New York City was the US epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, with hospitals struggling to cope with the influx of patients. But much of that is history. As temperatures continue to rise, many bars and restaurants continue to open up, offering various forms of mask mandates as New Yorkers scramble to find a hot summer retreat.
Here is the ultimate, local city break for New Yorkers emerging from quarantine and lockdowns. Instead of escaping to the Hamptons or going upstate, many take refuge on one of New York’s many rooftop bars, some with soul-refreshing pools.
And because New York has culture galore from the Guggenheim to MoMA; the greatest city skyline in the world; spectacular food from Chinese delicacies in Flushing to Italian comfort food downtown, there is no better way to enjoy summer in the city than rooftop pool bar hopping, where you can enjoy refreshing cocktails while taking in the spectacular city views from the city’s rooftop bars.
Here are some of the top New York rooftop bars and their stunning views that offer both amazing cocktails and outdoor pools for you to cool off in the summer heat!
What’s on offer at the rooftop bars of New York
Jimmy at the James
Located on the 18th floor of the James Hotel in the heart of Soho, Jimmy offers sweeping 360-degree views of the city. Jimmy is known for its contemporary interpretation of the classic pub, and you can’t deny its famous 70s twist once you take a look at the sexy 1970’s décor with a fireplace surrounded by plush seats. The outdoor terrace boasts views of the city with a large LOVE art sculpture that is perfect for pictures. There is also a small pool in the middle of the terrace for you to dip your feet while enjoying the view.
La Piscine at Hotel Americano
Located in Chelsea, Hotel Americano’s rooftop pool bar is only accessible by a glass exterior elevator. La Piscine offers stunning views of Chelsea and the Hudson River, indoor and outdoor dining serving Mexican seafood, cervezas, and cocktails. The pool is tiny but gives you a spot to dip your toes and stay cool.
The SoHo House is definitely the swanky who’s who of rooftop pool bars. SoHo House is a private members’ club in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Only members and guests are allowed on the rooftop, making it super exclusive. The rooftop offers views of downtown Manhattan and has a relatively large heated swimming pool, which is open year-round. They also serve food and drinks all day during the summer months.
Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo
Unfortunately due to covid restrictions, temporarily closed.
Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo, Mr. Purple is known for capturing the artistic vibe of the area. The rooftop terrace is large, stretching over 5,000 square feet, with a bar and a small pool. The pool overlooks the city, including the Empire State Building, which makes for amazing photos. On the weekends, the pool is only accessible to hotel guests.
The Beach at the Dream Hotel (Downtown)
The Beach offers the perfect escape – during your time there, you will feel like you’re enjoying a nice summer vacation. With a 5,000 square feet deck, including 800 square feet of “beach” complete with imported sand, Beach is located on a 2nd-floor terrace and offers a glass-bottom swimming pool looking into the hotel lobby. This little oasis in the heart of the city offers $65 day passes on weekdays.
Rooftop at the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC
Plunge Rooftop Bar & Lounge, located at the Gansevoort Meatpacking, offers a 360- degree view of the Hudson River and Manhattan. The sunset view makes an evening cocktail and visit well worth it. Unfortunately, the pool is only accessible to hotel guests.
McCarren Hotel Rooftop
Located in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, the McCarren Hotel’s Rooftop bar boasts amazing panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, especially during sunset. While their oversized heated-pool is not on the roof, its 4,800 square-foot pool deck does host live music and events. It is accessible with a day pass.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Relatively new to the scene is 1 Rooftop Garden and Bar, located at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, in Brooklyn. This new eco-friendly hotel also has a lovely hotel pool available to guests. Harriet’s Rooftop is open to the public and serves amazing cocktails.
This list of NYC rooftop bars will definitely keep you busy, entertained, and cool during the summer. All locations are unique and have a lot to offer to help you escape after a busy day at work, or just to cool off after a long, hot day.
Barry Hoy, AKA 'asianmapleleaf' is an ambassador of all things travel – he was born and raised in Toronto and currently lives in New York City. Follow his adventures on asianmapleleaf.com or on Instagram @asianmapleleaf