On top of New York: The city’s best rooftop bars, restaurants, lounges and after-work hangouts

New York Daily News
The New York City Local

Brenna Cammeron, Daily News Staff Writer

After a long day at the office or roasting in the city streets, few places are more restorative than New York's rooftop hangouts. Armed with a cool beverage, a refreshing breeze and a panoramic view of the city's skyline, workplace worries melt away faster than you can say "more ice, please!"

Here, some of the best sky-high spots to be seen, with options for every budget:

TAKE A DIP: Poolside at the Thompson LES
190 Allen St., 3rd Flr. (Lower East Side)

Open your eyes underwater at this chic LES rooftop pool and see a huge black-and-white work of art staring back: the floor of the Thompson's swimming pool is adorned with a photolithograph of Andy Warhol's iconic image. That sets the tone for this arty-yet-approachable rooftop, tucked on the third floor of this bustling hotel. Enjoy the view of the pool or the skyline above while sipping specialty cocktails and delectable Asian-inspired small plates from the restaurant's equally sophisticated restaurant, Shang

SAVE A BUCK: Mé Bar
At the La Quinta Hotel, 17 W. 32nd St., top floor (K-Town)

A hidden gem and after-work destination for plenty of New Yorkers in the know, Mé Bar is an unassuming rooftop on the top of the La Quinta hotel in Koreatown that earns points for its low-key, blue collar-friendly vibe and equally wallet-friendly drinks. Where cocktail prices at other rooftops are often as stratospheric as their locales, beverages here, in the shadow of the Empire State Building, remain at happy hour prices long into the night. Complimentary spiced popcorn is a snack perk, but for a serious case of the munchies just order in - the bar allows patrons to get take out from any of the myriad restaurants surrounding the hotel.

ENJOY A FROSTY ONE: Birreria
At the top of Eataly, 200 5th Ave. (Flatiron)

The newest addition to the tremendously successful purveyor of all things Italian, Eataly NY, Birreria was one of the most hotly anticipated rooftop openings of the summer. Created by superchef duo Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, the rooftop restaurant and beer garden offers Italian and American craft beers as well as three cask ails brewed on-premises.

TOP EVERYONE ELSE: The Sky Room at the Fairfield Inn and Marriott Suites
330 W. 40th St. (Midtown West)

Billed as the highest rooftop in midtown, Sky Room sits on the 33rd and 34th floor above 40th Street. THe lounge's sprawling deck is carved out into five distinct spaces: the Times Square Lounge, the Cube balcony, the Private Salon, the North Terrace (with a retractable roof) and the South Terrace (outfitted with private cabanas). Head to Sky Room on a sunny Sunday for a special experience: from 1-5pm, the hotel serves an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet for only $30 per person.

SAVOR THE VIEW: Riverpark
450 E. 29th St. (Kip's Bay)

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio's waterside venture overlooking the East River offers outstanding cuisine with a view to match. The outdoors patio offers formal fine dining, and the brand-new, 72-seat terrace a more casual atmosphere for lounging. Either way, come for the view and stay for the food: light favorites include grilled bread and avocado, served with olive oil and sea salt ($6), and more hearty dishes include a squid-ink calamari ($16) and carmelized-endive swordfish ($28).

OTHER SUMMER HOTSPOTS TO WATCH FOR:

Hotel Williamsburg (Opening July 2011)
Williamsburg's been the home of a burgeoning food and bar scene for several years now, but the area lacks a truly luxurious boutique hotel. That changes this summer: The Hotel Williamsburg, opening on the edge of McCarren Park, will include an outdoor pool, a full-service restaurant named Pillar & Plough, and a brand-new rooftop lounge called The Watering Tower.  The hotel and its dining areas don't open until July, but expect "sweeping" panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, as well as a "tailored cocktail program" from the minds behind The Rusty Knot and The Randolph at Broome.

Z Roof (Opening July 2011)
Historically, industrial Long Island City hasn't been much of a destination for food, drink or arts culture -- but with the addition of P.S. 1 and M. Wells Diner, that trend is quickly shifting. Adding another element to the area's swiftly-shifting skyline: the upcoming opening of Z New York Hotel, which will offer some of the most sweeping panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline from the vantage point of its sprawling rooftop bar, "Z Roof."

OTHER BEST BETS:

Berry Park (Williamsburg)

230 Fifth (Flatiron)

Hudson Terrace (Midtown)