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7 Best Summertime Bars In New York

From sidewalk seating and rooftop bars to backyard "gardens," you're only a block or two away from al fresco imbibing throughout most of the city. But if you're inhaling auto exhaust with each sip, forcing down corked Chardonnay or waiting two hours for an unfriendly doorman to admit you, what's the point? What you seek is an outdoor space with quality beverages, chill attitude and with any luck, a killer view.
Studio Square
(credit: Studio Square)

Studio Square S2
35-55 36th St (at 36th Ave)
Long Island City, NY 11106
(718) 383.1001

Minimally designed with a concrete-and-wood interior and spacious bench seating outdoors, high, vine-covered walls isolate this three-year-old beer garden from its warehouse surroundings. Domestics and imports on tap (along with sangria!) are served up from a high-tech, subterranean delivery system, while sausages and burgers are available at the Garden Grill window. The space can get congested and frat-tastic at times, particularly when the huge custom video wall is showing the big game. In general, at 30,000-square-feet, there is room enough for everyone.

Related: The Best Beer Gardens in NYC

PRESS Lounge
PRESS Lounge at Hotel Ink48

Press Lounge
Ink48 Hotel

653 11th Ave (between 47th and 48th Streets)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 757-2224

Located on the rooftop of the vibrant Ink48 Hotel, Press Lounge gains high praise for its 360-degree city views, elegant seating and complex cocktails featuring fresh, greenmarket ingredients. No mere party bar, Press (and its partner restaurant, Print) helped raise the standard for hotel bars when it opened in 2010. This summer, Print kicks things up a notch with a new VIP section located in the former rooftop pool. Reserve the 10-12 seat recessed space and enjoy drinking around—and from—the restaurant's brand new rooftop garden.Related: The Best Rooftop Bars in NYC

The Frying Pan

Frying Pan
Pier 66 Maritime

W 26th St and the Hudson River
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-6363

You can grab a $3 Budweiser on the (free) Staten Island Ferry as it cruises past the Statue of Liberty, or drop a few hundred dollars enjoying BargeMusic or the River Cafe in Brooklyn with views of the East River. Between these extremes is the enchanting and enigmatic Lightship "Frying Pan." Built in 1929, the boat was protected from the treacherous waters of North Carolina's Frying Pan Shoals. Today, it hosts a near-iconic seasonal bar and grill (officially Pier 66 Maritime, but everyone calls it by the ship's name). Enjoy basic grill food, like a chicken breast wrap, or a Pat LaFrieda Sirloin Burger and a small, but nicely curated selection of wines, beers and cocktails while watching the sun set over the Hudson. Note: It can get crowded, and there are no reservations.

(credit: Loreley)

Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten
64 Frost St (at Leonard St)
Williamsburg, NY 11211
(718) 599-0025

With a bit more room to move about (and sit) than at its Lower East Side big sister, Loreley Brooklyn is a diamond in the rough tucked under the BQE. The large outdoor patio is shielded from the street and provides plenty of sunshine during the day. It's an ideal spot for socializing and enjoying Loreley's solid selection of mostly German beers, like an easy-drinking Gaffel Kölsh ale, the very hoppy Bitburger Pilsner and the rich and flavorful Erdinger Dark wheat beer. Meat-free hipsters will appreciate the Vegetarisches Sandwich ($11) amidst all the sausages, featuring grilled portabello, roasted tomato, pickled onions and smoked gouda cheese.

Beekman Beer Garden

Beekman Beer Garden
89 South St (Pier 17)
New York, NY 10038
(212) 896-4600

You don't hit this beer garden up for its massive selection of brews (it's only got a handful), but rather for the unparalleled harbor and East River views. Located below South Street Seaport, this sand-covered stretch of Pier 17 features surprisingly comfy plastic sofas and bench seating, above-ground fire "pits" and plenty of opportunities to gaze across the water at the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab a Blue Point or Ommegaang beer, or a cocktail from the full bar and find a place to sit with a special someone or a group of friends. It can get packed here, particularly right after work and on weekends, but if you catch it on the right evening, you might believe you've been transported to a serene stretch of the Hamptons or Cape Cod coastline. You know, with a cityscape.

Nightlife & Music Summer Time Bars

Le Piscine
518 W 27th St (between 10th and 11th Aves)
New York, NY 10001
(212) 525-0000

This stylish new poolside bar and grill atop the Hotel Americano arrived just in time for summer. Savor Mediterranean small dishes at the grill, courtesy of executive chef Joseph Buenconsejo (Masa's San Francisco and The Lion). He provides a host of delectable small plates, or dine on his French-Latin fusions in the covered Americano restaurant and outdoor patio. You're also welcome to ride the 10-story external glass elevator to the roof, sidle up to the Le Piscine bar (no stuffy doorstaff selecting only fashionistas), order a cocktail (or three) and take in views of the Highline, Hudson River and the Empire State Building. It's likely this place will be bustling all summer, so consider visiting early or on middle weekdays. You can call ahead to reserve seating.

Nightlife & Music Summer Time, Spina
Photo Credit: Spina via Facebook

175 Avenue B (at 11th St)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 253-2250

An Italian "fresh pasta" trattoria on a stretch of Ave B thick with them, Spina offers two things the others don't. First, sidewalk seating is first come, first served and places you along a quiet (for New York, anyway) stretch of road, with great people watching. Second, find happy hour specials specifically designed for outside dining. The locavore-themed "New York State of Mind" happy hour (5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily) features three Long Island Blue Point oysters paired with a New York state beer (like Ommegang's Rare Voss) or wine (like the Finger Lakes' Silver Thread 2010 Dry Riesling) for $9. Ideal for an after-work retreat.

Robert Haynes-Peterson is an editor and freelance writer living in New York. He is certified by the American Sommelier Association through its 24-week Vinification and Viticulture program, and the government of Mexico through its Master Mezcalier program (continuing). His work can be found at
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