Just because cold weather drives us indoors for the next six months doesn't mean the views and ambience enjoyed from the city's rooftop bars ceases to exist. Sure, it's not the ideal time to be exposed to the elements, but this being The Now, such things as enclosures and space heaters and Slankets can make most indoor spaces weather-protected—even ones way up in the aerie. Below, some of the year-round ways to enjoy being perched atop buildings both short and tall.
THE PRESS LOUNGE: If stunning river-filled sunset views are your thing, head over to this 11th Avenue perch that overlooks the Manhattan skyline as well as the Hudson. For the winter, they'll set up heat lamps and their lovely crackling fire pit to stave off the cold; guests can also cuddle under cozy wool blankets for further warmth. To drink, have a sip of the 18th Amendment, a rye-based cocktail with cranberry puree, agave nectar, lemon juice and some heat from white pepper and ginger beer. Pro-tip: grab dinner at downstairs restaurant PRINT and skip the line for the rooftop later.
653 11th Avenue, (212) 757-2224; website
HAVEN ROOFTOP: Last year, this Times Square rooftop transformed into an Alpine Ski Lodge; this year, it's a "Moroccan Oasis," complete with palm trees and belly dancers. The space will be decked out in Moroccan carpets, with plenty of cushioned surfaces for lounging and listening to the sounds of electric violin. A special menu includes Seared Lamb Chops, Curry Shrimp and a Hummus Pizza, plus a Sahara Kingdom cocktail made with whiskey, fig and cassia.
Haven Rooftop is located at 132 W. 47th Street, 212-466-9000; website
HOTEL CHANTELLE: When the mercury dips, a retractable roof secures this LES bar from the elements without completely confining imbibers to drink in the darkness (unless it's nighttime, of course). The Paris street scene adds a quaint vibe—street lamps and tiles make it look like you're outdoors—but the space will be channeling London this winter, with special 3-course "Improper English Roast" meals on Sundays to celebrate the hotel's expansion across the pond. Sounds cozy!
92 Ludlow Street, (212) 254-9100; website
230 FIFTH: Out come the palm trees and in come this clubby venue's signature red robes; nothing wrong with a little shared clothing among fellow imbibers! While staff remain safely within the confines of the enclosed Penthouse Lounge, the roof is open for "picture taking, smoking, or a space for fresh air," we're told. They haven't started serving them yet, but expect hot libations closer to Thanksgiving; good for warming hands for prolonged Instagram sessions outside.
230 5th Avenue, (212) 725-4300; website
TOP OF THE STRAND: Known for its very up close and personal view of the Empire State Building, this small Midtown operation does as many al fresco spots do and employs a retractable glass structure to seal in the warmth come the fall. Seasonal drinks roll out in early November, but there's no wrong season for a Strandhattan ($20), made with Woodford Reserve, Carpano Antica, Cherry Herring and Brandied Cherry.
33 West 37th Street, (646) 368-6385; website
UPSTAIRS AT THE KIMBERLY: A retractable roof keeps the uppermost level of this hotel bar cozy when the temperature drops and the wind howls. Luckily, the glass doesn't obscure the views, however, which overlook Midtown with peeks of the Chrysler building in the distance from the perch of the 30th floor. To that end, try their Chrysler cocktail ($18), mixing champagne with cognac, honey and fresh citrus. Oh, and don't forget those heated floors for cold, snow-soaked feet.
145 E 50th Street, (212) 888-1220; website