turned away from 230 Fifth more times than we’ve been let in, but it’s
the rare spot where it actually feels worth the $15 for a cocktail. Do
not make the mistake of staying for more than one, though—this place is
meant for soaking up the view and closing the deal.
230 5th Ave. (betw.
W. 26th & W. 27th Sts.), 212-725-4300.
The garden dining room at
this Williamsburg restaurant serves tasty Italian grub in an intimate,
secluded outdoor dining area. In case of a summer rain, you can still
eat outside beneath a stunning glass roof.
70 Grand St. (at Wythe Ave.),
We all know about bahn mi, but at this traditional
Vietnamese bar you can sample more then a popular sandwich. Make a night
of it and order a six-pack (or 12-pack) of Singha or Taj Mahal to
complement your spicy pho at one of Bai Garden’s al fresco community
154 Orchard St. (betw. Rivington & Stanton Sts.),
Forget the dance nights that you already know about at Bar 13 and
head up two flights of stairs and party on the roof deck. Not only can
you chug cold beer in the fresh summer air, but this place is chockfull
of NYU students on break and looking for fun.
35 E. 13th St. (at
University Pl.), 212-979-6677.
This Upper East Side eatery dishes up an
authentic Italian menu with a side of modern elegance. Dine inside or
alfresco (the outside café seats 60) and have your way with hefty,
moderately priced dishes like the Spaghetti Lobster or the Mediterranean
Orata—then head over to the Sunday night party where dancing comes
after dinner at midnight.
1439 2nd Ave. (at E. 75th St.), 212-288-8555.
The Black Rabbit
hour all night on Monday? Awesome beats spinning on the bartenders’
iPods and the best bar snacks this side of the East River? Sometimes it
feels like we’re the pets in this relationship.
91 Greenpoint Ave.
(betw. Manhattan Ave. & Franklin St.), Brooklyn, 718-349-1595.
Boat Basin Café
habit of attracting obnoxiously wholesome Uptown types, there’s
something about this place that lures us back each summer. Perhaps it’s
the readily available snacks, the huge-for-New-York space or the view of
the setting sun burning off the toxic Jersey air—whatever it is, it’s
worth the trip.
West 79th Street & West Side Highway, 212-496-5542.
Bohemian Hall &
This is the beer garden that trumps all beer gardens. While
these kinds of bars have been popping up all over the city, Bohemian
Beer Garden has been serving up brews for 100 years. It’s old hat, sure,
but also totally worth the trek to Astoria to get a dish of history
with a side of sausage and beer.
2919 24th Ave. (betw. 29th & 31st
Sts.), Queens, 718-274-4925.
Cavatappo Wine Bar
Corks off to Cavatappo for giving
us a wine bar that doesn’t intimidate the varietal-challenged. With at
least 75 wines (labeled under easyto-understand headings like “Soft,
Supple and Easy Drinking”), Italian cheeses, meats, finger sandwiches
and a small outside seating area that accommodates 12 , Cavatoppo is a
full-bodied taste for wine enthusiasts or beer pongers trying to upgrade
their style without donning dress shoes and a tie.
1728 2nd Ave. (at E.
90th St.), 212-426-0919.
Central Park Boathouse
You’re going to need to go here
eventually, whether with parents who need their fears that you are
wasting your life assuaged or for some sort of event that requires a
tie. You might as well get used to it now and stop in for a glass of
white and some seasonal snacks.
Central Park, enter park at East 72nd
Street & Park Drive North, 212-517-2233.
Sure, sitting on the beach at Coney
Island and watching old people in small bathing suits is good for
boosting your body image, but even that gets old. What doesn’t, however,
is drinking beer in Cha Cha’s on the boardwalk.
1229 Boardwalk (betw.
Stillwell Ave. & W. 12th St.), Brooklyn, 718-946-1305.
have more room in their apartments than Manhattanites, but many still
lack a backyard. Enter this quaint French bistro, which boasts a
delightful garden and specials like the all-you-can-eat
mussels on Thursdays and fondue Tuesdays.
387 Myrtle Ave. (betw.
Vanderbilt & Claremont Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-858-1484.
Chesapeake Bay-inspired seafood joint is calling to us with its 40-seat
garden and menu including rock shrimp tacos and “Boardwalk Fries.”
Bleecker St. (at Grove St.), 212-675-2009.
This is one of our favorite East Village
beer and whiskey bars. Go out back with your pals to sip a $10 shot of
Redbreast Irish whiskey and watch the people. The Williamsburg location
is equally charming and, for some reason, almost never crowded.
Ave. (betw. E. 2nd & 3rd Sts.), 212- 475-5097 and 113 N. 7th St.
(betw. Wythe Ave. & Berry St.), Brooklyn, 718-218-6006.
greenery, water features and plenty of seats, you can drink high above
the Lower East Side at this rooftop bar. There’s normally something
interesting happening inside of The Delancey as well, if you’re into
that sort of thing.
168 Delancey St. (betw. Clinton & Attorney
(NEW) Double Windsor
Despite the heavy wooden interior, big, open
windows brighten this gastropub up. Grab a stool by the window and feel
the breeze as you sip a brew. Or, even better, come at night and you
can rest in peace—no babies are allowed in past 5:30.
210 Prospect Park
West (at 16th St.), Brooklyn, 347-725-3479.
barbecue already go together pretty damn well, but to make the
relationship just that much sweeter, Williamsburg’s newest haute dining
institution has decided to open a patio, newly laid with slate tiles,
for 20-30 lucky diners to relax on while they munch red curry-rubbed
duck and take in a view of the Williamsburg Bridge.
91 S. 6th St. (betw.
Bedford Ave. & Berry St.), Brooklyn, 718-599-3090.
don’t want to burn through your budget, frequent this Upper West Side
tavern (with sidewalk seating for 25) for cheap margaritas, tap and
bottled beers, and a selection of quesadillas, sandwiches, gourmet-style
pizza and Buffalo wings. A fun firehouse-themed décor (sans live
Dalmatian) welcomes everyone from pint-sized patrons to New York’s
522 Columbus Ave. (at W. 85th St.), 212- 787-3473.
Franklin Park Bar and Beer
With DJs, live music, beer flowing like water, a new in-house
burger joint and sweaty Brooklynites, what’s not to love about this
Crown Heights bar and its enormous patio?
618 St. John’s Pl. (betw.
Franklin & Classon Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-975-0196.
With over 20 beers
on draft (including a gluten-free option for the wheatards) you have
enough choices to help distract you from the stroller gangs of Park
Slope as they pass The Gate’s secluded front patio. You don’t even have
to feel guilty for spending your weekend in a bar, just gaze at the park
across the street and you can at least say you saw one.
321 5th Ave.
(at 3rd St.), Brooklyn, 718-768-4329.
The French fries cooked in duck fat
aren’t going to do anything to help you look better in a swim suit, but
if you’re taking up one of this Tribeca café’s 40 outdoor seats, you’ve
probably got enough money to get away with being unattractive.
Greenwich St. (at Harrison St.), 212-274-9310.
(NEW) Hot Bird
used to be known for the iconic “Hot Bird” sign on its wall, but now,
thanks to a new beer garden in the old chicken joint, it may be known
for something else. Rumor has it that soon there will also be a gourmet
food truck to make it so you almost never have to leave.
546 Clinton Ave.
(betw. Fulton St. & Atlantic Ave.), Brooklyn, no phone.
Hudson Beach Café
closed your eyes, you’d swear you were at a neighborhood barbecue, with
better service and better tasting food. Part of the P.D. O’Hurley’s
chain, the outdoor Café is perfect for appetizers or entrées from sea or
land, while watching New Yorkers get their sport on in Riverside Park.
Riverside Park, enter park at West
103rd Street & Riverside Drive,
Now open for its second year, Hudson Terrace will be hosting
more than just its infamous late-night action. The rooftop club will
have a summer full of theme nights—hello, Taco Tuesdays and Beer Garden
Fridays— underneath its new retractable roof, insuring that your
gluttony won’t be ruined by rain.
621 W. 46th St. (betw. 11th & 12th
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
Escape the tourists milling
about the Metropolitan Museum of Art and take the elevator all the way
to the roof. In addition to the Big Bambú installation, you’ll find a
great view and a small bar that serves margaritas, mojitos, mixed drinks
and ice cream.
1000 5th Ave. (at E. 82nd St.), 212-535-7710.
(NEW) Lina Frey
June, channeling a warm Paris afternoon will be a lot easier thanks to
this new crepe stand. If you’re looking to linger, we recommend taking a
seat inside, where, with a retractable roof, you still get the sense of
dining al fresco.
201 E. Houston St. (betw. Ludlow & Orchard Sts.),
Anything goes at the popular South African restaurant in Fort Greene.
Snag a sidewalk table to sip potent cocktails and munch on Ostrich
Carpaccio while chatting up the other diners—who have that
Fort Greene habit of being gorgeous and international.
195 Dekalb Ave.
(at Carlton St.), Brooklyn, 718-855-9190.
The Mermaid Inn
Some of the best seafood in the
city swam over to this petite sister restaurant of the Mermaid Oyster
Bar. With a decent-sized outdoor café, you can munch on oysters and sip
white wine while watching East Villagers march down the street.
Ave. (betw. E. 5th & E. 6th Sts.), 212- 674-5870.
(NEW) Mission Dolores
maybe the Internet is killing print, but one thing it does not do is
hinder our excitement at checking out this new Gowanus bar’s ever
changing beer list, which is posted online. With 20 draft choices
including one cask, and an open, airy space made from recycled
materials, we say viva technology!
249 4th Ave. (betw. President St.
& Carroll St.), Brooklyn, 718-399-0099.
It’s time for another summer of basking
in the sun outside this Upper West Side bar. P&G might have lost
its iconic neon sign when it moved, but the current location is bigger
and, with an upgraded terrace, better for the warm weather.
Ave. (at W. 78th St.), 212-874-8568.
Pretend you are in a tropical location (not
hard to do in the humid nightmare of August) and perch under a palm
tree at this Greenpoint Mexican hub. Stuffing your face with spicy
burritos and tacos and chasing them with a cold margarita helps to beat
the outside heat away—and a three-times-daily happy hour keeps it from
costing as much as an actual vacation.
999 Manhattan Ave. (at Huron
St.), Brooklyn, 718-349-7292.
The Pier i Café
Take in scenic Hudson River views
while enjoying burgers, freshly squeezed blueberry lemonade, or fresh
fruit sangria in this alfresco café. For a full day, time your visit
with any number of summer events happening in the ever-improving
Riverside Park South.
Riverside Park, enter at West 70th Street,
Private Roof Club and Garden
The Gramercy Park Hotel is glamorous and
supposedly impenetrable, but the rooftop boite, featuring a retractable
roof and food prepared by Nick Anderer, the executive chef of Danny
Meyer’s Maialino, is actually open to the public. Still, try dressing up
if you don’t want to be turned away.
2 Lexington Ave. (at E. 21st St.),
The only thing illegal at this Upper West Side restaurant (with live
music) is not having a good time. Enjoy live rock, blues, jazz and
hip-hop (with no cover), menu selections that accommodate the serious
diner (try the grilled salmon in a balsamic glaze) or the casual sampler
(mini cheeseburgers). Dine inside with a 1920s swagger or on the 22seat
sidewalk café. The backroom, with pool table, can be booked for private
parties of up to 70 people.
503 Columbus Ave. (at W. 84th Street),
The backyard of this cozy bar is illuminated with soft strings of
lights and intimate tables, perfect for downing one of their tasty
cocktails, like the spicy Chili Lime with vodka drink or the fresh
Greenport Cooler with cucumber, lemon and mint muddled with vodka. There
are also pastries from D.U.B. pies and a barbeque ready to use.
Ave. (at 20th St.), Brooklyn, 718-788-0989.
(NEW) Rare View Chelsea
Starting this Memorial
Day, get your kicks looking down on Chelsea from the new rooftop bar of
the Fashion 26 Hotel. Unfortunately, no one from below can see how
stylish you look sipping a frosty, fruity cocktail and gazing longingly
at the awesome view of the Empire State building and the grit of this
part of Broadway.
152 W. 26th St. (at 7th Ave.), 212-807-7273.
trumps trends at Reif’s Tavern. Drink beer, play pool, throw darts, or
if you call ahead, you can BYOM—Bring Your Own Meat—for the outdoor
grill on the backyard patio. The tight-knit regulars welcome a new face
but it might be wise to keep your Red Sox shout-outs to yourself at this
302 E. 92nd St. (betw. 1st & 2nd Aves.), 212-426-0519.
(NEW) The Rock Shop
Though this newborn little sister of the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury
Lounge isn’t quite ready to become a grand music venue like its
siblings, you can still enjoy the rooftop deck of this new Park Slope
sports bar. Once it matures, owner Michael Winsch plans to offer music
and food to add to its already solid summertime pull.
249 4th Ave. (at
Carroll St.), Brooklyn, 718-230-5740.
(NEW) The Sky Room
its 360-degree view of Manhattan and the Hudson River, we’re excited for
this venue’s early June opening. Aside from being 34 floors above Times
Square, we look forward to ordering drinks from the New York skyline
330 W. 40th St. (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.), 212-380-1195.
this Williamsburg haunt might be ground zero for boat shoes and whatever
facial hair we’re going to be subjected to this summer, the newly
expanded backyard makes it easy to grab a table and down a few pints.
Bring your own snacks from St. Anselm, the owner’s recently opened
restaurant—it serves homemade scrapple!
359 Metropolitan Ave. (at
Havemeyer St.), Brooklyn, 718-963-4140.
The Standard Beer Garden
There are a few ways
to make the Meatpacking District bearable, and the most effective of
those is by drinking. Do it here, under the old train tracks, with a
cool German brew in your hand.
848 Washington St. (at W. 13th St.),
Even if this year-old beer garden looks a bit sterile, it’s well
worth the journey to Queens to chow on the cheap German sausages,
burgers and a weekend brunch of kegs-n-eggs. Of course, there’s the beer
too. Rivers of sweet, golden, delicious beer. Just do yourself a favor
and skip the sangria on tap.
35-33 36th St. (betw. 35th & 36th
Aves.), Queens, 718-383-1001.
Who ever thought there would be a beach
in Bed-Stuy? This retrofitted bar has turned its backyard into a
sandbox, and while it might not work in the rain, it’s perfect in the
sun. With cheap specials, this Brooklyn bar kicks a little sand into
Manhattan’s pricey cocktail craze.
348 Franklin Ave. (betw. Greene &
Lexington Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-398-2472.
(NEW) The Tangled Vine
over 160 bottles of mainly sustainable and organic wine don’t excite
you, the rich food menu and airy bar table seating will. Open only for a
few months, this new wine bar will soon feature an outdoor café to add
to the luxury of summer tippling.
434 Amsterdam Ave. (at W. 81st St.),
A reasonably priced menu features fresh Turkish-style
hummus, Corona-battered fish ‘n’ chips and paninis. Get gritty with
live comedy shows with no cover, an after-work Latin Party, and live
musicians and bands. The outside café seats about 30 but remember, what
happens underground stays underground.
995 West End Ave. (at W. 107th
Not far from where the G and L trains intersect sits the
granddaddy of all Williamsburg hangouts. With a large backyard, tasty
taco truck, live music, a photo booth, cheap-ish drinks and an
always-rowdy crowd, you’re sure to run into someone you know or someone
you’ll get to know, if you catch our drift.
484 Union Ave. (at Meeker
Ave.), Brooklyn, 718-609-0484.
Uptown Restaurant and Lounge
Get down at Uptown with a
live acoustic band on Monday nights, a three-piece jazz trio on Tuesday
nights, or DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. Select from a diverse menu
that includes coconut shrimp and goat cheese pizza, while you enjoy
daily happy hour specials in a cozy nook or on the sidewalk café for
about 20 people.
1576 3rd Ave. (betw. E. 88th & E. 89th Sts.),
We love this year-old bar because it has a sweet $2-off-beer
happy hour (and the selection is awesome). And not only does the
backyard seat dozens of people, but the WiFi is stupendous should you
need to work or stream YouTube videos for boozy friends.
Ave. (at Park Pl.), Brooklyn, 917-407-3144.
(NEW) The Woods
The name of this new Southside
Williamsburg hangout might remind you of summer in the country, but it’s
the back patio that makes you really appreciate being in Brooklyn.
That, of course, and the shots of Jameson with a pickle-juice back and
rubbing elbows with the charming locals.
48 S. 4th St. (betw. Wythe
& Kent Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-782-4955.
Making frozen drinks at
home usually ends up ruining a pile of dish towels and disappointing
everyone involved, but Jorge Guzman, co-owner and beverage director at
Ofrenda in the West Village—known for inventive drinks like the “Mayan
Cocktail,” with chocolate tequila, coffee syrup and grapefruit
bitters—offers some tips for making your own margaritas and not screwing
them up completely. [Mike Spence]
Use Fresh Ingredients and Use The Right Amount “The
biggest mistake is that most people don’t use fresh ingredients,” he
says over drinks on a recent afternoon. “Make sure you measure
everything, because it really is all about the balance.”
“The most important
ingredient to use, obviously, is a decent tequila. I would recommend
using fresh lime juice and agave nectar instead of sugar.”
Think Outside Of The
Blender “People are liking Micheladas more and more…That’s a Mexican
drink with beer, Tabasco sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper. It’s a
little spicy but it’s also really fresh.”
Use Ingredients That Will Cool You Down “I
think the perfect ingredients are really light fruits: watermelon,
cucumber, tangerine or pineapple. We have a drink called the Rojo Fizz
that has pomegranate juice and sparkling wine, which is also nice in the
“I like to
mix different flavors, like a new drink I’m working on with watermelon
and jalapeño, using the sweet and hot tastes to work off each other.
It’s all about knowing your base liquor.”