If we were ranking the finest cities in the world, New York would be right at the top of the list. It would land somewhere between Tokyo, the land of disconcerting dancing robot slaves, and Decatur, Georgia, the home of the first Waffle House. There’s no better place to get a slice, take in a show, get mugged, and then have Matt Lauer scream obscenities at you. It’s a prince of a town, but it’s also a filthy place, full of those human beings that ruin everything.
We suggest, if you want to really enjoy New York City, you should stick to the rooftops away from the grime, the smell, the traffic, and the people. You can do this either by grimly fighting the crime of Hell’s Kitchen, being an obnoxious parkour runner, or by patronizing one of the 16 fanciest rooftop dining establishments NYC has to offer.
Location: 200 5th Ave.
Sitting astride the Eataly marketplace, there’s plenty of protein to be had in the form of fresh sausages and grilled meats of every cut, all washed down with some cask ales that are as strong as they are savory. Though “fancy” isn’t the word we’d use for the atmosphere, order up a Bohemian Snake River Wagyu steak, and see if you don’t feel like king or queen of the castle.
Location: 542 W 27th St
Nature and romance are in the surprisingly fresh air of the Gallow Green, despite the macabre name. The view offers wispy clouds as you sit among the lush greenery of the restaurant, eating and drinking from the naturalistic menu full of healthful offerings, and intoxicating cocktails to abuse your liver.
Location: 518 W 27th St
You can espy the Chrysler Building and a few other major landmarks, but the view from the 10th floor is mostly the Chelsea neighborhood with its jigsaw of buildings, bearing various eras of construction. Light fare that aims at grilled tapas with free-flowing tequila runs hot year round thanks to a glass enclosure.
Location: 187 Columbia St
Easy to miss since it sits along the restaurant row of Columbia street, Alma is a throwback experience not to be missed. A look at the skyline is just the beginning as cargo loaders offer up mechanical grace right below that meld form and function in a surprisingly scintillating ballet.
Location: 26 Little W 12th St
Though the area is primarily known for its hot and bothered nightlife, STK is the place to load up on nutrients before a night of debauchery. It pays homage to the meatpacking district all around with steaks, burgers, and naturally raised, organic cuts to engage the most cynical palate.
Location: 135 N 5th St
Noise is a given anywhere in New York, but it rarely reaches the clamour that Juliette attains on a daily basis. Despite the rich crispy duck confit and famous hanger steak, nearly every diner looks like they live at the gym or the pages of a fashion rag.
The Press Lounge at INK48 Hotel
Location: 653 11th Ave.
The atmosphere is nothing short of cozy with couches and lounge chairs around the quaint tables along the small pool for summertime soaking. The dress code is “casual elegant” which includes a broad range that only allows for T-shirts and jeans should you be an A-lister or a member of their entourage.
The Jane Rooftop
Location: 113 Jane St
Only available during the summer months, The Jane throws open its rooftop doors primarily for libations as you watch the sunset, though you can easily order from the Cafe Gitane menu just downstairs. The view is pure Hudson, near enough to make it picturesque, but far enough that you can’t smell it.
Location: 180 Orchard St
A freshly minted gastropub from the Gerber Group, Mr. Purple is named after the in-house concoctions the staff designs. Though these inebriating items are their stock in trade, the food is simple, yet twisted into elegance. We humbly suggest the cast-iron mac and cheese, as it breathes new life into the dish.
Location: 8-08 Queens Plaza S
Asiatic with hints of the pacific islands, Penthouse 808 will almost surely require a reservation as their plush couches and cozy wicker chairs tend to invite patrons to while away the hours munching on sushi rolls, spareribs, and katsu that are simultaneously exotic and familiar.
Location: 450 E 29th St
Tom Colicchio of Top Chef fame is behind this beautiful and costly experience, with Chef Bryan Hunt at the helm of the kitchen. Grilled quail, baby octopus, and Pekin duck breast are a few of the meager marvels you’ll fine to fill your gut and empty your wallet.
Location: 8, 99 Gansevoort St
The views that go along with the Studio Cafe end with the skyline and begin down in the galleries of the Whitney Museum of American Art below. You’ll need a day pass through the museum to access the duck meatloaf from meat maestro Michael Anthony. If it’s too late, you can visit Untitled, which is the sister restaurant to the Cafe that stays open much later.
Location: 65, 30 Rockefeller Plaza
Famous for a reason, you can’t go wrong with at least trying the Rainbow Room for a chance to look out over the dazzling city and thank the stars above that you aren’t down amongst the throngs for a few blessed minutes as the heavenly food sweeps you away.
Roof at Esh
Location: 98 N 6th St
Israeli BBQ almost seems like a contradiction, though when it’s done by chef Ilan Hal and backed up by a look at the Brooklyn borough, it seems as natural as lying to your parents about why you aren’t married. We suggest giving it a whirl for brunch, as the evening crowd tends to get a little raucous as they belly up to the bar.
Location: 67 S 6th St
A converted auto-shop snuck in beneath the Williamsburg bridge, perhaps Bia isn’t the fanciest establishment. It has oil drum tables and an industrial design that is replete with unpretentious charm that complements the fine Vietnamese cuisine and plenty of beer on tap for an off-beat vibe that impresses slowly though permanently.
L’isola Wood Fired Bar & Ristorante
Location: 128 Metropolitan Ave
A fairy tale setting only a few stories above the street, the pizza is always fresh and gently charred, the lighting is playfully romantic, and the rustic wooden tables invite patrons to seek out new friends over bubbling mozzarella.