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Up On The Roof: The Best Hotel Bar Terraces in New York City

When the weather turns warm, New Yorkers get on the elevator and head to the roof. They're rewarded with magnificent views, cooling breezes, and refreshing (if overpriced) beverages.

With the first hint of warmer weather people in other places hop in the car and take to the road. When the weather warms up in Manhattan, New Yorkers get on the elevator and head to the roof. Up there, they are rewarded with magnificent views, cooling breezes, and refreshing, if overpriced, beverages.

Here's a sampling of some of New York's finest rooftop terraces. Most of these places are only open seasonally, weather permitting, and from about 5pm on, so be sure to check before heading out and up.


Metro Grill Rooftop Bar, Hotel Metro (45 West 35th St.; tel. 212/279-3535;

If you've come to New York to get a good look at the famed Empire State Building, this is the spot for you. The Art Deco skyscraper looms above this lovely, little terrace. To insure it doesn't get overcrowded and spoil the charm, guests are asked to stop at the Metro Grill restaurant in the lobby to get a "chit" before taking the elevator up to the penthouse. The Hotel Metro is on 35th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.

Rare View Rooftop, Shelburne Hotel (303 Lexington Avenue; tel. 212/481-1999;

This is one of my favorite places, so don't go crowding it up, okay? The Rare View Rooftop Garden is enchanting. Brick, wrought iron, wooden tables and potted trees just add to the atmosphere. There are several different seating areas and great views. Take the elevator to the 16th floor from an access ramp on the corner of 37th Street, not through the hotel's main entrance on Lexington Avenue.

East Side

Rooftop Lounge, Hotel Bentley (500 East 62nd St.; tel. 212/644-6000;

This indoor/outdoor bar terrace on the 21st floor is a perfect place no matter what the weather. If it's nice out, from the terrace, you can enjoy the magnificent, 360-degree view of the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the 59th Street Bridge. If it's rainy or stifling hot out, you can still enjoy the same view from inside the bar with its floor to ceiling, plate-glass windows that surround the room. Hotel Bentley is on York Avenue at the corner of 62nd Street.

West Side

Private Park, Hudson Hotel (356 West 58th St.; tel. 212/554-6217;

You might walk right past this hotel with its unassuming entrance, just a door in a wall. An escalator leads one flight up to the lobby. The Private Park is located directly behind the lobby. It's filled with 45-foot trees, ivy-covered walls and garden furniture. This place is so New York. The view is of an urban grand canyon formed by the surrounding buildings. Hudson Hotel is on 58th Street between 8th Avenue and Columbus Avenue.


Rise Bar & Terrace, Ritz-Carlton Battery Park (2 West St.; tel. 212/344-0800;

From this crow's nest lookout on the 14th floor, there are panoramic views of New York Harbor. Head up to this delightful spot just a little before dusk to catch the light changing and then the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty. On a sultry, summer evening in the city, there's no better place to be.

All of these bar/terraces can get very crowded on the weekends. Best to head up during the week; Monday night is usually a good bet.

Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers in our New York City Forum today.