Toward evening, champions of the work force erupt from organizations, eager for a bevy with peers, a peek at current trendsetters or a brief romantic encounter. They climb or ride to rooftops where they can enjoy a stunning sunset and the glittering lights of the skyline. They’re among the gods of the New York sky. Following are a few rooftop bar/lounges that are as unique in atmosphere as they are in location.
Mr. Purple. 180 Orchard Street, 15th floor, 212-237-1790.
Passing oversized artwork created by Lee Quinones, the legendary subway graffitist, whose work in the lobby entered mainstream art, visitors ride the elevator to Hotel Indigo and climb the staircase to Mr. Purple. The chic, loft-look is evident by the use of wood, concrete, metal pipes and glass-globe lights. The skyline is the art. The wide bar, tables and the contemporary leather banquette in the capacious room offer a view of the East Village. During warmer months, open doors lead to a narrow terrace where purple tables and chairs suit intimate gatherings.
Lounge chairs, a bar and an outdoor pool adorn the west side of the building. The popular Mr. Purple cocktail is created with Casamigos reposado tequila (George Clooney and business partner Rande Gerber’s creation in 2012), cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple and lemon. (All cocktails are $16.) Beer on tap, in cans and bottles is $6 to $8. The wine list ranges from $12 to $17 per glass. Sparkling wines are $13 to $25 per glass. Wines by the bottle range from $48 to $400. The extensive bar menu suits all tastes. Hummus, salads, burgers and flatbreads are featured. The Mr. Purple specialties, crispy fried calamari ($14) and tuna tartar with radish and harissa, served with wonton chips ($18) are spectacular.
Azul on the Rooftop and Bar Hugo at 525 Greenwich Street, 212-608-4848.
A flight of narrow stairs from the spacious Bar Hugo Lounge leads visitors to Azul on the Rooftop. Colorfully painted walls, card tables and chairs (there are comfortable banquettes that flank the space as well), images of Cuban entertainers like the DeCastro Sisters and revolutionaries like Che Guevara and the gigantic water tower that stands high above the center of the bar are reminiscent of a bygone bohemian West Village “tar beach.”
Open during warm weather months, Azul on the Rooftop features a breathtaking 360-degree view of New York – the World Trade Tower, Statue of Liberty, Empire State and the Chrysler buildings. On Sundays at 8 pm the Grupo Irek Cuban band is the crowd pleaser, as is the powerful Mojito, the Moonshine Negroni and the Giggle Juice. Prices for cocktails range from $15 to $17, still wines from $14 to $17, while sparkling wines are $16 to $28. Bocaditos are served from 5pm to 11pm and include guacamole & Chips ($10), homemade soft-shell corn tortillas ($16) and the lounges own Pico De Gallo & chips (salsa with fresh ingredients, $8).
One flight below, guests can enjoy the dramatic views of the Hudson and lower Manhattan at the sophisticated Bar Hugo. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to a terrace, affording a New York summertime breeze or the snap of New York’s colder clime, while luxurious leather seating sections inside offer a cozy atmosphere.
The Press Lounge, 653 Eleventh Avenue, 16th floor, 212-757-2224 was created in 2010 by the addition of two floors atop inc48. A moratorium on developing Hell’s Kitchen saved the low-rises, giving the lounge a stunning view of downtown as far as the eye can see, in addition to the rest of the 360-degree vista of New York. Trees, plants and a contemporary fireplace are on rollers and can be moved around to add ambiance and privacy to weddings and events, and an entire section of can be closed off by a glass paneled garage door during winter. Megan Boledovich cares for the foliage and hyroponic towers on the lounge and is the forager who purchases ingredients from local farms and regional suppliers for the lounge and the mouth-watering restaurant menu.
Signature cocktails ($18) are named after fonts. The favorite cocktail is the Rockwell, a bourbon, ginger carpano bianco and grapefruit juice drink. Wines by the glass only are $13 and $15, beers are $13. The assorted Salumi plate, farmstead cheeses ($20 each), hummus ($14), olives and nuts ($7 each) make up the small bite menu.
The PRINT restaurant like the lounge is casual and elegant and serves creative fresh salads and entrees. The house-made, warm squid ink brioche ($5) comes with whipped lardo and sesame seeds. Items on the dinner menu range from $14 to $45.
The Roof, 124 West 57th Street, 212-707-8008. Among the soaring office buildings on the 29th floor of the Viceroy Central Park New York, the Roof’s lounge and outdoor terrace overlooking Central Park offers neighborhood movers and shakers and hotel visitors a chance to unwind. Caramel-colored wood and leather define the space. Images by Montauk photographer Dalton Portella adorn the interior walls. The Roof’s terrace is open year round. Heat lamps and blankets offer guests a warm and luxurious respite in the colder months. The menu features an extensive list of small-batch spirits, regionally brewed craft beers and global wine offerings. Rooftop Lemonade with Belvedere vodka, fresh squeezed lemonade and cucumber is the favorite summer drink ($18). Small plates include a delicious Avocado toast with chili, lemon and olive oil ($16).
The Roof Garden Bar at the Metropolitan Museum. 1000 Fifth Avenue, 212-535-7710. When opened in 1987, critics deemed the bucolic setting, which overlooks Central Park and the New York skyline, of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden a detraction from the art. Still, the Roof Garden Bar has become a popular favorite among those meeting for an after work drink and a light repast and to see the presentation, currently the large-scale sculpture by Cornelia Parker, titled Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), (through October 31.
The café and bar offers food and drink specials created in the theme of Parker’s oeuvre. Premium spirits and specialty beverages named “Corpse Reviver,” made from Brockman’s Gin, Cointreau, Lillet and Absinthe, and the favorite “Red Barn Sangria” ($15) are offered. Vodka, Raspberry, Mint and Lime Juice make up the “Crime of Passion.” The specialty drinks are available without alcohol ($7). Wines by the glass are $13. Beer and spiked sodas are $9 and $10. Sandwiches and Salads are $11.75. As part of the MetFridays, (Friday and Saturday evenings), the Roof Garden Bar and museum stays open until 8:15 pm and are open to the public with a suggested donation for admission.