The Best Rooftop Bars in NYC for Golden Hour Hangs This Fall

If you ask us, this is the ideal season for sky-high hangs.

El Nico rooftop in Williamsburg
El Nico rooftop in Williamsburg | Photo by Alice Gao
El Nico rooftop in Williamsburg | Photo by Alice Gao

The end of summer signals two things to New Yorkers: everyone’s finally back in town and it’s time to take advantage of the remaining late-night sunsets. So naturally, we find ourselves gravitating toward rooftops bars in NYC like moths to the golden-hour light. Catch us basking in total autumnal energy, while also sky-high this month at the best rooftop bars in New York City.

UNLISTED rooftop on the Lower East Side
UNLISTED rooftop on the Lower East Side | Photo by Kathryn Sheldon

Rooftop Bars in Manhattan

Lower East Side
Gritty design features like graffitied walls and a sticker-covered elevator define the vibe of the Lower East Side’s UNTITLED Hotel. On the eleventh floor of the downtown lodging, New Yorkers can find a hidden-gem rooftop bar dubbed UNLISTED. Here, the Manhattan aesthetic flourishes with city-inspired cocktails served in everything from fake spray can bottles to mini water towers. While gazing out at views of One World Trade and the Empire State Building, sip on a Lloyd’s Famous (carrot cake, pecan, rye) or a No Sleep Til… (coffee, cardamom, vodka).

Highlight Room
Lower East Side
Alongside Loosie’s and Silver Lining, Highlight Room completes the Moxy Lower East Side’s trio of lively nightlife spots. Known for its wild weekend parties and expansive terrace, Highlight Room also offers plenty of photo opps with the skyline or the interior’s massive olive tree as a background. Drop by for a casual pre-dinner drink or peruse the events calendar for an upcoming DJ set.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels New York City has quickly become a hot destination for a night on the town since its debut earlier this year. Located in the heart of NoMad, the hotel offers two outdoor drinking destinations. On the third floor, you’ll find a lively restaurant and bar called Everdene, which sports an expansive terrace and an entertainment program most nights of the week.

Apotheke NoMad
With a flagship in Chinatown plus an outpost in LA, Apotheke NoMad has gained a reputation as an opulent cocktail destination that specializes in botanical cocktails. The space is separated into two sections: a 74-seat cellar speakeasy and a penthouse lounge featuring floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows and velvet seating. To accommodate for the impending winter and spring chill, the upstairs terrace now features an enclosed atrium with retractable roofs, but don’t worry the views of the Empire State Building are still immaculate. Choose from quirky sips like the Scarlet Dance (vodka, raspberry, rhubarb, aloe vera, thyme, champagne) and Among the Sunbathers (pisco, bitter melon, clementine shrub, orange blossom water).

Highlight Room rooftop on the Lower East Side
Highlight Room rooftop on the Lower East Side | Photo by Michael Kleinberg

Central Park South
Sweeping views of Central Park South and the city skyline are reason enough to visit the famed Park Lane New York hotel’s rooftop bar, Darling. Perched on the 47th floor, the spot’s swanky penthouse-apartment aesthetic along with a specialty cocktail program and weekly DJ is the recipe for a chic evening out. While hanging on the colorful terrace, sip on a specialty drink like the Darling Unlimited (vodka, spiced pear liqueur, ginger) or Here Comes Trouble (reposado, wasabi and lavender honey, blood orange).

Make Believe
Lower East Side
Boozy nights filled with immaculate sunset views are the specialty at the Sixty Hotel’s tropical-themed haven, Make Believe. Slide into one of the vibrantly pink booths and order the table a round of signature matcha cocktails before meandering to one of the two terraces or the dance floor where the DJ booth lives. You can expect this rooftop to reach full capacity early on weekend nights, so we recommend planning your arrival accordingly.

Mr. Purple
Lower East Side
The popular destination on Hotel Indigo’s rooftop, Mr. Purple, provides both a buzzy and laid-back atmosphere. Two terraces allow the choice between a more intimate lounging space or a lively rooftop pool and bar with communal tables and a wide variety of banquettes. For an ideal start to any night, pair your Espresso Martini with an order of Truffle Waffle Fries.

Panorama Room
Roosevelt Island
The Graduate Hotel’s gorgeous drinking destination definitely provides motivation for hopping on the tramway or subway for a quick trip out to Roosevelt Island. Sporting a photogenic aesthetic of neon lights melded with vintage velvet touches, the 168-seat Panorama Room serves up a dramatic look with views of Queens, Manhattan, and the Queensborough Bridge. There are drinks like The Looking Glass (gin, Pink Lady apple, white vermouth, lime), to accompany raw bar offerings like oysters or the Seafood Tower.

A longtime NYC favorite, Modernhaus Soho Hotel’s 18th-floor rooftop covers all the essentials: long bar, pool deck, craft cocktails, and global fare small bites. With the bliss of autumn upon us, an evening at JIMMY pairs perfectly with a sunset, some dancing, and an Easy Tiger (tequila, mezcal, lemon, passion fruit).

The Ready
East Village
Channeling true East Village vibes, this spot is designed to emulate a chill backyard garden that’s always in the midst of a party. While scooping locally brewed beers or canned cocktails from the coolers, work up an appetite for made-to-order tacos at the beer pong table. Alternatively, hit up $1 taco and $9 margarita happy hour from 4 pm–6 pm Monday to Friday and 12 pm–3 pm Saturday and Sunday. All the while, top hits and ’90s to 2000s throwbacks provide ample opportunity for singing your heart out.

Jaffa rooftop in Williamsburg
Jaffa rooftop in Williamsburg | Photo by Teddy Wolff

Rooftop Bars in Brooklyn

El Nico
El Nico offers New Yorkers a low-key alternative to Brooklyn wilder rooftop spots. Located atop the Penny Williamsburg, El Nico serves Mexican-inspired small plates including Caviar Sope (osetra caviar, salsa cruda, creme fraiche) and Pink Mole (beet, fennel, kumquat, pine nut). Pair your snacks with a playful sip off of the beverage menu like the Turn the Beet Around (tequila, rum, yellow beet, pineapple, vanilla) or Kiwi Me Softly (sotol, salers, kiwi, celery, green tea, greek yogurt). Settle into a cushy seat inside or take in the autumnal breeze on one of the two terraces.

Joining its popular siblings K’Far and Laser Wolf, Jaffa Cocktail and Raw Bar is the third concept within The Hoxton, Williamsburg from Mike Solmonov. Although Jaffa doesn’t sit up high—it’s on the second floor—it features a dedicated side entrance, al fresco seating, and an expansive indoor bar. Pulling inspiration from the Israeli coast, the seafood-centric menu spotlights dishes like Yellowtail Pastrami with Grilled Cucumber and Octopus Shakshuka, alongside raw bar items. Under the twinkling string lights, sip on beverages like the Oy Vey (rum, mango, coconut) and The Jaffa Orange (vodka, aperol, orange), which comes frozen. For afternoons or evenings out with the crew, tables can order cocktail pitches or liters of wine.

Berry Park
After grazing the day away in McCarren Park, cross the street to Berry Park’s rooftop beer garden. Now that the weather’s reaching peak form, the spot has begun screening sport games via three large projectors. Even the most seasoned beer drinker will be impressed by the extensive list of German and Belgian brews (ask about the seasonal specials). Complement your lager with an order of Fried Pickles or a Bavarian Pretzel.

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.
The calling card for Greenpoint’s resident small-batch brewery is a widely recognizable stained-glass water tower which sits atop the building like a beacon for beer lovers. Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. is known for its non-rowdy crowd of regulars who sip on specialty ales and lagers within the 2,000-square-foot picnic bench-scattered rooftop. Classic bar bites include Beer Battered Frickles (Southern-fried pickles) and a Giant Bavarian Pretzel. Also, stay tuned for upcoming events like trivia nights and DJ sets.

Brooklyn Bridge Park
For classic Brooklyn Bridge views, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn’s rooftop is a sure bet. Overlooking the iconic River Cafe and touting panoramic Manhattan views, the rooftop’s industrial look includes a spread of couches, wide-brimmed umbrellas, lounge chairs, and an extensive bar. A menu of specialty cocktails (floral garnishes are a recurring theme) and small bites make it a favorite among hotel guests and visitors alike.

LilliStar rooftop in Williamsburg
LilliStar rooftop in Williamsburg | Photo by Michael Mundy

Inspired by the laid back surf style of Australia and Indonesia, LilliStar is the latest drop from the Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg. With eleventh-floor views of the Williamsburg Bridge and East River, the space is decorated with hanging lotus flowers, string lights, and plenty of greenery. Seasonal drinks pack a tropical punch like the Wu Wave (lime leaf-infused mezcal, blue curacao, macadamia nut orgeat, yuzu soda) and Papaya Salad Daiquiri (rum, tomato juice, birdseye chile). LilliStar also hosts DJs, clothing brands, and record labels throughout the season.

Rooftop Reds
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Hidden among warehouses and construction sites sits Rooftop Reds, an urban vineyard and winery. Best laid plan: grab a glass or bottle (there’s beer available as well) from the wine bar and settle into one of the hammocks for an idyllic night. As an added bonus, drop by for a Thursday night movie, which includes a rotating selection of films along with two slices of pizza and popcorn.

Westlight is one of those famously popular rooftops everyone has to experience firsthand. Take in the 360-degree views of all five boroughs while sipping on a signature cocktail like Snap Happy (vodka, rice spirit, snap pea) and Zapotec Highball (sugarcane rum, agave liqueur, butterfly pea flower, lemon). Keep the night going with global street food-inspired snacks like Coconut Curry Cashews or Shrimp Dumplings.

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Izzy Baskette is the New York City Staff Writer for Thrillist. Talk to her at or find her on Instagram.