One of the great pleasures in exploring New York‘s bar scene is finding those secret gardens and back patios that make summertime drinking infinitely more enjoyable. But a little chill in the air doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for boozing hibernation — you just have to look a little harder. (Hint: start with hotels.) With the help of heaters, warm drinks and a little creativity, these six watering holes put a wintry spin on outdoor drinking.
Plunge: The dress code and door drama at the Hotel Gansevoort‘s rooftop bar can drive casual drinkers a little batty, but it’s hard to argue with the goods at this scene-y Meatpacking District spot, namely, the glass-surrounded, 365-day-a-year heated outdoor pool, with an adjacent, uncovered rooftop area as well. 18 9th Ave.
Wheeltapper Pub/The Patio: The rooftop at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel may attract far less press coverage than its counterpart at the Gansevoort, but that also means far smaller crowds. The heated space even has a retractable roof for rainy evenings. The only downside is that you have to head inside after 11 p.m. 687 Lexington Ave.
230 Fifth: This posh Flatiron District bar has city views so killer they can’t well afford to shut down for the season — so instead guests trade their martinis for hot toddies and cover their designer duds in giant red robes handed out at the door — not so fashionable, but they get the job done! 230 Fifth Ave.
Studio Square: One of the newest (and by far the largest) stops on the city’s rapidly growing beer garden circuit, this Queens outpost also offers a clutch amenity that vaults it ahead of its competitors: a fire pit with room for a good 15 or so people to gather around — who needs heaters? 35-33 36th St., Long Island City, Queens
The Delancey: While they often bring in solid bands, this LES rock club’s main draw is still the palm tree-studded rooftop, which loses some of the crowds in winter, but cranks out the heaters and stays open all season. 168 Delancey
Bookmarks Lounge: Technically, this garden bar on the rooftop of the Library Hotel adds glass walls in the winter, so that makes it not quite outside anymore. Nevertheless, it’s hard to beat the chilled-out vibe and midtown views. 299 Madison Ave.
– Brendan Spiegel of Endless Simmer.