New York City is famed for its hustle, bustle, and all-around fabulousness. After you’ve museum-hopped, shopped, and hit all the sights, chances are you’ll be ready for a cocktail or two … and of course, the city’s got its fair share of spots to visit.
From rooftops to posh European-type enclaves, here are 10 of our favorite luxe lounges to visit in New York City where you can kick back, grab a sip, and recharge.
1. The Crosby Bar
The Crosby Bar — located in SoHo’s Crosby Street Hotel — is a posh, comfortable place perfect for a break. The bar has a distinct British feel, and that’s by design: the Crosby Street Hotel is part of the Firmdale Hotel group, based in London. The cocktails here are refined, the wine list well-curated, and the bar bites including flatbreads and other small plates are absolutely delicious. While the bar is beautiful, colorful, and breezy, if you’d prefer to sip outside, there’s also a terrace. The Crosby Bar is also well-known for its afternoon tea, which is served all day long and can include a glass of champagne if you wish! Just be sure to reserve the service in advance.
2. The Refinery Rooftop
For great views, good food, and serious sips, the Refinery Rooftop at the top of the Refinery Hotel has you covered. Just steps away from beloved Bryant Park, there’s comfy indoor or outdoor seating available, and the view of the Empire State Building is simply stunning. The bar has a retractable glass roof, so if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you’re still protected against the elements. The Refinery Rooftop is a great place to raise a glass day or night. On a recent lunch/sip stop, we loved the kale and quinoa salad, as well as the sliders and truffled fries!
3. The Cantor Roof Garden
Chances are you’ll make a trip to the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art while you’re in NYC. While you could easily spend a week here — it’s the country’s largest art museum, after all — most of us cram one jam-packed day in. When you need a breather, head to the 5th floor. There you’ll find the Cantor Roof Garden, with its terrific views of Central Park. While its bar is currently closed due to COVID precautions, we hope it will open again soon. There’s no better pairing than fine art …and a fine cocktail or two!
4. Café Sabarsky
Tucked away inside a magical, hidden gem of a gallery on the Upper East Side is where you’ll find Café Sabarsky. Nestled inside the Neue Galerie — which is also absolutely worth a visit — this place evokes the feeling of a fin du siècle Viennese café. This cozy spot is outfitted with period pieces and light fixtures and serves up Austrian favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But the café is also the perfect place for a mid-day sweets and sips break after a day exploring the park. It’s got the best sachertorte we’ve tasted outside Austria, the apple strudel pairs well with the sparkling wines it also has to offer, and the hazelnut mousse cake is pure heaven! Grab a window-side booth for views of Central Park right across 5th Avenue.
5. The Red Rooster
Acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Harlem eatery is also one of the coolest spots to grab a handcrafted cocktail, thanks to live music performances most evenings just off the bar. Samuelsson’s attention to detail in his comfort food menu shines; mainstays including chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits are served in either the dining room or at the bar. The space at the Red Rooster is both funky and chic, with works from Harlem artists adorning the walls. Another plus: The restaurant is just steps from the subway station, making getting here a snap.
6. The Surrey
Perhaps the most exclusive lounge on this list, the rooftop garden and bar at the Surrey is only accessible for those staying at the chic Upper East Side hotel, or members of its Patrons Club. Much like the hotel where it’s located, this posh perch is well-appointed, modern, and luxe, and gives guests sweeping views of the NYC skyline and Central Park. It’s truly an oasis amid the city’s hustle and bustle, lined with wooden planters filled with flowers and herbs.
The wine and cocktail list is well-curated, and the little bites — both savory and sweet — are worth sampling. Bottom line: If you’re fortunate enough to score an invite or opportunity to head to the 17th floor at the Surrey, you’re in for a treat!
7. King Cole Bar
The iconic St. Regis New York has welcomed guests for more than 100 years, and its King Cole Bar is nothing short of legendary. It’s an old-school, top-shelf sort of space, and the birthplace of the Bloody Mary — although at King Cole, it’s lovingly called the more genteel sounding “Red Snapper.”
The entire lounge has an elegant feel, with its dark wood, sweeping bar, and iconic mural of that merry old soul, King Cole himself. Tables are first-come, first served, except for Table 55. That’s the only one with access to an exclusive chef’s custom-designed menu and a bespoke wine list from the hotel’s cellar. If you want to go all out for an unforgettable evening in New York, booking Table 55 is the perfect way to do it!
8. The Top Of The Standard
Old New York opulence is on full display at the Top of the Standard, in the city’s Standard Highline Hotel, located in the Meatpacking District. Small plates, smooth jazz, terrific cocktails, and incredible views await you in this gorgeous space. The décor is downright sexy, with its glittering accents and sweeping, curved bar. While the Top of the Standard is only open right now for private parties, it is set to go back online to the general public (with reservations, of course!) in late 2021. You can bet it will be worth the wait!
9. Dear Irving: Gramercy And On Hudson
Velvet settees and crystal beaded curtains combine to provide a dreamy, Art-deco, speakeasy-type atmosphere at Dear Irving Gramercy. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try the Marie Antoinette, a cocktail that pairs rum with crème de cacao, lemon, and raspberries. Small plates here include ceviche, tartare, and even lobster rolls! If you want service, all you have to do is push the call button at your table.
Its sister location, Dear Irving on Hudson, has a different flair but just as much style and sophistication. Located on the 40th and 41st stories of the Aliz Hotel, the lounge boasts a swank interior with incredible Upper West Side views.
10. Bemelmans Bar
To mix a bit of literary whimsy in with your luxe cocktail, make sure to make time for Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. This historic spot has long been a famous gathering place for New York’s glitterati and world leaders, and the bar is made even more enchanting thanks to Ludwig Bemelmans’ masterpiece murals.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s not happenstance: Bemelmans was a successful artist who became best known for the Madeline children’s books series. Using his distinct style of art, he transformed the bar with whimsical scenes of Central Park. Our favorite mural includes ice-skating elephants! Rather than be paid for his art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family.
We can’t blame him: The bar is gorgeous and has a terrific cocktail menu and extensive wine list. Bemelmans Bar also features live music nightly. While there is a cover, it’s well-worth the cost to soak in the vibe (and the drinks) here!
Don’t forget to bring proof of your COVID-19 vaccination during your trip to New York City (and all of its luxe lounges!); the city requires your card and ID to enter museums, events, restaurants, as well as all of the spots listed here!
New York City is a magnet for travelers: