Empire Views: New York’s Rooftop Bars

By Marla Norman August 26, 2019 PDF Article Original Article Press
Travel Curious Often - Empire Views: New York's Rooftop Bar

Views of Manhattan’s skyline are incomparable – especially at night with endlessly dazzling lights and skyscrapers stacked up across the horizon. It’s dramatic. Even cinematic. And no surprise that Hollywood glitterati have incorporated the Gotham skyline into films as varied and expansive as the city itself. From King Kong, Spiderman, Batman and assorted Supermen – along with Midnight Cowboys, Ghostbusters, Wall Street tycoons and gum shoe detectives.

But we think the Manhattan night sky lends itself better to a little romance. After all, who can forget Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meeting at the Top of the Rock in the final scene from Sleepless in Seattle. Or Cary Grant waiting for Deborah Kerr at the Empire State Building Observatory — all 86 stories high — in the classic film an Affair to Remember.

Here, a few recommendations for rooftop bars, in case you’d like to create some movie magic of your own during your next visit to New York.

3 Mitchell Place
49th & 1st Avenue
Midtown East

On the 26th floor of one of Manhattan’s loveliest art deco towers, Ophelia is a rare treasure. Built in 1928 by New York architect John Mead, this venue sits atop the original Panhellenic Tower. In 1934, the building was rebranded as the Beekman Tower. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby became regulars back then.

But while the architecture is definitely vintage, the cocktails are thoroughly contemporary and complex — for example the Far East Side includes Shiso-infused Mizu Shochu, Tanqueray Gin, Yuzu and Yellow Chartreuse. Another example, Purple Tuxedo combines Empress 1908 Gin, Brennivan Aquavit, Montanaro Bianco, Velvet Falernum, and Absinthe topped off by Plum Bitters. Frank never drank one of these!

Small plates are solid, if less dazzling, including Deviled Eggs with spicy honey, Avocado Toast, Truffle Potato Wedges and French Onion Sliders. Kakigōri – Japanese shaved ice with “passion, blackberry and crémeux” adds extra pizazz.

So, enjoy the views. Bottoms up, up, up up…….!