When the clock strikes June—and the dew point strikes unbearable—hordes of New Yorkers have been known to flee for the weekends to escape the heat. But the median age on the Hampton's Jitney is rising, and so is the number of young people embracing their hot town: summer in the city
. So how ever does a hip city-dweller avoid the helter-skelter in the summer swelter? By hauling their sunscreened bods to one of the many new outdoor spots—opened just as you were on the verge of booking a one-way ticket to Portland (shudder). Supplying breeze, shade and cool cocktails, these spots are designed to lower overheated body temps enough to have you focusing on another kind of sizzle. Now that’s
David Burke Garden
Type: Bi-level Patio
Best For: Sunday brunch
Nothing says "summer" better than iced tea. Okay, that's not actually true (they still make slip-and-slides, after all), but on a sunny, sweaty day, what could possibly top a frosty glass of sweet, lemony tea? Booze, of course. At David Burke Garden at the James Hotel, relax in the shade of a mezzanine-level bungalow while sipping a cool, herbal concoction that's as easy on the eyes (colorful jugs of tea line the deck) as it is on your poor dehydrated body. The second-story location of this spacious two-level patio makes for a peaceful respite while keeping you connected with that bustling city you just can't seem to stay away from. And yes, if you’re the type to insist on food with your brunch, they serve up some delicious egg dishes to complement your cocktail.
Best For: Out-of-town visitors
They say that the summer air in New York can get slimier than a sext from Representative Weiner. Escape humidity’s suffocating grasp by heading up—to the 16th floor—and allowing the high altitude to cool you down. XVI is located on the rooftop of the Hilton Garden Inn, and while its patrons consist mainly of excitable tourists—with prices to match—the cocktails are refreshing and the cityscape unbeatable. Take visiting first-time relatives in lieu of a schlep up the Empire State; they will be just as impressed with this 360-view, and snapping vacation photos is far less irritating with a high-ball in one hand.
Type: Midtown Plaza
Best For: Summer Friday lunches
Step right up and score yourself a BBQ pork sammy and a frothy cold one at BeerParc, the Midtown plaza that turns lunch hour into happy hour. Located on a plaza behind its mama, the Eventi Hotel, BeerParc's easy-breezy vibe offers office-spacers a relaxed spot to tip back a brewski, and four gourmet food carts as an excuse to call it all "lunch." Grab some tickets and trade them for BBQ, brats or Thai chicken. Feign an afternoon meeting outdoors and stay for the Mets game, projected onto the wall of a neighboring building. While the team may not win, with six drafts beers to sample, you can't lose.
Beekman Beer Garden
Type: Beachy Beer Garden
Best For: Sweltering Sundays
The problems with trekking to the beach on a sweltering summer day are endless: jellyfish, open-container violations, that sandy ride home on the LIRR…the list goes on. Save yourself a heap of trouble and opt for a short ride on the subway (or water taxi) to South Street Seaport's Beekman Beer Garden. Much like its predecessor the Water Taxi Beach, this sandy spot's city views, large selection of beer, wine and cocktails, and inappropriate afternoon techno beats offer a surefire means of heat-wave escapism. But the best perk? That ever-present cool breeze off the water allows for a few ruthless games of ping-pong without the pesky risk of heatstroke.
Type: Rooftop Restaurant
Best For: Rainy Days
While Eataly’s newly-opened “Beer Garden” is even less authentic than The Standard’s (at least you can find pretzels and communal tables amongst the stilettos there), when day-drinking designs get thwarted by thunderstorms, Birreria saves the day. A retractable roof harnesses any available daylight for this open-space restaurant and bar on the top deck of Eataly, making for a sunshine-y feel even on blustery days. You’ll pay for this golden touch—cask beers are $10, and a charcuterie sampler runs no less than $22—and the scene is no less chaotic than its host’s stir-crazy marketplace. But on rainy days that demand more action than a Weeds
marathon, Birreria will hit the spot.
Above 6 at 6 Columbus
Type: Rooftop Lounge
Best For: Wooing a potential client/Baby-Daddy
The world knows few locales more chic than high atop Columbus Circle, peering out over majestic Central Park. You know it, we know it and Above 6 at 6 knows it—and prices its drinks accordingly. That being said, you could do a lot worse than an intimate lounge area, breezy and glowing beneath the lights of the big city in exchange for a $15 cocktail. Seating is limited, so plan on making reservations if you live in five-inch heels. Then again, this is just the sexy type of place where someone unexpected could sweep you right off your aching feet.
Type: Backyard Patio
Best For: Romantic Date-Night
Not all of your outdoor options this summer include steins of beer or elevator lines. Mulberry Project, the cozy cave where cocktail dreams are made, has expanded its uber-hip lounge to include an uber-hip back patio. Despite the partners’ assertions that this is a patio where people can come with their laptops, rest assured that there are no freelance fact-checkers setting up shop here. Save the g-chats for Starbucks and opt instead to wow a date by ordering up a few “bespoke” cocktails—just let the pros behind the bar know your tastes and they’ll shake up something delish. Sip under the stars of Little Italy and let the aroma wafting from nearby ristorantes lead you to your next destination.
Type: Street-Side Veranda
Best For: Seeing and Being seen
The streets just south of the Flatiron can get a little, eh, drab. This summer, the Great Grey Way is getting a bit spicier by way of CrossBar, Todd English's latest restaurant du jour. Smartly using the Limelight—the historic cathedral repurposed as a vendor's market—as a backdrop, the restaurant's highlight is its outdoor plaza adjacent to the sidewalk. Passers-by are sure to take note of Moroccan-inspired bungalows and the beautiful people cuddling inside them. Richly-colored tiles and intricate ironwork complete the theme, and fans of the top chef will be satisfied munching on his signature snacks including pork belly sandwiches. Strawberry-jalapeno cocktails are just another reason it's good to be on the right side of CrossBar's gates.
And coming soon ...
The Lot on Tap
, an outdoor bar beneath the Highline brought to you by Colicchio & Sons.
The Dream Downtown
, a chic new hotel with several outdoor venues.