NYC’s 10 Outdoor Spots to Hydrate At Now

Given that I’ve spent a whopping 4 days in NYC this past month and averaged about the same the whole year so far, I’ve decided to make myself a little summer in NYC bucket list of sorts. First up, my ten favorite outdoor watering holes … I’ve got my priorities straight don’t you think?   I’ve come to realize that I enjoy spending as much time outside when I’m here as I possibly can. I’ll be checking these guys off my list this summer for sure …

While I’m not technically an expert I will say that I have done my fair share of research and plan to keep researching all summer long. If you have a recommendation do share ASAP in the comments below!

The Go To: Grand Banks

If you follow my instastories then you know that I pretty much spend as much time on this boat as I can. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite spots on a warm summer afternoon or evening. I do preface this with the fact that it is one of the busiest spots for the after work drinking crew even though they do not offer any happy hour deals.

My recommendation? Go early, plan to wait a little bit (especially on the weekends) but I still think it’s worth it. Strawberry cocktails, rose on tap, a solid selection of oysters all while enjoying a breathtaking sunset on the Hudson with Lady Liberty in the distance. It makes me love NYC just a little bit more each time.

Or better yet, give one of their two new spots a try! I’ll be checking out Island Oyster this weekend and cannot wait!! Sure that a visit to Pilot on the Brooklyn Bridge Park won’t be too far behind!

The Under the Radar Gem: Harold’s Surf Shack @ The Arlo SoHo

This under the radar gem popped onto my list of spots recently when I attended a Red Bull dance class event on the roof to celebrate the Summer Solstice – that was at 9 AM. I immediately headed back that evening for happy hour with friends to find the same killer views with even more heavenly cocktails. Not crowded which was downright heavenly given that most spots these days are at capacity and you’re standing in a line that just doesn’t seem to move.

My recommendation? Go early, snag a seat at one of the chairs outside and chill. I love that it is not a scene situation. Perfect for a Wednesday night.

The unexpected Midtown Saturday Go-to: Refinery Rooftop at the Refinery Hotel

I rarely venture uptown these days and even less so on the weekends but there are always exceptions. The Refinery Rooftop at the Refinery Hotel has been a long time favorite of mine for a plethora of reasons ranging from their insane views and their Saturday wellness programs to the ridiculously delicious brunch (lobster tater tots with cheese sauce and a BEC sandwich to beat all others – check out their brunch menu here.) Not to mention they are doing good too, the hotel partners with a charity to create a special boozy slushy each month with sales going to the charity.

My recommendation? Venture up on Saturday for killer brunch on the rooftop and enjoy the fact that you’re drinking for a good cause with a fab view. Everyone wins!

The tried and true BK favorite: Freehold Brooklyn

When home I spend roughly 50% of my time out in Brooklyn. I could do an entire post on the places to hit up in Brooklyn and maybe I will but for now and all intensive purposes we’re going to focus on just a few. Freehold isn’t new but that’s what I love about it. It’s still fresh and hasn’t been overrun by tourists like some of the ahem other places have in Williamsburg. I like Freehold because it’s big, it’s indoor/outdoor and they play good music. Plain and simple I know but it’s a great spot to go with a group. Oh and you can work from here during the day if you’ve got the flexibility – free wifi, great conversations and a killer happy hour.

My recommendation? Go during the weekend with a group of friends.

Image c/o Freehold Instagram 

The BK Darling: Westlight

It was inevitable that this spot was going to hit my list, it’s in the chic William Vale hotel in Williamsburg and is basically just what Williamsburg and everyone else desperately needed. A great cocktail bar with skyline views and not in another state. Am I right?!?

Let’s just say … This place. At sunset. With whomever you want. That is all. Oh and maybe with one of their insanely delicious cocktails in hand too.

Image c/o William Vale Instagram

My recommendation? Just do it. If the above didn’t sell you in then I don’t know what will.

Image c/o William Vale Instagram

The Sunday Funday: Mr. Purple

This LES rooftop kind of came out of nowhere. It’s above Hotel Indigo and could easily be skipped over if it weren’t for the NYC views, the pool, the two + bars operating during summer and then there is of course the awesome open work spaces. Mr. Purple has quickly become a favorite of mine for a post brunch cocktail (or two …) on a Sunday with the girls. The vibe is good and the drinks are strong. The view is wonderful and if you can get over the wait and the packedness I guarantee you’ll have a great time.

My Recommendation? Looking for a solid Sunday Funday spot? This is definitely it. Go, grab some cocktails and apply sunscreen. We’ll see you on Monday with sunnies on and a BEC in hand.

Image c/o Mr. Purple

Other must visits?


City Vineyard

The team behind downtown’s City Winery got smart last year and quietly opened up City Vineyard right around the corner on the water from Grand Banks. So when the wait is just unbearable head over here. I’ll admit the service lacks A LOT but where they don’t get it right in that department they do have prime sunset views, ample space and great wine. Take what you can get right!?!

Galloway Green

A tried and true favorite of mine that feels more like my own personal secret garden high above Chelsea’s art galleries than it does a killer bar in Manhattan. It’s dreamy, often quite and perfect also for out of town guests you want to show a good time without going balls to the walls.

Maison Premier

So it’s not a rooftop but if you go then you know that Maison Premier is just perfect. From the cocktails and the oysters to everything in between. Go for a Sunday date night when the place isn’t packed with an hour plus wait. Trust me you will thank me later.

Shop my perfect rooftop, outdoor, bar hopping outfit below. 


{All images shot by Laurel Creative}



12 Responses
  • Morgan Klein
    July 14, 2017

    So many great places !!!! Grand Banks and Refinery are my favorites!!! I’ll have to check out some of the other places that you mentioned!

    • ashleynelson
      July 14, 2017

      Right?! Those are two of my favorites too! You would definitely love the others – I’m working on setting up a happy hour at one! Will keep you posted on when we’re doing it! xx

  • Bella
    July 14, 2017

    Looks like some great places!!! Need to check them out next time in NYC.

  • Jenna Colgrove
    July 14, 2017

    what a fun post!! love the top!

  • Liz
    July 15, 2017

    So many great places! Thanks for sharing!


  • Debbie Savage
    July 15, 2017

    I love what you are wearing and the beautiful photography! I look forward to visiting NYC one day!
    xo Debbie |

  • Kasey | Running in Heels
    July 16, 2017

    These spots look so fun! I wish I could go back!

  • Madeline
    July 17, 2017

    Great recommendations! But the top you are wearing is incrediable!

  • Nicole Leffew
    July 17, 2017

    All of these places look so good! What do you go there so much for?!

  • Alicia
    July 17, 2017

    Love your look and all your suggestions. I will have to check these out when I head to NYC.

  • Nita
    July 17, 2017

    This is such a great post– loved your picks!

  • Greta
    July 17, 2017

    I’m saving this for the next time I’m in New York! I always am looking for cool places to grab a drink!

    Greta |

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

powered by chloédigital