfully deliver refreshing sips and sights, but in recent years a fresh batch of sky-high bars has arrived on the scene. No matter your drinking style, there’s a lofty lounge to match and a view to go with it.

Here are some gems:
Broken Shaker
Best for: A tropical vacation in the middle of Manhattan.
This bar on top of the Freehand New York hotel opened in 2018 to well-deserved fanfare, thanks in part to buzz from its successful sister location in Miami. Look for tiki drinks with names such as Island Time and Big Citrus as well as cocktails with outré ingredients including fermented bananas, blueberry jam and mole.

The Crown
Best for: Downtown-meets-Hamptons vibes with expansive views. 
Chinatown isn’t exactly known for its rooftop bars, but the Crown, on the 21st floor of the Hotel 50 Bowery, just may change that. The bar has spacious seating both indoors and out, so well dressed guests have plenty of room to enjoy cocktails, snacks, DJ sets and views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.

Elsie
Best for: Posh pre-theatre cocktail hour. 
This Theatre District bar makes its home in a 25th-floor penthouse. Elsie de Wolfe, a 1920s-era socialite and interior decorator, inspired the bar’s name, its art deco look and the drinks. Stop by before your next Broadway show for a cocktail like the aptly named 5th Avenue (gin, Creme de Mure, lemon, sugar)—the address of de Wolfe’s showroom and many homes she decorated—best enjoyed with pinkies up, of course.

Last Light 
Best for: Mellow happy hour and design inspiration.
Last Light is many things. Among them: a chill spot to listen to a DJ set; a place to hang out on a patio (as early as 3pm) with a drink called the Glow Stick; and a minimalist space that may inspire you to redecorate your apartment. The bar is located on the 11th floor of the Lower East Side’s Sister City hotel.

Lemon’s
Best for: Soaking up greenery and vitamin D with East River views.
Lemon’s, atop the Wythe Hotel, draws inspiration from the Italian tradition of aperitivo (a pre-dinner drink and snack). Take part by enjoying an after-work spritzer like the Second Holiday (bergamot, sweet vermouth, peach, lemon and tonic) on the plant-covered terrace while you contemplate a trip to the Italian countryside.

Magic Hour
Best for: Creative drinks in photogenic vessels.
Bring a big group to the Moxy Times Square’s rooftop to take advantage of this playful bar’s mini-golf course as well as its shareable cocktails—including one you can sip from a disco ball—with the Empire State Building as your backdrop. There are also alcohol-infused popsicles and margarita gummy bears you can keep all to yourself.

Ophelia
Best for: Old-school glamour and new-school cocktails.
Ophelia makes its home atop Midtown East’s historic Beekman Tower and retains some of the building’s original 1928 features while playing up the opulence with new velvet seating and soaring stained-glass windows. Sip a cocktail like the Purple Tuxedo (gin, aquavit, absinthe and plum bitters) on the wraparound terrace. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

R17
Best for: Outdoor waterfront breezes and indoor crackling fireplaces.
This new rooftop bar centres around its luxurious indoor space, which has two fireplaces and provides a setting for enjoying riverfront views no matter the weather. The bar’s expansive deck offers a 360-degree look at the City, making it a worthy spot for refreshments after exploring the surrounding Seaport District.

Rooftop Reds
Best for: Sipping rosé in a hammock.
You should note that this spot also stands out for its repurposed digs atop a Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse, its views of Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn and its standing as NYC’s only vineyard.

Summerly
Best for: Beachy vibes without the sand
Everything at the Hoxton Hotel’s Summerly encourages a summertime state of mind. The food alone—lobster rolls, corn fritters and crab cakes—should do the trick, but an airy colour palette, lounge chairs and Negroni spritzes will certainly seal the deal.
While attending the US Open Fan Week and US Open Tennis Championships events, get the maximum out of your visit by staying longer and exploring the diverse neighbourhood offerings in the vibrant and diverse borough of Queens. Additionally, several NYC & Company hotel members are offering special packages and incentives to encourage more overnight stays during this iconic big event. Go, grab it!!  
For all there is to do and see in New York City, visit www.nycgo.com
(The author is a documentary filmmaker and travel writer; she blogs at 
vijayaprataptravelandbeyond.com)

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