Kick back, grab a drink and relax at some of the city's best outdoor drinking spots. 

By Alison Fox
July 26, 2019
Courtesy of Nowadays

There’s nothing as quintessentially New York as finding a place to drink outside as the weather warms up. Gone are the days of hunkering down in a dark bar away while warming up from the frigid temperatures of winter.

In New York, summer means fizzy cocktails, frosé and time spent outdoors, soaking up the warm days and nights.

In many cases, that means a rooftop bar (and there are plenty of great ones). But you can also enjoy drinking away the long days of summer on the ground level from the city’s many gardens — or boats or barges or a mini golf course…

Here are some of the best places to drink outside that don’t require an elevator to a rooftop.

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

Melissa Hom/Courtesy of Maison Premiere

From the hanging lights to the covered trellises, pebbled ground and overflowing greenery all around, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a backyard in New Orleans. And between the absinthe service and cocktails like the À la Louisiane (with Wild Turkey Rye, vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud’s and absinthe) — plus eats like oysters and seafood gumbo — you’ll never want to “come back” to New York.

To find: Maison Premiere, 298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Crab, Red Hook

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Grab a beer or frozen margarita and settle in for a competitive (but friendly) game of mini golf or corn hole in the beer garden, known as Reed Park. Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables when you get tired and enjoy a bowl of New England clam chowder with cherry stone crabs, mussels and bacon, or a snow crab roll with orange cholula aioli and chives.

To find: Brooklyn Crab, 24 Reed St, Brooklyn

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria

Courtesy of Bohemian Hall

Try a German or Czech beer at this sprawling beer garden in Queens and enjoy the warm summer atmosphere from one of the long picnic tables. If you get hungry, grab a plate of pilsner beef goulash, schnitzel or fried Muenster “smazak” (or fried cheese, a Czech specialty).

To find: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue, Queens

Nowadays, Ridgewood

Courtesy of Nowadays

Who needs chairs when you have hammocks? That’s the philosophy at this outdoor bar that feels more like a park where drinks happen to be served. Grab one of eight rotating Evil Twin Brewing beers on tap (they’re based just a couple blocks away), and some watermelon for dessert at this dog-friendly space.

To find: Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Avenue, Queens

Frying Pan, Chelsea

Courtesy of Frying Pan

The Lightship Frying Pan was first built in 1929 and was in service for 30 years before it was retired and then brought to the city in 1989, according to the bar. Now, the ship-turned-bar is permanently moored to the west side of Manhattan and serves a full bar and menu (think lobster rolls and crab cakes) at its Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill on days when temperatures reach above 65 degrees from April to October.

To find: Frying Pan, Pier 66 at West 26th Street, Manhattan

Boat Basin Cafe, Upper West Side

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Take in the views of the Hudson River at this Upper West Side outdoor patio and terrace inside Riverside Park. Frozen margaritas, daiquiris and piña coladas go perfectly with fried calamari or a New York-style hotdog with sauerkraut, as well as the light breeze coming off the river. And while the whole space is open, a beautiful arched stone ceiling provides some cover from rainy days.

To find: Boat Basin Cafe, West 79th Street, Manhattan

North River Lobster Company, Hell’s Kitchen

Courtesy of North River Lobster Company

All aboard this floating bar and restaurant that sets sail from Pier 81 at West 41st Street and cruises up and down the Hudson River several times a day. While onboard, settle into a table on the upper deck for some frosé or a Davey Jones cocktail (with gin, crème de violette, lemon, fassionola and cranberry) as well as five different kinds of lobster rolls — including one that’s 28 inches long for a whopping $99, ya know, if you’re really hungry. It’s $10 to board (or $25 for a season pass), but the views of the skyline makes it worth every penny.

To find: North River Lobster Company, Pier 81 at West 41st Street, Manhattan

The Brooklyn Barge, Greenpoint

Courtesy of The Brooklyn Barge

This floating barge overlooks the Manhattan skyline, making it the perfect daytime hangout for you (and your pups). Enjoy some rosé or an Aperol Spritz (one of the most controversial and popular drinks of the season) from the sunny shores of the East River.

To find: The Brooklyn Barge, 79 West Street, Brooklyn

Pig Beach, Gowanus

Courtesy of Pig Beach

Bring the whole family (pups and kids included) to this lively beer garden where you can get beer and wine on tap to go with meat from the smoker and mac and cheese with Goldfish. Long picnic tables and string lights give the space an inviting feel from the hot summer days and long into the evening.

To find: Pig Beach, 480 Union Street, Brooklyn

City Vineyard at Pier 26, Tribeca

Courtesy of City Vineyard

Watch the sunset over the Hudson River with a glass of rosé on tap at this Tribeca hotspot. Grab a seat under the trellises and grapevines in one of several outdoor spaces all with sweeping views of the downtown skyline and pair your wine with light dishes like wild mushroom risotto balls or salmon tartar.

To find: City Vineyard, Pier 26 at Hubert Street, Manhattan

Grand Banks, Tribeca

Courtesy of Grand Banks

This docked sailboat and oyster bar brings a certain posh energy to the outdoor bar experience with the wood deck, carved wood bar and bright yellow and white striped awning inviting you to step aboard. Sip a nautically inspired cocktail like the Skipper Key (with rosé, lemon, cassis, strawberry cordial and seltzer) while you enjoy a plate of oysters — all wild-caught and sustainably harvested.

To find: Grand Banks, Pier 25 at North Moore Street, Manhattan

The Biergarten at The Standard, High Line, Meatpacking District

Courtesy of The Biergarten at The Standard, High Line

The sprawling beer garden on the ground level of The Standard, High Line and underneath the High Line offers the best of German food and drink — grab a beer stein and pair it with a giant pretzel for a taste of Bavaria right in New York City. And an adjacent game room with foosball and a giant connect four means you’ll never be bored.

To find: The Biergarten at The Standard, High Line, 848 Washington, Manhattan

Stone Street, Financial District

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This one-block, cobblestone street is the place to be downtown after work on a warm summer day. Grab an outdoor seat in the middle of the street at any one of the several bars lining the pedestrian-only block like Stone Street Tavern or The Dubliner for a beer and a taste of what having a drink might have been like for the Founding Fathers in New York City (probably not, but we can pretend).

To find: Stone Street, between Coenties Alley and Mill Lane, Manhattan

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