Summer in New York City is a one-of-a-kind experience. Visitors from around the globe flock to the streets to enjoy picturesque sights such as the East River, Chrysler Building and High Line—making the East Coast metropolis even more bustling than usual.
Observing the city (and its sightseers) from the patios of New York’s bars or restaurants is the perfect way to bask in summer’s combination of warm weather and entertaining crowds. Whether you prefer a rooftop lounge where you can sit back with a cocktail and gaze upon some of the world’s most famous skyscrapers, or a street-side cafe that allows you to grab a bite while scanning the faces that stroll through the borough, the patios at New York’s dining destinations make for the perfect place to quench thirst and satisfy hunger pangs while enjoying the outdoors.
We asked those who know the area best—the concierges who assist travelers in city exploration on a daily basis—to recommend their favorite local patios. So whether you care to people-watch, take in the skyline or simply enjoy a bit of fresh air, you’ll be set with any of the destinations on the following pages.
“Sitting on our East River is chef Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark. With tranquil views of the water, [it] is a perfect alternative to the New York staple, River Café, complete with seasonal farm-to-table menus, phenomenal service and inviting ambience. Riverpark showcases its very own urban farm and seasonal ingredients from local farms. There are two alfresco seating options available—the patio and the terrace. The patio is a natural extension of the restaurant, which offers diners a refined menu and service, whereas the terrace is a casual dining experience, ideal for refreshing midsummer cocktails and socializing within their communal picnic seating.” (450 E. 29th St.; 212-729-9790; riverparknyc.com) —Linda Pham, attache at The Quin
Casa Lever Gardens
“A sophisticated Milanese menu meets modern art and architecture [at] Casa Lever Gardens. The new outdoor venue in Midtown Manhattan … is an ideal destination for a drink, lunch or dinner. Guests will be seated in the outdoor courtyard of the Lever House building, near Park Avenue. Besides Casa Lever Gardens, a lounge area [is] available for small bites and a Champagne and vintage wine menu. How could you go wrong with the family who brought Sant Ambroeus [to New York]?” (390 Park Ave.; 212-888-2700; casalever.com) —Jolie Mansky, chef concierge at Urban Concierge
“Smyth opened a new restaurant at the end of November last year. It’s called Little Park and is the latest project of the chef Andrew Carmellini, who is really known in New York. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant with American food. He tries to use all the local farms. My favorite dish was the beetroot tartare. … Alfresco dining is also available with about 20 tables outside of the hotel.” (85 W. Broadway; 212-220-4110; littlepark.com) —Franck Hermann, concierge at Smyth, a Thompson Hotel
“I’m a fan of a good spicy margarita and outdoor seating in the summer, so I love to recommend guests walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Gran Electra in Dumbo [in Brooklyn]. They are open for brunch and dinner with a huge outdoor space in the back, and now accept reservations for all party sizes.” Complement a margarita with a plate of tacos, which come in five different options, or the chorizo quesadilla, made with potatoes and onions. (5 Front St.; 718-582-2700; granelectrica.com) —Carmen da Silva, chef concierge at GrandLife Hotels
“Esca [is on the] corner of Ninth Avenue and 43rd Street right in the Theater District. [It’s] a tree-lined corner oasis of calm within striking distance of all the Broadway shows [with] excellent Italian seafood.” (402 W. 43rd St.; 212-564-7272; esca-nyc.com) —James Jolis, chef concierge at The Chatwal
“I can already tell from my first visit to Santina that it is going to be magical in the summertime. Tucked underneath the High Line, Santina offers coastal Italian cuisine with some of the best cocktails that are more than ideal to enjoy on a sunny day.” (820 Washington St.; 212-254-3000; santinanyc.com) —Tim Markman, lead concierge at The Standard, High Line
Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
“I like Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, [which] means food and wine in Italian. It’s the second restaurant and extension of Il Buco. This one is more of an Italian wine bar. During the summer, they have a beautiful terrace in front of the restaurant. It’s always crowded. It’s more of the Mediterranean side of Italy so think very fresh and a lot of seafood.” (53 Great Jones St.; 212-837-2622; ilbucovineria.com) —Franck Hermann, concierge at Smyth, a Thompson Hotel
The Standard Grill and The Standard Plaza
“The Standard Grill [is a] great hot spot. If you are looking to enjoy oysters and Champagne, … this is the spot. This menu offers something for everyone.” Another open-air dining option at The Standard, High Line is The Standard Plaza, which opened this past April. At this outdoor cafe, diners will enjoy French Riviera-style fare and impressive cocktails. (848 Washington St.; 212-645-4100; standardhotels.com) —Jeanie Voltsinis, chef concierge at Viceroy New York
“If you’re [in] more of a wine and cheese, fresh fish or beer and sausage mode, you can find [all of these] options on the rooftop Birreria of the Italian food market Eataly. Enjoy one of their many cask beers (brewed on-site) or one of the many great Italian vintages along with views of Madison Square Park and the Chrysler Building.” (200 Fifth Ave.; 212-937-8910; eataly.com) —Carmen da Silva, chef concierge at GrandLife Hotels
North River Lobster Co.
“Some of the freshest raw bar and seafood in New York, including an outstanding lobster roll, can be enjoyed along with a full bar and free boat tours at North River Lobster Co., a full-service seafood cafe on a boat.” (Pier 81, West 41st Street at Hudson River; 212-630-8831; northriverlobsterco.com) —Carmen da Silva, chef concierge at GrandLife Hotels
“Aquagrill has ample sidewalk seating for watching the whole world go by at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street in Soho. [There’s] wonderful food as well.” The oysters, in particular, are the seafood restaurant’s claim to fame along with other selections like soft shell crab and spicy tuna tartare. (210 Spring St.; 212-274-0505; aquagrill.com) —James Jolis, chef concierge at The Chatwal
“[I recommend] Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This New Orleans-themed cocktail bar has an amazing courtyard and serves the best selection of oysters around. [It’s a] wonderful place to grab a bite and expertly crafted cocktail while enjoying the … summer weather.” (298 Bedford Ave.; 347-335-0446; maisonpremiere.com) —Jared Gullekson, chef concierge at The London NYC
—Written by Bria Balliet