It's pretty cool to eat and drink on a sidewalk or in a backyard garden, but isn't a rooftop just that much better? As Carrie Bradshaw once famously said on the terrace of Wade's parents' apartment: "It's like it's different air up there!"
Yes, it is.
Here are the best rooftops on which to imbibe and dine.
Monarch Rooftop Lounge
New this summer, Monarch's Scandinavian-chic lounge radiates glamour. Its picturesque views of the Empire State Building are almost enough to distract you from your $16 specialty cocktail. Weekends host "Fly Sundays" which feature boozy snow cones starting at 3pm. 71 W 35th Street, addisongroupnyc.com/venues/monarch (Credit: Monarch)
JIMMY at the James
This luxe rooftop bar is 18 stories up, on top of SoHo's The James Hotel. It's not quite the time of year to take a dip in the pool, so head instead to the bar's "conversation pit" -- a lounge area with plush seating and retro lamps. The James Hotel, 15 Thompson St., jimmysoho.com (Credit: JIMMY at the James)
This rooftop is about as close as you can get to a tropical hideaway in Manhattan. Slatted boardwalk-style floors, lush palm fronds and greenery and cozy beach lounges make The Delancey feel like a vacation spot -- even when it's cold outside. 168 Delancey St., thedelancey.com (Credit: The Delancey)
The Lodge at Gallow Green
Gallow Green, located on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel, boasts views of the High Line, the river and Manhattan for as far as the eye can see. And for the cooler months, it's been transformed into a similarly enchanting place called The Lodge. 542 W. 27th St., mckittrickhotel.com, 212-564-1662(Credit: Loren Wohl)
Sunsets at The Jane
The historic Jane Hotel opens its rooftop to the public for the very first time this summer with "Sunsets at The Jane." The classic design of the bar and small circular party room, along with the patio's breathtaking views of the Hudson River make this a romantic and pleasant spot to toil away a summer's eve. And don't miss the cocktails. If the Hemingway Daiquiri, with Starr African rum, Luxardo Cherry liqueur, grapefruit and lime juice doesn't sound refreshing and potent, I don't know what does.
Just make sure you plan ahead. There's only room for 70 people, and so the rooftop is reservation only. Anyone can get one by emailing email@example.com.
113 Jane St., thejanenyc.com, 212-924-6700(Credit: The Jane Hotel)
Ides at the Wythe Hotel
The Ides is a hotel bar, but it's a hotel bar in Williamsburg, so the clientele is a little bit more hipster artist than hedge fund manager. It's located on the roof of the Wythe Hotel, and offers sweeping views of the east side of Manhattan and the East River. If you want to hang out in Williamsburg, but above the fray, this is the place for you. The indoor section is a perfect spot to warm up with seasonal hot cocktails and take in the view through giant glass windows. 80 Wythe St., Williamsburg, wythehotel.com/the-ides, 718-460-8006(Credit: The Wythe Hotel)
Level R at the Empire Hotel Rooftop
If you've ever wanted to class it up for a night, head to the Empire Hotel (you know the neon sign, right? Near Lincoln Center?) to the rooftop bar there. They don't allow guests to wear denim, so get your best slacks pressed. Gaze across to Central Park and sip a cocktail or glass of wine and bask in feeling on top of the world.
The rooftop was just renovated, so to get an early look, head up there soon. Small bites include "Swine Candy": bacon roasted with molasses and spices, and tempura maitake mushrooms, with ponzu dipping sauce. There's also a retractable roof for rainy nights, and a DJ booth, so expect some parties.
44 W. 63rd St., empirehotelnyc.com, 212-265-7400(Credit: FLICKR/ Angela N.)
The Top of The Standard
Atop The Standard Hotel, the modish Meatpacking District fixture known for its floor-to-ceiling windows and its A-list nightlife scene, sits a venue with views as stunning as you'd expect from a building that straddles the High Line. Hit the Top of The Standard at sunset for the ultimate eye candy with your specialty drinks and tasty small plates, or stop by for a bite in your best cocktail attire. 848 Washington St., standardhotels.com, 212-645-4646(Credit: The Standard)