The weather is hot, the drinks are cold, and there is no better place to be in New York City right now than camped out on the back patio of your favorite local bar. Six months out of the year, these cherished, often tiny outdoor spaces go depressingly unused, covered in snow and as distant as a dream. At summer’s start, they spring to life, bustling with life and far from neglected (though when you’re vying for a seat at some of these places, you might certainly wish they were). Patios, terraces, rooftops: If there’s sunshine and a nice breeze involved, people’ll be there, drinks in hand. Herewith, our suggestions for summer drinking alfresco.
Is it selfish to start with one of SIXTY’s own establishments? It would be, if it weren’t exactly what the season calls for. Make Believe, a transportive lounge and social club on the roof of SIXTY LES, remains one of the hottest tickets in town. Nightlife duo Jack Mulqueen and Thatcher Shultz have thought of everything: inventive cocktails, a playful setting, and unbelievably good music. It’s the best, and we’re not just playing favorite. Promise.
190 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Slurp down oysters and sip on a New Orleans-inspired cocktail while you enjoy one of Brooklyn’s most romantic patios. With a canopy of cascading green and the requisite hanging lights, Maison Premiere makes for the perfect date spot, especially when summer reaches its peak and the heat lingers in the air well into the evening.
298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
In the same building that houses interactive play Sleep No More, Gallow Green holds court on the McKittrick Hotel’s roof. And what a roof it is. Take in the sweeping views of Chelsea while you have a seat on one of their finely weathered wooden chairs, surrounded by greenery and protected by an overhang that’ll be your saving grace should you choose to imbibe during the scorching heat of day.
542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
If your favorite view of Manhattan is one taken from a distance, head to Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Barge. Located past Williamsburg’s northernmost edge and into one of the borough’s hottest neighborhoods, the floating bar anchors ashore just for the season. In other words: it’s only here for a brief time, folks. Head there in the late afternoon and you’ll get gorgeous views of the sun setting over the East River.
79 West St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Boat Basin Cafe
The Upper West Side’s Boat Basin Cafe doesn’t feel like New York—at least not in the cab-honking, buildings-looming, crushing-bodies-everywhere sort of way. Surrounded by pillars of stone and an arched ceiling fit for a duomo, it sits nestled right on the Hudson, away from it all, as they say. There’s little fanfare with the decor (plastic chairs and classic checkered table covers), but that’s not what anyone comes for. The view and a drink is all you’ll ever need.
West 79th St, New York, NY 10024
If you’re staying at SIXTY SoHo and you’ve already hit the A60 rooftop bar, pop on the C train and head towards Dumbo, where the beautiful brick-walled, ivy-covered courtyard of Gran Electrica awaits. There’s mezcal, fresh air, and a short-n-sweet menu of delicious Mexican fare. Turns out cocktails aren’t the only thing better when consumed outdoors.
5 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Photo courtesy of Dean Rose