It's pretty cool to eat and drink on a sidewalk or in a backyard garden, but isn't a rooftop just that much better? As Carrie Bradshaw once famously said on the terrace of Wade's parents' apartment: "It's like it's different air up there!"
Yes, it is.
Here are New York City's best rooftops on which to imbibe and dine.
Monarch Rooftop Lounge
New this summer, Monarch's Scandinavian-chic lounge radiates glamour. Its picturesque views of the Empire State Building are almost enough to distract you from your $16 specialty cocktail. Weekends host "Fly Sundays" which feature boozy snow cones starting at 3pm. 71 W 35th Street, addisongroupnyc.com/venues/monarch
JIMMY at the James
This luxe rooftop bar is 18 stories up, on top of The James Hotel. Take a dip in the pool or head to the bar's "conversation pit" -- a lounge area with plush seating and retro lamps. The pool is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. 15 Thompson St., Manhattan, jimmysoho.com
This rooftop is about as close as you can get to a tropical hideaway in Manhattan. Slatted boardwalk-style floors, lush palm fronds and greenery and cozy beach lounges make The Delancey feel like a vacation spot -- even on those chilly nights. 168 Delancey St., Manhattan, thedelancey.com, 212.254.9920
Gallow Green, located on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel, boasts views of the High Line, the river and Manhattan for as far as the eye can see. And for the cooler months, it's transformed into a similarly enchanting place called The Lodge. 542 W. 27th St., Manhattan, mckittrickhotel.com, 212-564-1662
Sunsets at The Jane
The historic Jane Hotel opens its rooftop to the public for the very first time this summer with "Sunsets at The Jane." The classic design of the bar and small circular party room, along with the patio's breathtaking views of the Hudson River make this a romantic and pleasant spot to toil away a summer's eve. And don't miss the cocktails. If the Hemingway Daiquiri, with Starr African rum, Luxardo Cherry liqueur, grapefruit and lime juice doesn't sound refreshing and potent, I don't know what does.
Just make sure you plan ahead. There's only room for 70 people, and so the rooftop is reservation only. Anyone can get one by emailing email@example.com.
113 Jane St., thejanenyc.com, 212-924-6700
Night of Joy
Night of Joy is located right under the BQE in Williamsburg, but somehow, miraculously, that doesn't detract from the vibe on the large, flower- and plant-covered roof. In fact, the faint rumbling only adds to the charm. So the views are of a wall in Williamsburg and the BQE, but that's the neighborhood, and it's a great time. The space is reminiscent of a Victorian speakeasy, with velvet furniture and a thick wood bar from which you can order classy cocktails like basil and lime gin gimlets and beet dill vodkas. 667 Lorimer St., Brooklyn, nightofjoybar.com, 718-388-8693
Ides at the Wythe Hotel
The Ides is a hotel bar, but it's a hotel bar in Williamsburg, so the clientele is a little bit more hipster artist than hedge fund manager. It's located on the roof of the Wythe Hotel, and offers sweeping views of the east side of Manhattan and the East River. If you want to hang out in Williamsburg, but above the fray, this is the place for you. 80 Wythe St., Brooklyn, wythehotel.com/the-ides, 718-460-8006
Level R at the Empire Hotel Rooftop
If you've ever wanted to class it up for a night, head to the Empire Hotel (you know the neon sign, right? Near Lincoln Center?) to the rooftop bar there. They don't allow guests to wear denim, so get your best slacks pressed. Gaze across to Central Park and sip a cocktail or glass of wine and bask in feeling on top of the world.
The rooftop was just renovated, so to get an early look, head up there soon. Small bites include "Swine Candy": bacon roasted with molasses and spices, and tempura maitake mushrooms, with ponzu dipping sauce. There's also a retractable roof for rainy nights, and a DJ booth, so expect some parties.
44 W. 63rd St., empirehotelnyc.com, 212-265-7400
The Top of The Standard
Atop The Standard Hotel, the modish Meatpacking District fixture known for its floor-to-ceiling windows and A-list nightlife scene, sits a venue with views as stunning as you'd expect from a building that straddles the High Line. Hit the Top of The Standard at sunset for the ultimate eye candy while enjoying specialty drinks and tasty small plates, or stop by for a bite in your best cocktail attire. 848 Washington St., Manhattan, standardhotels.com, 212-645-4646