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From terrific views to trendy cocktails, 12 incredible rooftop bars in New York hotels

Telegraph Travel
The rooftop bar at Arlo SoHo is a very pleasant place to while away a few evening hours

Panoramic views are synonymous with New York – from calming harbour vistas and oft unnoticed water towers to the jagged cityscape – and some of the most impressive perspectives can best be seen from the city’s rooftops. Catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, One World Trade, and sweeping views of Manhattan. Mingle these stunning perspectives with fancy drinks, light bites, and a stylish crowd for a memorable night out on the town. These hotels offer NYC's premier rooftop bars, ideal for observing the city from high in the sky, all while sipping a cocktail.

Refinery Hotel

Refinery Hotel

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

Refinery Hotel in the Garment District celebrates the Colony Arcade Building and millinery studios it once housed, with the addition of a vintage-themed restaurant and tavern, rooftop lounge, and a lobby jazz salon that features a wine hour on weekdays and live music nightly. Refinery Rooftop boasts stellar Empire State Building views. It’s often deemed one of the city’s best rooftop bars and features handcrafted cocktails along with small plates. Since the roof lounge is enclosed in cold weather, you can take advantage of those fabulous views year-round. Read expert review From £147 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

• An insider's guide to New York

The Peninsula New York

New York, United States

9Telegraph expert rating

This landmark hotel set in a convenient Midtown location originally opened as the short-lived Gotham Hotel in 1905 and, after several unsuccessful endeavors over the years, became The Peninsula New York. The food and drink offering shines in this hotel, with two restaurants and lounge areas, as well as a chic rooftop bar, 1930s Shanghai-inspired Salon de Ning. After dinner, hop on the lift to the 23rd floor and quaff cocktails here – it's arguably one of Midtown’s most stylish (and priciest) rooftop bars, with terrific views of Fifth Avenue and the surrounding cityscape. Read expert review From £487 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Archer hotel, new york, united states

Archer Hotel

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

In the Garment District, only two blocks from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, Archer Hotel puts travellers in the epicentre of Manhattan, but far enough from the madness of Times Square and Madison Square Garden. For drinks with a view, head up to Spyglass Rooftop Bar on the 22nd floor – wonderful for a pre or post-dinner cocktail. Inside, thoughtful design details, style and luxury abound in the hotel, a handsome boutique property within earshot of Bryant Park and close to the action of Midtown. Read expert review From £153 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn, New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

Spectacular views of downtown New York over the East River and, as the name suggests, the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge set this hotel apart from the rest. Inside it’s all industrial-chic: think large metal lamps hanging from chains and exposed pipes, spruced up by the odd indoor tree or potted plant. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby-cum-bar let in masses of sunlight, and most of the furniture is reclaimed. The hotel’s designers, many of them local, have clearly given huge thought to its social spaces, including its acclaimed rooftop bar. Read expert review From £178 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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The William Vale, Brooklyn, New York

The William Vale

Brooklyn, New York, United States

9Telegraph expert rating

This cinematic Williamsburg (AKA hipsterville) hotel spans 14 floors of Brooklyn’s most stylish buildings and boasts the largest hotel pool in New York. As well as a huge outdoor pool deck and futuristic rooms with balconies featuring chairs and tables for eating, sunbathing or viewing the sunset over the East River, there's a groovy rooftop bar with 360-degree views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. For night-time glamour this hugely popular rooftop bar is the top spot for drinks and small plates like lobster summer rolls and baby back ribs by Carmellini’s kitchen. Read expert review From £176 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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The Knickerbocker, New York, United States of America

The Knickerbocker

New York, United States

7Telegraph expert rating

The Knickerbocker, a New York City landmark since 1988, emits an air of grandeur and reflects the city of days gone by. No one can ignore the magnificent red brick and terra cotta façade and its stately Beaux Arts details. It sits in the midst of the action adjacent to Times Square – adding a touch of sophistication to the area. Expect a sleek restaurant and lounge on the fourth floor, a lobby coffee shop, and state-of-the-art fitness centre. For the view, head upstairs to the rooftop bar, St. Cloud, and indulge in its array of small plates, ceviche and raw bar specialties, alongside contemporary cocktails. Read expert review From £193 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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AC by Marriott Times Square

AC Hotel New York Times Square

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

The Castell Rooftop is the epitome of chic and where bartenders shake and stir martinis, highballs, and AC Hotel’s signature Gin Tonic, as well as pour wine, beer and sherry. Munch on toasted almonds with smoked Spanish paprika, ideal with a refreshing glass of French rosé. Or pair your swill with ahi tuna tartare, Mediterranean shrimp cocktail and other shareable plates. Soak up the sweeping city views while you sip. The hotel shines brightly in the midst of the neon lights of Times Square, and offers a convenient base to explore all the city’s offerings. Read expert review From £131 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Arlo SoHo, New York, United States

Arlo SoHo

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

The Arlo SoHo, which sits on the cusp of the New York district regarded for its shopping, is in a state of constant buzz. Its lobby area is a close-quartered check-in desk-meets-shop-cum-café and it throngs with trendsetters and creatives. There are a number of bikes locked up outside, free for guests to borrow in the summer and autumn, from dusk until dawn. It has partnerships with a number of local gyms and runs a variety of exercise classes on its rooftop. The rooftop bar offers charming views across the Hudson and is a very pleasant place to while away a few evening hours. Read expert review From £75 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Kimpton Hotel Eventi, New York

Kimpton Hotel Eventi

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

This Chelsea skyrise spans an entire block and offers a chic art-laden lobby, outdoor cinema screen, stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, breathtaking views and luxurious marble bathrooms. A small fitness centre contains cardio machines and free weights; the adjacent spa is famed for its exotic frangipani body wrap. The hotel also features an enormous loft-style event space with exposed brick and a retractable roof. There is an open-air veranda on the fifth floor, where, weather permitted, they hold the complimentary cocktail hour from 5pm to 6pm. Read expert review From £130 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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The Standard High Line hotel, New York, United States of America

The Standard, High Line

New York, United States

7Telegraph expert rating

The Standard sits in the centre of Manhattan’s ultra-trendy Meatpacking District, on the banks of the Hudson and straddling the High Line, the coolest public park in the city. Its food and drink offering echoes the trendy vibe, with street-side German beer garden packed with beautifully dressed people, a thriving grill restaurant reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, and two LA-style rooftop lounges overlooking the River. Rooftop club Top of the Standard is a glittering supper lounge with live jazz, a small plates menu, and designer cocktails, open from brunch until late. Read expert review From £128 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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PUBLIC, New York

PUBLIC

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

The mantra of Public – ‘populist not elitist’ – is borne out of its multiple communal spaces, all specifically designed to foster interaction. There’s a surprisingly tranquil front garden, plus a large flower-filled terrace at the rear, and three bars, all of which feature large sharing tables, sofas, and even bleacher seating, all open to the public 24/7. The rooftop bar, with 360-degree views over the city and outdoor beds, is particularly popular. Elsewhere, the hotel's aesthetic, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron, is sleek and streamlined, employing polished concrete, bamboo and bleached wood – with mirrors, smoked glass and flashes of neon too. Read expert review From £172 per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

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Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, New York

Hotel Indigo Lower East Side

New York, United States

8Telegraph expert rating

Much like the Lower East Side – in the historic neighbourhood where 19th and 20th-century immigrants settled and the punk rock movement was born – the hotel is far from conventional and emits an edge the moment you step inside. Since street art has helped shape the neighbourhood’s identity, the hotel celebrates graffiti and modern art throughout the public spaces and guest rooms. There's an all-day bar and restaurant-meets-nightclub on the 15th floor called Mr. Purple, and a bar on the terrace by the pool which offers seasonal menus, craft beers and cocktails. Read expert review From £85 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Contributions by Emily Benson-Scott, Tracy Kaler, Belinda Maude, Hugh Morris, Jane Mulkerrins, Douglas Rogers, Lucie Young