Like sweaty subway rides and Thong Guy sightings, rooftop bars are a staple of summer in this town. But even when winter wields its ugly strength, there are still a few elevated spots up for visitors, with removable covers, heat lamps and hot drinks in tow. Here are our favorites; as always, leave yours in the comments.
THE LODGE AT GALLOW GREEN: Trust the creative geniuses behind Sleep No More to turn their majestic Gallow Green bar into a wintry work of art. The Lodge is a sneaky "hideaway" bar that looks frighteningly like a woodsy cabin, complete with bunk beds, a creepy desk, battered books, a fire pit and a room full of taxidermy furs. Sip a maple toddy while you sift through all the drawers and weathered papers strewn about, then see if you can brave the haunted Macbeth house below. Reservations recommended.
The Lodge is located at 542 West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in Chelsea (212-564-1662, mckittrickhotel.com/gallowgreen).
(John Del Signore/Gothamist
THE IDES AT THE WYTHE HOTEL: The Ides' outdoor section is ideal for summer skyscraper-gazing, but once the weather cools down, you can still enjoy the scenery from behind the Ides bar's windowed roofdeck, plus you probably won't have to spend an hour on line on Wythe Avenue beforehand. Enjoy cocktails like the rye, Campari and vermouth-heavy Old Pal ($13) or a classic Dark and Stormy ($11) while you watch the snow fall, and imagine what life would be like if you still had an apartment with an unobstructed rooftop on North 8th Street for only $900/month. Life was better, once.
The Ides at the Wythe Hotel is located at 80 Wythe Avenue between North 11th and 12th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-460-8000, wythehotel.com).
KIMOTO: As recently as last October, one Yelp reviewer wished to assure the larger Internet community that "Brooklyn is not a place I find worthy of venturing to very often" but (heroic plot twist) "Kimoto offers something unlike ANYTHING else in the NYC metro area." With 26 (mostly Japanese) craft beer options, 9 custom cocktails, a diverse Asian fusion menu, and a slightly clubby weekend atmosphere, this might be true…and possibly enough to lure you, too, to the sleek rooftop of the Aloft hotel, where Kimoto overlooks Downtown Brooklyn. They've also got about 300 plants, so you may even forget, for a moment, that you're staring at a luxury-condo-freckled landscape and not a Japanese rock garden. (Sarah Edwards)
Kimoto is located at 216 Duffield Street between Willoughby and Fulton Streets in Downtown Brooklyn (718-858-8940, kimotorooftop.com).
BAITA AT LA BIRRERIA: This season, Eataly's rooftop bar's been transformed into Baita, an Italian Alps-themed pop-up bar and restaurant. Baita's a little more food-oriented than its predecessor, but it's still worth a stop for Piemontese bites like polenta with trentingrana and raclette cheese, plus you can warm up with drinks like mulled wine and a long, long list of bottled and draft brews.
La Birreria is located at 200 5th Ave in Flatiron (212-937-8910, eataly.com).
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. (Nell Casey)
Upstairs at the Kimberly is located at 145 East 50th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues in Midtown (212-702-1600, upstairsnyc.com).
HOTEL CHANTELLE: This intimate, art-deco lounge replete with plush banquettes gives way to a jazzy, covered rooftop decorated with lamps, benches and greenery, as to ostentatiously transport you to a Parisian vista. Featuring a dinner menu open until 11 p.m., a happy hour until 8 p.m., a full bar, and a DJ booth, the Hotel Chantelle also undergoes a kind of midnight transformation: after the dinner menu closes, it comes to life with a young, dance-y crowd. All the better, perhaps, to meet your winter Fitzgerald. (Sarah Edwards)
Hotel Chantelle is located at 92 Ludlow Street between Broome and Delancey Street on the Lower East Side (212-254-9100, hotelchantelle.com).
The Heights (Facebook)
THE HEIGHTS BAR AND GRILL: It's hard to find a rooftop bar north of midtown, but this Morningside Heights spot boasts outdoor space that's solid in any weather. The roof is covered and heated in the winter, which is a good deal, considering the Heights' best beverage offering is a frozen margarita. Just note that The Heights is primarily a Columbia University bar, so if you can't stand collegiates who haven't quite figured out alcohol, stay away.
The Heights is located at 2867 Broadway between 111th and 112th Streets in Morningside Heights (212-866-7035, theheightsnyc.com).
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. (Nell Casey)
Top Of The Strand is located at 33 West 37th Street between Avenue of the Americas and 5th Avenue in Midtown West (646-368-6426, topofthestrand.com).
Refinery Rooftop (Facebook)
REFINERY ROOFTOP: If you have an extraordinarily good arm, this year-round rooftop is a stone's throw away from the Empire State Building. That possibility notwithstanding, it's still got a darn good view for a comfortable space replete with cushioned chairs and romantic string lights. Can the Midtown office drone find spirituous salvation and a seat here? Perhaps, as a diverse menu of inventive seasonal cocktails is priced in the mid-teens, and beers round out to a predictably moderate $8. As for the seat itself, Refinery gets crowded. Best to call ahead and make a reservation. (Sarah Edwards)
Refinery Rooftop is located at 63 West 38th Street between 5th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown West (646-664-0372, refineryrooftopnyc.com).