New York’s Best Rooftop Bars & Lounges

By Ahmed Bhuiyan

As the jackets get put away and the day gets longer people flock to beautiful rooftop bars and lounges to sip on designer cocktails or for a swanky Sunday brunch. In New York City, this is a tradition. New Yorkers roll up to lounges for awe-inspiring views of the Manhattan Skyline, people watching, celebrity spotting, birthday or anniversary celebrations and the occasional first date to impress a new contender.

There is an ever-growing number of new and chic rooftop lounges in New York, but below are four of my favorite rooftop lounges that are timeless and perfect for long Summer nights or Sunday brunch.

230 FIFTH

If you like to take selfies, then this is the place to go—if you can manage to get in that is. On Friday and Saturday nights 230 Fifth is jam-packed. The location is amazing and the view is just spectacular, which brings in an endless amount of locals and tourists. Once you come out of the elevator to the 20th floor you can’t help but notice the striking Empire State Building shining across the way.

At 230 Fifth, you can rub elbows with anyone from Wall Street guys buying $22 drinks to hipsters sneaking in their own booze. Instragrammers and tourists are often spotted taking the perfect selfie.

The original Shake Shack is just a five minute walk from here along with Eataly and the landmark Flatiron Building. There is plenty to do in the area, so be sure to go to Utrip.com to explore all that the area has to offer and plan your itinerary.

Beat the crowds by going midday when it’s nearly empty or for a relaxed brunch on Sunday.

PLUNGE

Situated in the Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District, this lounge is your best bet for celebrity spotting. Lindsay Lohan is often spotted here partying the night away along with P. Diddy, Derek Jeter and Kanye West + Kim Kardashian when they are in town. Kimye chooses this hotel as their home away from home in New York.

This is another often crowded rooftop lounge on the weekends with long wait times, so go on weekdays to avoid the long wait. Or, if you happen to stay in the hotel, then you get to skip the lines, skip the crowds, and plunge in to their rooftop pool which is exclusive for hotel guests only.

Plunge is a fashion mecca with young and aspiring models, actors and socialites hoping to see and be seen. Beware—the drinks are still expensive, but this lounge atmosphere is well worth a drink or two.

PRESS LOUNGE

Press Lounge via Facebook

On the roof of the Ink48 on the West Side, this lounge offers unfettered views of the New Jersey skyline and West New York. Press Lounge is a bit relaxed compared to the madness of 230 Fifth and Plunge. There is no cover charge, so you will see more locals here enjoying the views and catching up with friends, couples on first dates and rooftop birthday celebrations that won’t break the bank. I had my 25th birthday celebration there and will never forget it.

There is a lot to do in the area—the Intrepid Museum is a stones throw away, and you can catch hourly cruises or scope a show on Broadway, so head your way to Utrip.com to explore. 

Z ROOF

Z Roof via Facebook

The only rooftop lounge outside of Manhattan on my list is the one on top of the Z Hotel in the burgeoning Long island City. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and party it up like the locals, then head over here.

There is no cover charge and food and drinks are very reasonably priced. The rooftop is on the 12th floor, towering over local buildings that were once used for garments, manufacturing, and storage. The area has since become a highly sought after place to live for young professionals and families with kids, leading to new cafes, lounges and restaurants that can hold their own against Manhattan, without its high cost. The sunsets here are breathtaking and the views of the Queensboro bridge with the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline add to its undeniable charm.

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