One of the (many!) great things about New York City is that it’s possible to enjoy nature and the outdoors right in the middle of the metropolis.

Central Park is only one of the Big Apple’s beloved green spaces, and the city itself is virtually hugged by water on all sides, whether by the Hudson, the East River, or the Atlantic Ocean. What better way to take in some of New York’s most fabulous waterfront views than perched right by the water, enjoying an evening tipple or two as the sun sets?

We’ve shortlisted some of the best waterfront bars NYC has to offer, seasonally or year-round, so you don’t have to do the guesswork when deciding on the perfect spot for a perfect cocktail—plus a gorgeous view—after a day of sightseeing.


What are NYC’s best waterfront bars?


Drink being made in a copper cup with mint and ice.

1. Pier i Cafe

Located on the Upper West Side, Pier i Cafe is the perfect setting for a leisurely cocktail in a laid-back setting with a decidedly neighborhoody vibe.

This seasonally opened, super-chill spot serves classic cocktails and a food menu featuring fresh seafood dishes alongside NYC classics, such as beef hotdogs and burgers, that consistently hit the spot.


2. Baylander Steel Beach

Baylander Steel Beach is a seasonal bar and restaurant situated aboard a historic aircraft carrier moored at the West Harlem Piers.

Head to this waterfront restaurant and bar for fresh seafood, stuffed into lobster rolls and fish or shrimp tacos, and a craft-cocktail list concocted by bartenders who clearly aren’t messing around. Don’t miss the Boat Fashioned, made with Sagamore rye whiskey, Martini Fiero vermouth, burlesque bitters, and an orange ice pop.


3. Grand Banks

Docked at Pier 25 atop a historic wooden schooner, Grand Banks is one of the best waterfront restaurants for slurping down seriously fresh oysters that are sustainably harvested to boot.

Come for the delicious oysters and beer-battered fish tacos, and stay for the super-cheery
yellow-and-white awnings—they’re an instant mood booster, even on an overcast day.


4. Pilot

If Grand Banks sounds like your speed, you’ll likely also dig Pilot, another great waterfront spot located atop a historic fishing boat, this one docked in Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights.

Open seasonally, it’s run by the same folks who came up with Grand Banks, so you’ll find pretty much the same situation: Cheery yellow and white decor, excellent seafood, and consistently delicious cocktails.


Multiple colorful cocktails on a bar

5. Saga

Head to Saga to enjoy tasty cocktails while taking in an amazing view of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn skyline after night falls. This upscale spot offers splurge-worthy tasting menus and craft cocktails, all of which can be enjoyed from the 63rd floor of the 70 Pine Building, a fine example of art deco architecture.


6. The River Café

New Yorkers have been heading to the River Café for special occasions for some four decades, partly for the restaurant’s iconic location underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and its fantastic fusion cuisine and romantic live piano music.

This is one of those New York City spots that insists on a fancy dress code, so be sure you get gussied up before heading over for an evening you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.


7. The Hudson

Open seasonally, the Hudson is a laid-back, family-friendly restaurant with outdoor seating, located in Inwood Park at the Dyckman Marina. This chill spot is a great place to take in sunsets over the river while sipping on piña coladas, mai tais, or mojitos and chowing down on a signature pulled-pork sandwich or some seriously delicious seafood.

There are so many bodies of water to allow for a temporary break from the city without actually leaving it. Whether you are reminded of childhood trips to the beach or you just need to get away from the skyscrapers and subways, relaxing by the water will give you a chance to unwind and enjoy the views.


New York City Sunset


What’s the best way to score fabulous cocktails while enjoying unobstructed NYC skyline views?

A fantastic way to experience gorgeous views of New York is in a boat out on the water itself, where you can take in the Manhattan skyline and other iconic New York spots, like Long Island City, Hudson River Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Lady Liberty, and Battery Park City.

How about hitting the Hudson River for a different way to do happy hour aboard an Alive After Five 2-hour cruise? You can let your hair down and groove along to live DJ music while sipping cocktails and taking in the views with a laid-back vibe and good times to be had by all. It’s the perfect outing for any celebration or just a night out.

Jump aboard our 90-minute NYC Downtown Sightseeing Cruise to take in all the heavy hitters of New York City, including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, the Seaport, Battery Park, and One World Trade Center, not to mention Hudson Yards and much more.

Join our classic Official NYC Downtown Experience – Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, One World Observatory cruise to explore three top downtown Manhattan tourist destinations, or embark on one of our many signature Premium Dining Cruises to leisurely take in the NYC skyline while enjoying delicious craft cocktails or sipping some bubbly, coupled with a fabulous meal.


Where can I get cocktails with a water view in New York City?

There are so many options for waterfront cocktails in New York City. The city itself is virtually surrounded by water with the Hudson and East Rivers as well as the Atlantic Ocean- the choices are endless. Baylander Steel Beach, Grand Banks, Pilot, and several cruise options for a unique experience are all great choices.

Where can I see water in New York City?

There are seemingly endless spots to take advantage of in this “island city” that allows for stunning views and refreshing breezes. Whether it be on the Hudson or East River, uptown or down, there are plenty of choices to enjoy the outdoors in one of NYC’s waterfront oases.

What should I wear to a cocktail bar in New York City?

Each establishment has its own vibe and attire regarding clothing. The most common bar attire is smart casual or casual.

How many miles of waterfront does New York City -have?

New York City has 520 miles of waterfront which is longer than Miami, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles combined!

What time do bars in New York City close?

Bars are permitted to stay open till 4:00 am, even on weeknights.


Original post date: December 27, 2022