Sure the Empire State Building has amazing views of NYC, but you know what it doesn’t have? A good cocktail. Whenever my friends come to visit I always suggest that they stop by a rooftop bar instead of paying the $32 to go to the top of the Empire State Building. These are a few of my favorite rooftop bars in NYC.

7 Rooftop Bars to Visit Instead of the Empire State Building
View from Le Bain (above view from Pod 39)

1. Pod Hotel 39

145 E 39th Street (pictured above)

This rooftop bar is pretty small but it has a lot of character. Get there early for happy hour to get a seat and order a speciality margarita.

2. 230 Fifth

230 5th Avenue

230 Fifth often hosts events (I’ve seen a few concerts here) and has the most comparable views to the Empire State Building.

3. Empire Hotel

44 West 63rd Street

The Empire Hotel is a great dance and party spot. Take a break for a picture under the iconic Empire Hotel sign.

4. Rare View Chelsea

152 West 26th Street

This is my favorite rooftop bar. They have a second rooftop location in Murray Hill if you’re in that area as well. Order a speciality cocktail and enjoy the view.

5. Roof Garden Café & Martini Bar at the Met

1000 5th Avenue

It may not be as high as the other rooftops but the view overlooking the park is pretty gorgeous, especially at sunset.

6. Top of the Strand

33 W 37th Street

If you’re looking for a date night rooftop definitely check out Top of the Strand. It’s pretty small but has a great atmosphere.

7. Le Bain

848 Washington Street (pictured below)

I love going to Le Bain in the summer on Sunday afternoons. It’s a great spot to relax with some champagne and take in the view from downtown.