On weekend nights Manhattan can be pretty treacherous. So if you want a plush view and some house music, why not trying crossing the bridge in the opposite direction of traffic? The Ravel is just across the Queensboro Bridge and it has one of the best views of the city. Situated on the 6th floor of the Bestwesterny wannabe designer hotel the Ravel. Now, when you get here don’t let the line put you off. If there is one, it is basically because of the 6 persons capacity elevator that is also pretty slow. But once you get up top you’ll see that the vide is pretty easy going. Also beware that they have a silly and very particular dress code: No shirts with printed logos, faded clothing, work boots or sneakers, baseball hats or oversized clothing. Hey, they are trying to run an “upscale establishment” here, if only the clubs in the MeatPa would follow.
Hours: Mon-Wed. 4pm to 2am, Thurs.-Friday. 4pm to 4am Sat. 2pm to 4 am Sundays 1 pm to 2 am
8-08 Queens Plaza South, nr. 43rd Ave. Long Island City, NY 11101 718-289-6101
New York Mag says it’s Miami on the Hudson, while the venue on its website describes itself as Plam Springs inspired. I am just gonna call it as I see it, which is just plain tacky. It is like the 230 Fifth of the Westside; a rooftop garden with a nice view, a cheesy lounge downstairs, a sleazy doorman, bored waitresses in skimpy dresses and long lines after 1o pm. And hell, here the view is only nice if you look west towards the water (the aircraft carrier Intrepid is docked right bellow). If you must go, do it prior to 8, which is when the happy hour ends and before the crowd regulars have crossed over the Lincoln Tunnel.
Happy Hour: Tue-Fri, 5pm-10pm; 2 for 1 speciality drinks and Bud Lights
Hours: Tue-Fri, 5pm-4am; Sat 9pm-4am; Sun, 2pm-9pm (brunch)
621 West 46th st nr. Eleventh Ave. 212-315-9400
This technically isn’t a rooftop bar. But the approx. 6th floor view of the Great White Way is still pretty cool (aka the stretch of Broadway in Times Square, once you see the lights from afar, you’ll understand why they call it that). And what the Novotel hotel lacks in character, barman/server/host Kresc makes up for with a friendly and chatty disposition. (He still won’t tell me the story behind is name though) Always in a good mood, Kresc also makes some really yummy fruity cocktails. Most of which are his proud inventions. There is also an indoors area for the colder months.
Cocktail: Chupa Chupa: rum, mango juice, Triple Sec and peach Snaps
Hours: Daily, noon-midnight
226 W. 52nd St., nr. Broadway, NY 10019 212-315-0100
A rather subdued and chic 13th-floor rooftop bar in the heart of Soho. On top of one of the original trendy designer hotels, the Thompson Hotel. A60 is a members only bar, but if you get a room, your room key will grant you access. And if you somehow manage to get in some other way, the hostess will check to see if you have the Thompson logo stamped on your hand. This is not a loud club, but rather a cool lounge where you can relax with a cocktail while you take in the view. A nice plus is that you also have the non-members only Thom bar downstairs, which is a tad louder but still equally stylish.
Hours: May-Labor Day: daily, 5pm-2am, weather permitting; Labor Day-Apr: daily, closed
60 Thompson St., nr. Broome St., NY 10012 877-431-0400
This 14th-floor roof deck is good time if you don’t mind office workers. The view is one of the best of the Empire State Building. The place is neither too fancy or trashy, it is just average, which can be just right at times, especially if you come with a large group. Half the place has tables that you can only sit at, if each person consumes $20. Did I mention there is ok food and wheat beer?
Hours: Apr-Nov: Daily, 5:30pm-11:30pm; Dec-Mar: Daily, closed
45 W. 35th St., 14th fl, nr. Sixth Ave., NY 10001 212-279-3535
On top of the Water Club restaurant, the Crow’s Nest has one o the bests views of the East River. (There are next to none waterfront bars on the east side) While the restaurant is a bit stuffy, the bottom bar is nicely and classically laid out with a fireplace and a even a piano. But it is the top part, which looks like the upper deck of a cruise ship, that makes the trek under the FDR so worth it (you have to cross through 34 st). This is a little hidden gem that fortunately never gets overcrowded. There is bar food too. The fries are really good.
Hours: Memorial Day to early October: Mon-Tue, 5pm-midnight; Wed-Thu, 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sun, noon-midnight
500 E. 30th St., nr. FDR Dr., NY 10016 212-683-3333
You know how there are places you are really curious about and have to see for yourself, despite your better judgment? 230 fifth is just that type of place. On top of what was once the Victoria hotel, 20 floors up, in the first level of the club there is a lounge that is as big as it is cheesy. Then on the rooftop is a spacious and very green open air space. This is much better, yet the shrubs lining the surrounding walls obscure a bit of the view. This place is like an outdated Meat Packing joint, all flash and no class. Even the waitress begrudgingly know this (maybe that’s why they are so cranky). The only way to enjoy the view is if you come early (5ish), plus this way you hardly have to deal with the obnoxious doorman (don´t say i didn’t warn you).
Hours: Daily, 4pm-4am
230 Fifth Ave., 20th fl, at 27th St., NY 10001 212-725-4300