New York City's Best Hotel Rooftop Bars

Henry's at the Roger Smith Hotel Adam Wallace from Roger Smith Hotel
By Kristine Hansen

New York City has more rooftop bars than any other American city, providing trendy lounges many levels above the hustle and bustle down below. Head to the Flatiron District, Chelsea, Midtown, SoHo, and other New York City neighborhoods for these new rooftop bars, where the cocktails are great but the views are even better.

You'll find each of these rooftop lounges at new hotels, but luckily, you don't have to be an overnight guest to join the party -- and you usually won't have to pay a cover charge to enter. However, hotel guests will typically get priority, and it's not uncommon for these popular venues to be closed for a private event. Don't despair: Though each of these bars just opened up last summer, most of these rooftop bars will remain open year-round.

Photo Caption: Henry's at the Roger Smith Hotel
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The crowd at Mr. Purple's bar in Soho Pauline Frommer
You may be able to trust people over 30, but you won't find them here. In fact the "finance bros" who hang at Mister Purple are of the age where simply being called "mister" is still a shocker. That sense of everything being new and having the world at your feet is a big part of the fun of coming to this buzzy spot. As are the views from the two outdoor terraces, uptown and towards the Hudson River from one, downtown and to the East River on the other side. In the middle is a clubby bar filled with old-timey knicknacks—paperweights from the 50's, edison style hanging bulb lamps, reclaimed wooden stools and tables—that the bargoes here likely only recognize from TV. But hey: that's part of the fun, too. Tip: Mister Purple turns folks away once it reaches 300 partiers, so get here earlier, rather than later in the evening, unless you enjoy standing in lines on the sidewalk.

What to order: Pre-bottled fizzy Negroni cocktails.

More info: www.mrpurplenyc.com
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Sky Room at Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites Time Square Michael Weber
Just like the name implies, this 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar is pretty high up (on the hotel's 33rd and 34th floors). Check out each of the five spaces, including the Cube balcony, Times Square Lounge, and North Terrace (with a retractable roof). White furnishings chosen for the South Terrace include private cabanas -- the perfect spot from which to view the Hudson River. Lit floor tiles further jazz up the setting. While the cocktails are indeed innovative, the food includes a line of desserts conceptualized by leading fashion designers as a nod to the nearby Fashion District (Kiwi Pavlova by Rebecca Taylor, anyone?). Expect to pay a cover charge on weekends when there is a special event.

What to Order: Frozen Pear (Grey Goose La Poire vodka, Xante Pear & Cognac liqueur, pineapple juice, and sour mix blended into sorbet)

More Info: www.skyroomnyc.com

Photo Caption: Sky Room at Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites Times Square
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Z Roof at Z Hotel in Long Island City, Queens. Carmen Rubio
The Z Hotel and its rooftop bar opened in July 2011 -- further contributing to Long Island City's growing status as a hip enclave one subway stop from Manhattan. Much of Z Roof's cocktail list is inspired by local surroundings, including drinks called the Crosstown Local, Sunnyside, JFK, and 7 (one of the subway lines to the hotel). Being out in Queens has its advantages. Where else could you build a 5,000-square-foot seasonal rooftop bar and have unobstructed views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building? Sit back in a cute hot-pink chair or grab one of the lime-green barstools, put in your drink order, and be glad you're not part of the traffic rushing across the Queensboro Bridge.

What to Order: Z (Tanqueray Ten gin muddled with fresh watermelon and lime and spiked with a hint of jalapeño)

More Info: www.zhotelny.com

Photo Caption: Z Roof at Z Hotel in Long Island City, Queens
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Gansevoort Park Rooftop at Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC Magda Biernat
DJs flown in from other cities work the open-air terrace on some nights, putting a new spin on partying in the Flatiron District. It's the little details that make this rooftop bar stand out, such as alfresco fireplaces, handcrafted mosaic tiling, and customized artwork. And of course, the backlit bar is staffed with mixologists who enjoy tinkering with the latest in cocktail innovation.

What to Order: Ginger Park (Absolut Citron vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger & Cognac, fresh lime, and white-cranberry juice)

More Info: www.gansevoortpark.com

Photo Caption: Gansevoort Park Rooftop at Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC
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Upstairs Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Kimberly Hotel. The Kimberly Hotel
This casual lounge (outfitted with twinkling overhead lights, comfy wicker chairs, and tufted leather armchairs) feels like you're hanging out on a friend's rooftop -- but with full bar service and a menu of small plates. The rooftop space also serves brunch, with favorites like whole-wheat blueberry pancakes drizzled with Vermont maple syrup. From this 3,000-square-foot terrace 30 stories above the sidewalk, soak in views of the Chrysler Building and Midtown Manhattan. It also has a retractable glass ceiling and walls, so this rooftop bar doesn't have to close during a thunderstorm.

What to Order: Oh Yoko (soju and sake with lemon grass, ginger, and mint)

More Info: www.upstairsnyc.com

Photo Caption: Upstairs Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Kimberly Hotel
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Henry's at the Roger Smith Hotel. Adam Wallace from Roger Smith Hotel
At this 16th-floor bar in Midtown Manhattan, happy hour is a huge draw for the after-work crowd. The food options here go above and beyond bar food, such as a lobsterbake ($35) and summer-friendly foods like gourmet hot dogs and wings. Hint: Keep an eye on Henry's Twitter feed for news of whether or not the rooftop bar is closed due to inclement weather or private events.

What to Order: Strawberry Mojito (Bacardi Limon rum, strawberries, lime, and mint)

More Info: www.rslilys.com/henrys

Photo Caption: Henry's at the Roger Smith Hotel
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JIMMY at The James New York The James Hotel
Perched atop this SoHo hotel's 18th story, JIMMY's 1970s theme pulses with an indoor conversation area outfitted with a leather-trimmed bar top, modular furniture, plush seating, and tiled walls. Cocktails with a seasonal focus contain herbs plucked from The James' organic garden, as well as house-made syrups and bitters. Surrounding the illuminated pool are chaise lounges and an outdoor fireplace. From this rooftop bar, you're treated to views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

What to Order: Mexican Honey Bee (Milagro Reposado tequila, organic orange-flower honey, splash of Mezcal, lavender bitters, and lemon)

More Info: www.jimmysoho.com

Photo Caption: JIMMY at The James New York
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CaféB by Bice, with Sky Lounge at Hotel Indigo Chelsea CaféB by Bice
Located in Chelsea's Flower District among art galleries and chic boutiques, this new hot spot is discreetly located on the Hotel Indigo Chelsea's rooftop. Custom-designed furniture imported from Italy provides a glam look -- think coffee-color ottomans and metallic-gold coffee tables. Italian-inspired antipasti options include bruschetta prepared with burrata, fagiolini fritti (breaded green beans), and beef tenderloin carpaccio.

What to Order: Bice Martini (five ingredients mixed with a just-brewed shot of espresso)

More Info: www.cafebny.com

Photo Caption: CafèB by Bice with Sky Lounge at Hotel Indigo Chelsea
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Living Room Bar & Terrace at W New York Downtown. W New York Downtown
The W brand is well-known for the sleek ambiance it cultivates at each hotel. The W New York Downtown is no exception -- especially at the fifth-floor Living Room Bar & Terrace, where you can snack on a plate of artisanal cheeses or an assortment of cookies while kicking back with board games. (There is even free Wi-Fi if you need to wrap up some work.) Visit on a Thursday or a Friday night and the glitzy décor is properly paired with DJ sets. The terrace is open seasonally, but the bar is open year-round. Perhaps most notably, this rooftop bar offers a brand-new (to most of us) view of 1 World Trade Center.

More Info: www.wnewyorkdowntown.com

Photo Caption: Living Room Bar & Terrace at W New York Downtown
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