You may have noticed that in the past week or so, certain elements in the media establishment have been trying to convince you that summer is over. THIS IS A LIE. As I’m sure we all remember from 8th grade earth science, summer does not end until the autumnal equinox on September 22. Any attempts to claim that it is already time to get back to work, back in shape, or back to sober are just shamefully false. And most importantly, we’ve still got a good few weeks yet of prime outdoor eating time. So close down that spreadsheet and check out our list of New York’s Top 10 Outdoor Eating Spots.
Some people say outdoor eating should be reserved for lighter fare, like summer salads or baguette slices and brie. To this I call BS. There’s nothing better than sitting outside and enjoying a full plate of steak frites and a couple of bottles of Bourdeaux. Wedged between a deli and a barber shop, this narrow East Village French bistro is entirely missable from the sidewalk, but one of New York’s best-kept secrets is hidden in the back: the lush, ivy-lined patio garden.
9. Harbor Lights
South Street Seaport is generally a place New Yorkers like to avoid when not guiding out-of-towners around. But if you’re up for a little tourist-elbowing, it’s worth pushing your way past the mall crowds to this seafood palace serving freshly-caught oysters, clams, shrimp and lobster, along with the best views going of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan. Sure, it’s a cheesy postcard moment, but as those go, it’s as good as it gets.
Pier 17, 3rd Floor, South Street Seaport
8. New Leaf Cafe
All the way on the other end of Manhattan, Washington Heights’ woodsy Fort Tyron Park is the setting for this quaint limestone building and garden cafe, which serves an upscale seafood menu featuring oysters on the half-shell and tuna tartare (hopefully nothing culled from the Hudson below). But the real draw is the view from up on the hill, with the towering Cloisters museum just next door and an expansive view of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx in the distance.
7. Gowanus Yacht Club
Don’t let the stuffy name fool you: Smith Street may be home to Brooklyn’s toniest restaurants, but this summertime beer garden is a dirty beach bum’s dirty hipster’s paradise, complete with dirt cheap burgers and hot dogs, and the added lure of Styrofoam cups of beer starting at one dollar.
323 Smith Street, at President Street, Cobble Hill
New Yorkers of all stripes discovered a new pastime this summer: figuring out ways to sneak into this exclusive rooftop patio at the 60 Thompson hotel. Techniques for gaining access to this members-only lounge include shelling out for a room key, finding a hotel-guest date in the second-floor lounge, or showing up on weekdays before seven, when the rooftop is open to all.
60 Thompson Street, near Broome Street, Soho