· Sky Terrace—Admittedly, it is a select crowd that gets to enjoy the lush, canopied hideout on the 15th floor of the Hudson Hotel. Morgans Hotel Group Global Card-holders are usually the first ones up, followed by regular hotel guests, and the occasional friend of a friend. This summer, the Hudson is teaming up with Kanon Vodka for a promotional series every Thursday evening—anyone who sends a tweet to @Kanonvodka or @HudsonNYC during the day (by 3pm) and then checks in at the hotel on Foursquare will be eligible for a card that grants them access to Sky Terrace. Free drinks were too good to be true, but all this social media business will land you a half-price coupon.
What you'll get: VIP access, Hudson river views, and the chance to finally try out "that Foursquare thing."
· Above 6—It seems fitting to circle back to a hotel that first vexed us with a striking anti-view. But once we ascended to the roof of Six Columbus, the view at Above 6 became a huge improvement—instead of a drain pipe, we find ourselves face-to-face with the sound end of Central Park. Above 6—just like the rest of the 60s-inspired, Steven Sclaroff-designed hotel—feels secluded, minimal, and arty, and was described by co-owner Jason Pomeranc as contributing "a jewel-box element."
What you'll get: try the Hummingbird (Avinyo Cava, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, lime) while you enjoy your very own panorama of Central Park.
· Jimmy—Just last week, we gushed about the forthcoming public pool hours at Jimmy, but we'd like to nominate the James New York's chic Soho penthouse bar for this list too. Jimmy is certainly not the largest hotel rooftop bar out there, nor does it offer any special DJ nights or happy hours. What it has going for it—in addition to the gorgeous steel wire liquor cabinet and a food menu from David Burke Kitchen—is a perfect balance between accessibility and exclusivity, possibly a result of partner David Rabin's intention for Jimmy to "feel like a bar that might be anywhere on a ground-floor space."
What you'll get: stunning views of lower Manhattan from the outdoor pool area, plus a dark, intimate lounge area with a welcoming vibe.
· BeerParc—Last summer, the 282-room Eventi encroached on the Ace Hotel's hard-won midtown territory with a flashy tapas restaurant, secluded courtyard, and futuristic food court to boot. But the hotel goes one step further with BeerParc, situated in the courtyard behind FoodParc. A rotating selection of beers—currently on tap, Magic Hat #9, Radeberger Pilsner and Tucher Helles Hefeweizen—and nibbles—like Ed's Chowder will be available through a ticket system (most selections hover in the 1–3 ticket price range.
What you'll get: a sprawling midtown beer garden with a 35-foot high outdoor television screen.
· Gramercy Park Terrace—Even though Ian Schrager has left the Gramercy Park Hotel, recent changes up at the 18th-floor Gramercy Terrace—Italian-inspired tapas and a seasonal cocktail menu—have been a step in the right direction. Foliage literally explodes out of the deck chairs and trellises here, and high-profile events have often drawn celebrities like Rihanna, Ed Westwick, and Ryan Phillippe. To top it off, the hotel started a rooftop garden to source ingredients for its cocktails.
What you'll get: a quiet, country club vibe and fresh cocktails.
· Empire Hotel Rooftop—We savored the convenience of a 63rd St-located hotel back in February when we needed a break from the Fashion Week crowd. In the warmer months, the Empire Hotel (home to one of the most recognizable neon signs in the entire city) makes for great people-watching in the middle of Lincoln Center. And since one of the outdoor areas boasts a glass convertible roof, rain poses no problems.
What you'll get: try the "Rebecca's Royale Empire" (St. Germain, Raspberry Massenez, Champagne, raspberries, $15) before you head to a show at Lincoln Center.
· The Watering Hole—Drinking establishments in Williamsburg really run the gamut—artsy cocktail bars, live music venues, beer gardens, and nondescript dive bars are a dime a dozen—but a good Brooklyn panorama can be hard to find. In a few weeks, The Watering Tower at the Hotel Williamsburg will add itself to the trendy mix of local bars; but its 360 degree views of McCarren Park and the city skyline will certainly set it apart. Alchemy Consulting (Andaz 5th Ave, Andaz Wall Street, Randolph at Broome) will be taking care of the cocktails, while a downstairs pool offers the opportunity to cool off.
What you'll get: a refreshing way to enjoy the already-crammed, rapidly-changing neighborhood of Williamsburg, plus the chance to get out of Manhattan.
· W Downtown Living Room Terrace—Ground Zero recently underwent a resurgence, and there's no better place to check up on the forthcoming 9/11 memorial site than W New York Downtown's Living Room Terrace. At a recent Nylon Magazine party for cover girl Leighton Meester, Kanye West made a surprise appearance, sending the already-packed bar into a frenzy. To avoid such disturbances, keep to the cool outdoor lounge area, and make Kanye come to you!
What you'll get: a stylish after-work crowd and mid-range cocktails in the Financial District.
· Terrace—Slated to open June 1, this new outdoor space at Yotel is billing itself as "New York's largest outdoor hotel patio," and has promised three separate bar areas. So if you were at all worried about the actual rooms being too small, at least they haven't skimped on lounge space. Terrace also happens to be New York's most far-flung hotel patio, situated all the way over on Tenth Avenue (the Times Square proximity thing is kind of a stretch, if you ask us).
What you'll get: pitchers of cocktails, bowls of punch and steins of beer, all safe from the noise of Times Square.