Whether you live in a pint-sized studio apartment or plan to visit New York during the (typically steamy) summer months, it's nice to get a breath of fresh air wherever you can find it in the big city. We'd like to suggest these new outdoor watering holes before the crowds catch on.
Pig and Khao
With a sultry outdoor space lit by Christmas lights, this LES restaurant—brought to you by the geniuses at Fatty Crew Hospitality Group and Top Chef-testant Leah Cohen—pays homage to South Asian street food in casual environs. Don't miss tasty plates designed for sharing, like grilled pork jowl, crispy quail adobo, and watermelon salad, which are sure to make you crave an ice-cold brew (or cocktail). There's a "bottomless" self-serve brew tap in the backyard or beer served "Hong Kong style" (in small bowls).
If you're craving a beer and a burger, look no further than this German-styled "bier garten" set atop an Irish pub. Communal blonde-wood picnic tables with seating for up to 75 and exposed brick walls create an inviting setting for chowing down on 10-ounce grass-fed burgers—each with a suggested beer pairing—like the "Park Avenue" burger with pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, and chorizo, matched up with a Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Just stopping by for a drink? Savor 20-some suds on draft or spring for a Scotch flight like the Lake District: $25 for a sampling of Glen Grant, Auchentoshan, and Bowmore.
Who needs a backyard when you can patronize GastroMarket? Their lush outdoor garden is 1,000 square feet complete with an outdoor bar, just steps from the Highline. Known for their cask ale and cask wine program, customers can also indulge in eclectic bites like beer-can chicken with corn queso fresco or gourmet ciabatta bread pizzas. Plans for summer imbibing include specialty cocktails served out of blocks of ice along with al fresco movie screenings.
The Rooftop at Pod 39
Situated 17 stories above the hustle and bustle of nearby Grand Central, the top of the Pod 39 Hotel is a seasonal space for drinking in artisanal cocktails and impressive views of lower Manhattan, including the Empire State Building. Guests will be able to score tequila cocktails from mixologist Sam Anderson to pair with an abbreviated menu from Salvation Taco—Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield's trendy ground floor taqueria bar.
Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
The city that never sleeps isn't exactly known for inspiring zen, but you'll find a relaxing respite from the rat race at the 1650-square foot Blue Ribbon Beer Garden—complete with tranquil garden plantings—slated to open in May. Customers will unwind over a curated list of beer and wine, along with a tasty menu of barbecue fare in a chic alfresco beer garden environment. And don't stress about unpredictable summer storms: Retractable side paneling and outdoor heating make it a best bet for outdoor drinking no matter the weather.
The Sundeck at the Gansevoort Park Rooftop
Those looking for a veritable summertime playground for adults should look no further than the Sundeck at the Gansevoort Park Hotel. Where else can you find wrap-around terraces, ping pong, and boozy slushies? The slick hotel rooftop may not be new, but the menu was recently revamped for summertime, offering new savory sliders and "adult" shaved-ice beverages, perfect for enjoying along with a skyline sunset 20 stories above street level. If a chill strikes, grab a seat by one of the indoor-outdoor fireplaces and warm up with a Ginger Park cocktail, made with vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lime, and white cranberry. It's $15, but hey, this is Manhattan.
Alexis Korman is a freelance wine, food, and travel writer based in New Orleans. She is also Contributing Food Editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine and founder of a blog, City City Bang Bang. Follow her on Twitter @lexisips
Photo credits: Pig and Khao backyard courtesy of Zandy Mangold; Pod 39 Bar courtesy of Pod 39; Tavern 29 courtesy of Tavern 29; Blue Ribbon Beer Garden courtesy of Steve Hill; Gansevoort Park Sundeck courtesy of Gansevoort Park