sushi lab
Sushi Lab is a new spot at The Sanctuary Hotel in midtown
Sushi Lab
By Austa Somvichian-Clausen / July 24, 2020 11:50 am


In what appears to be the turnaround of the century, life in New York has finally begun to form some semblance of what it was pre-pandemic. After two months of strict quarantine that simultaneously felt like a full year and one endless day, the number of new cases and hospitalizations have dropped to their lowest rates since March.

It’s good news, but numbers don’t stay that good without exercising some pretty serious caution. Currently, more than half of the country is on a Tri-state quarantine list, and social distancing is still of the utmost importance. That said, the city still chugged along into Phase Four of reopening on Monday, meaning New Yorkers are finally able to visit attractions like the zoo and the botanical garden. What we’re not allowed to do just yet is participate in indoor dining, and Governor Cuomo has instituted some pretty strict guidelines for bars and restaurants operating in the city. So far, the New York State Liquor Authority suspended 27 licenses statewide and brought 410 charges against establishments.

Yet, resilient as ever, New York City bars and restaurants continue to adapt against all odds. Outdoor dining spaces are being utilized to their fullest extent possible, and some restaurateurs from Manhattan to Brooklyn have even had to cojones to open up new establishments — including five with some pretty epic rooftops. 

Without further ado, check out our picks for the freshest al fresco dining experiences below, and make sure to pay some of them a visit before Cuomo possibly chooses to rollback re-openings.

Sushi Lab Rooftop at The Sanctuary Hotel 
Midtown 


The new rooftop restaurant features Japanese small plates along with creative nigiri, sashimi and maki sushi as well as a full omakase experience, all care of Sushi Lab Executive Chef Frankie Chen. The new rooftop has eight seats at the chef’s counter and nine additional — and safely distanced — outdoor tables, for a total capacity of 30. If you wanna go big, the menu’s pièce de résistance is The Lab Experiment, which will get you 15 courses featuring delicacies fresh truffle, Wagyu and caviar for $115. Sake is served up by the glass and bottle in addition to beer and wine. Hit Resy to book a table.

Ainslie
Williamsburg 


The Williamsburg outpost of the popular elevated sports bar just unveiled a new rooftop with 26 seats in addition to 36 seats on the sidewalk and 50 seats in their garden. Sidewalk seating opened Wednesday. Ainslie’s Executive Chef John DeLucie and lead pizzaiolo Erasmo “Mino” Lassandro offer a tasty menu of wood-fired pizzas, pastas, free range chicken, NY Strip Steak, Atlantic Salmon and Wood Fired Rosemary Wings. Book your table here.

Ampia 
Financial District 


Right above Gnoccheria Wall Street is a brand new rooftop by the same owners, husband-and-wife duo Michele and Anisa Luliano. Just opened on July 8, the new concept is called Ampia, and it’s a sprawling 4,500-square-foot terrace featuring small individual greenhouses for a socially distanced dining experience. The menu, which diners can access from their phones via QR code, features light Italian fare along with a selection of inventive seafood paninis. 

Photo courtesy of Travis Keyes/Ampia

Perivoli at Ravel Hotel
Long Island City


Get your dinner poolside at the new Perivoli rooftop — well, kind of. The expansive 100-seat Greek restaurant, with a menu that covers classics like crisp zucchini and eggplant chips, stuffed vine leaves, grilled octopus and calamari, also features a pool open to the public with a snack menu. The swanky spot opened at the end of last month, but here’s the kicker: admittance to both areas requires testing for COVID-19. Haven’t taken a test? Fear not, licensed physicians will be available at the entrance to offer instant tests and even optional antibody tests.

Top of the Box
Greenpoint

The trendy Box House Hotel officially opened their new rooftop cocktail bar to the public on July 17. The enormous 10,000-square-foot space features panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City, and was formerly used exclusively as an event venue. Luckily, you don’t need to attend a wedding to drink up there now. Contactless ordering will get you all frozen drinks you need, and they have a menu of light bites if you’re hungry. The new spot also features New York’s only retractable roof, making it possible to visit rain or shine.