There are practically an endless number of bars in the City that Never Sleeps. Simply take a short stroll through New York City and you're sure to walk by quite a few different options. However, we all know that all bars are not created equal. Plus, when you're in beautiful New York City, why not visit a bar that will offer impressive views of the city or some of its most treasured landmarks.
Whether you're a native New Yorker or planning your first trip to the city, the list below will help you choose the right bar for a fun night out where you can also enjoy some breathtaking views.
1. The Sky Room
Few places in the city will reward you with a view as magnificent as what you'll enjoy when you visit the Sky Room. The Sky Room is located on the 33rd and 34th floors of the Times Square Fairfield Inn & Suites by Sheraton. It offers spectacular 360-degree views of the Hudson River and Manhattan.
There are five different spaces in The Sky Room, each with their own unique offerings. These five spaces include the North Terrace, the South Terrace, the Times Square Lounge, the Cube Balcony, and the Candlelight Lounge. From the private cabanas in the South Terrace to the panoramic glass walls and retractable glass roof in the North Terrace to the intimacy offered int the Candlelight Lounge, The Sky Room has pretty much everything you'd look for in a bar for just about any occasion.
The view isn't the only amazing thing about this bar, either. The Sky Room offers daily Happy Hour food and drink specials, including $8 margaritas on Fridays until 10 PM. They have a full bar stocked with premium vodkas, rums, tequilas, whiskeys, and more.
The Sky Room also offers a pretty extensive selection of cocktails. A few of their signature drinks include:
As you drink, enjoy one of the small plates, pizzas, cheese boards, or charcuterie boards offered by the Sky Bar. You can also choose something sweet, such as strawberry shortcake or blueberry oatmeal crumble, from their dessert menu. They also offer tasty dessert drinks including Avion Espresso and Grand Marnier.
2. The Press Lounge
The Press Lounge is another bar that will not disappoint when it comes to the views you'll enjoy. The bar is located on the rooftop of the Ink48 Hotel on 11th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. Visiting in the evening will afford you some of the best views of the city's impressive skyscrapers all lit up.
The Press Lounge's drink menu is pretty impressive. They offer both bottles and glasses of red and white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. You can also choose from three different champagne offerings, including Prosecco and Cava Rose Castellroig, by the glass.
On tap beers as well as a selection of bottles and cans are also available. Some of the on-tap offerings include Pilsner and IPA. Bells, Madonna, Stella Artois, and Pacifico are some of the bottles and cans that you can choose from.
If you're in the mood for a mixed drink, you'll definitely want to check out the cocktail menu. It includes some interesting concoctions including the two featured cocktails, Think Pink and Emilio. Think Pink is made with Absolute Citron, lime, Combier, plum syrup, and pomegranate and Emilio is crafted using jalapeño infused tequila, lime, fig leaf syrup and Combier Orange.
The Press Lounge also offers some small plates if you want to share a bite with the members of your group. Some of the selections you can choose from include steak tartare, marinated olives, roasted corn nuts, farmstead cheese & charcuterie, and vesuvio cheesecake.
3. Gallow Green (Chelsea – Manhattan's West Side)
Gallow Green is located in the McKittrick Hotel, which is purported to have been a competitor to the world-famous Waldorf Astoria and Plaza hotels, but that closed in 1939. The reality is less glamorous, but does show the creative side of the venue's owners.
The McKittrick unfortunately never got a chance to be the glamorous hotel it had the potential to be; it was shuttered just two days after the start of World War II. However, now the space has been given life again. Through a collaboration between EMURSIVE and PUNCHDRUNK, the former hotel now hosts SLEEP NO MORE.
Audience members visiting this bar are able to move through this unique film noir experience as they enjoy some entertainment during their night out. In addition to enjoying the film noir, Gallow Green also hosts a variety of other musical guests and comedians. You can even book a private event at the bar for a truly memorable experience.
The bar menu features red, white, and rosé wines, five beer offerings and three champagne selections. There are also six specialty cocktails including The Old McKittrick, named after the original hotel. This drink is made with Chichicapa Mezcal, Cachaca, OFTD Rum, PX & Fino Sherry, and Mole Bitters.
4. Top of the Strand (Midtown Manhattan)
Premier Traveler Magazine rated Top of the Strand as one of the best rooftop bars in the world. Located in midtown Manhattan, this bar resides in the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse hotel on the 21st floor.
Lydia Marks designed and decorated the interior of the Top of the Strand to create a totally unique and visually stunning experience. Lydia is perhaps best known as the set decorator for the Sex in the City television series and movies. Amazingly, she was able to create a cozy and intimate oasis only four blocks from the hustle and bustle of the Empire State Building.
The retractable glass roof and the extensive greenery help give the bar the feel of a Florida sunroom during the warmer spring and summer months. If you need to quench your thirst while enjoying the refined ambiance, then look no further than Top of the Strand's vast beverage list.
The bar menu includes seasonal cocktails, beers and a comprehensive collection of wines. These wines include red, rosé, white and sparkling varieties.
Perhaps the most famous drinks on the menu are the Sous Vide, or under vacuum, cocktails. The bartenders use a unique French cooking approach that is referred to as low temperature long time to masterfully infuse flavors into the cocktails.
This method delivers precise and consistent flavors without bitterness or the need to taste test the cocktail after preparation. One example from the Sous Vide list is the Gin-Gin Royale, which includes Oxley London Dry Gin that has been expertly infused with mint and lemon flavors. The cocktail is finished with Brut champagne to add a bubbly, refined flavor.
5. Harriet's Rooftop & Lounge (Brooklyn)
Harriet's Rooftop & Lounge is in 1 Hotel's Brooklyn Bridge location. The Lounge occupies the hotel's 10th floor and rooftop. This bar has panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan.
It is also possible to see Ellis Island from the comfort of the rooftop terrace. Imagine being able to think about how many people came to this country, perhaps even some of your relatives, through that island. Much like them, you can soak in the grandeur and majesty of the Statue of Liberty while enjoying sustainably sourced food and exotic cocktails.
Conde Nast Traveler named Harriet's to its 2021 Gold List of the best restaurants in the world. Beyond the spectacular views, this venue also offers Asian inspired dishes such as Lobster Bao, noodle salad, Szechuan Chicken Karaage, Sashimi and other exotic tastes.
The craft cocktails are equally unique and take their inspiration from the Asian-fusion menu. Carroll Gardens is a whiskey-based cocktail that includes Suntory Toki whiskey with hints of chamomile, Japanese Yuzu bitters and honey.
Another popular drink includes the Sesame Sour, which includes Absolut's ELYX vodka infused with Sesame flavors, curacao, aquafaba, and calamansi. The lounge also has an extensive collection of scotches, cognacs, brandies, and other liquors by the bottle.
6. Vetro Restaurant & Lounge (Jamaica Bay, the Bronx)
Vetro Restaurant & Lounge, formerly known as Russo's on the Bay, first opened in 1987. This restaurant has fantastic views of Jamaica Bay and even has its own dock and marina. The Russo family has over 50 years of experience in providing fine cuisine along with excellent ambiance.
While you can also drive there, if you own a boat, then you can sail right into the bay and grab some fine Italian cuisine along with an extensive collection of wines. The restaurant's Wine Cellar boasts more than 415 bottles of wine from around the globe.
Vetro's menu includes Italian staples like Antipasti and Russo's signature risotto bites. Calamari fritti and lemon fried shrimp harken to the restaurant's waterfront locale.
When it's time for an entrée, shrimp ripieni with lobster, spinach and bechamel sauce is a popular choice. Pair the seafood with a nice Chardonnay from Sonoma, CA to complete the experience.
What trip to an Italian restaurant could be complete without some fresh prosciutto? The restaurant's veal Sorrentino includes a medley of prosciutto, eggplant and mozzarella topped off with a marsala demi-glaze. Imagine having a glass of fine Italian Pinot Noir or other red wine to go with your meat.
When it's time to unwind after your meal or after work, head over to Vetro's Blue Lounge for some live music and signature cocktails. This lounge has live music from 8 to 11 pm on Fridays.
Signature cocktails include:
The Blue Lounge also has an extensive list of cognacs, notable scotches, bourbons, whiskeys, port wines and cordials. What Italian dinner would be complete without a cold shot of Limoncello or Orangecello?
How to Choose the Best Bar
Before heading out to just any bar, there are a few key considerations you should make. Taking just a few moments to compare some of your top choices will help you make a good decision to enjoy a fun night out! Plus, the good news is that if there is more than one bar you'd like to visit, you can always plan another night out in the near future.
One thing you may want to think about is where each bar is located and how long it will take you to get there and return back home or to your hotel. If you pick a bar that is too far away, or one on a route that will be backed up with a lot of traffic, it could cut down on the amount of time you'll be able to hang out at the bar.
Accessible by Public Transportation
New York has a lot of public transportation options, so it is likely that a bar on your list will be accessible by public transportation. If you are planning to drink and would like to take the subway instead of driving or paying higher prices for a cab or ride-share, this may be important to you. If you'll be driving/driven by a designated driver or calling an Uber or a cab, it probably won't matter to you if the bar can be accessed via public transportation.
It's pretty disappointing when you have a fun evening planned and the bar's menu is lacking. If there is a particular beer, wine, or mixed drink that you're interested in, check the menu before selecting a bar. Also consider the drink preferences of the group or individual you'll be going with. For example, you may primarily be a beer drinker, but someone else in your group may be more interested in a bar with an extensive mixed drink menu.
Atmosphere is so important. Finding a bar that you feel comfortable in and where you can relax and have a good time is important. If you're going out for drinks with a date, you may be more interested in finding a bar with a more intimate atmosphere. Whereas, if you're going out with a group of friends to catch a game or unwind after work, a livelier bar is probably what you're looking for.
If we had to pick one bar as our top choice, it would be the Sky Room. This bar is just so unique and offers truly unsurpassable views of the city. Located conveniently in Times Square, you'll be front and center for all the action when you visit it.
The Sky Room offers five different spaces to offer the right atmosphere for intimate dates as well as a night out with the girls or the guys. Additionally, it has an impressive drink menu and lots of delectable food options.
We think you'll have a night to remember when you visit the Sky Room; plan your visit today!
New York City is a wonderful place to live or visit. Taking some time to enjoy one of the bars featured above is a decision you will not regret. They all offer exceptional views, amazing drinks, and a unique atmosphere.