NEW YORK, April 26, 2011 — When you’re spending $12 on a cocktail in Manhattan, shouldn’t it at the very least come with a great view? We think so. Here are our four picks for bars where you can enjoy a drink and a nosh, way up where the air is rarified — and the skyline looks even starrier.
Upstairs at the Kimberly
This flexible indoor/outdoor space, open year-round, sits 30 stories above East Midtown, nestled among similarly tall buildings. That gives this spot a warm, cozy vibe — even with the dramatic 360-degree views.
Those to the south are perhaps the best, where you can enjoy a cocktail en plein air with a perfectly framed Chrysler Building in the background. Weekend brunch is quite the party here: From noon to 2 p.m., for $15, the bar serves up endless Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and beer while DJs spin a groovy mix of old and new Euro favorites. The menu ranges from light (California spinach quiche) to rich (truffled duck egg toast) to super-rich (French toast with seared foie gras and carmelized apples) and with prices from $12 to $32.
True, it’s been open since 2006, but the sheen has yet to wear off this massiveindoor/outdoor hotspot. First, there’s its sheer size: 22,000 square feet of open rooftop garden (along with 8,000 square feet in the enclosed, glass-walled penthouse lounge) which ensures that you can find a seat somewhere.
Second: the space is open year-round, from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., with heaters, robes and blankets to keep you toasty during the colder months.
Third, and perhaps most impressive are the city views — especially that of the Empire State Building, which looms so big and bright; it looks like it’s right next door (in fact, it’s a mere 7 blocks north). For a completely different, non-nighttime experience, stop by for the popular Saturday and Sunday brunch, with dishes averaging around $12.
Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
A true oasis in the city, the bar atop the fifth floor of the Met just skims the treetops, offering incomparable views of Central Park and the surrounding iconic buildings (think: the Dakota, the Plaza, the Pierre). But here, you also get a dose of culture with your drink; the work of British sculptor Anthony Caro will be up when the café opens for the season, on April 26.
The themed cocktail menu, specially created to complement the steel sculptures, is served only on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 to 8 p.m., when the museum stays open late.
Wine, beer, soda and coffee are available every day but Monday (when the Met is closed), as is a small bites menu.
Bonus: weekday afternoons are usually far less crowded, so it’s a great time to relax with a glass of vino. Heck, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Set to open later this spring is a spacious beer garden atop of one of the city’s most celebrated new foodie venues, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s Eataly. It will offer views of Madison Square Park and the Empire State Building, along with microbrews crafted on-site by biermeisters Sam Calagione (of Dogfish Head) and Teo Musso (of Birra Baladin). Pizza and sausages will also be served. A retractable roof insures the boozing will carry on, no matter the weather.
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