The No-View Lounge at the Manhattan Vista Hotel
Despite towering above picturesque midtown Manhattan and with a location just steps away from Central Park, this high-end lounge located atop the historic Manhattan Vista Hotel is proud about the fact they are the only rooftop bar in the New York that offers absolutely no view. Blocked on all four sides by the buildings that tower over them, the only sight patrons are treated to at the No-View Lounge is that of aging concrete and brick walls. Entirely obscured by the sun while still very much out in the elements, the main draw of visiting the No-View Lounge on a hot day is the possibility of feeling drips of condensation from the variety of air conditioners attached to the neighboring buildings overhead.
The oasis known as Maggie’s Hideaway is a classic rooftop getaway– if only you make it up safely first. Located 60 stories above an apartment complex at 401 West 43rd street, thirsty visitors first have to climb two separate rope ladders a total of five stories, at one point swinging between the two. That athletic feat is followed by a six stories of a rusty ladder almost guaranteed to give you tetanus, which is then followed by a dozen stories of a rickety, rotting wood staircase that was originally cordoned off by the Department of Buildings in 1923. However, once patrons complete a 20 minute climb up a metal chute used for trash, they’ll finally arrive at Maggie’s. However difficult, the trip down is comparatively easier, with most exhausted and drunk patrons deciding to simply jump off the roof and hope for the best.
The views at this Williamsburg, Brooklyn staple are respectable enough, with patrons able to see the expansive Manhattan skyline in all its glory. It’s the prices, however, that make The Skyliner one of the worst rooftop spots for a libation in the city. Want a Margarita? That’ll be $350. How about a glass of well vodka on the rocks? That’ll set you back $220. Feel like only sipping Cranberry juice? Hope you don’t mind shelling out $99 for Ocean Spray. Despite it all, the Skyliner’s speciality cocktails are divine… and with many ranging between $2,000 to a cool $4,000 each, they better be.
The Rooftop of the McDonalds on 125th St & Manhattan Ave
While not technically or even legally a bar, this Harlem McDonalds boats a busy rooftop full of neighborhood kids who sneak up out of the view of naive fast food employees to drink Pabst and smoke joints. Always boasting a strong stench of the fries and burgers cooking below, this spot features a who’s who of young locals who have all told their parents they’re studying at a nearby library but instead are getting high and drunk just a few feet above hungry fast food patrons. On some days, thrown-out and/or spoiled food from the restaurant below finds itself atop the roof as well, making for a guerrilla all-you-can-eat buffet where food poisoning is an all but certainty.
Empire State Building Observation Deck
Alcohol is banned from the roof of this New York landmark, but that doesn’t stop Larry Halloran, a daily visitor and amateur bartender, from smuggling up little bottles of liquor in his large trench coat and selling them at an extreme markup to thirsty tourists. A relaxing drink this ain’t, as you’re forced to guzzle the alcohol down as quickly as possible to evade security. And thanks to the fact the deck is 86 stories high, the fast chugging more often than not leads to a nauseating case of the spins.