Spring is finally here, which means New Yorkers will actually start to enjoy
paying an exorbitant amount of money to survive living in this city. Unlike most places, spring in New York occurs for approximately two weeks between a disgustingly freezing winter à la March of the Penguins and a summer that is essentially just one giant heatwave. Fun times! New Yorkers generally don’t enjoy nature (at least I don’t), but that doesn’t mean we don’t like being outside when the arctic conditions have finally peaced the f*ck out. And because I refuse to pretend that I want to take advantage of the nice weather in Central Park, I will always be the first to propose the plan in the group chat before anyone else has the chance: rooftop bars.
Seriously, name one thing better than drinking against the backdrop of a beautiful skyline in pristine weather conditions. I’ll wait. Here’s the thing, as much as this city makes me question my will to live, there are times when I am happy to exist in a place where I can have a sit-down dinner at 11pm or run into Karlie Kloss every now and then. One of the most amazing qualities of this city is its ungodly amount of bars serving generous pours. So, while I couldn’t tell you where the f*ck to eat in the Theater District for a 6:30 show (which is what most people want to know), I can tell you where to knock a few back as the weather warms up. You’re welcome, darlings.
If you can’t picture where Gallow Green is on a map, would West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues help? I know what you’re thinking, “Wait. Isn’t that where Marquee is?” Why, yes it is, but if you’re not in college anymore, you have absolutely no reason to be at Marquee, so just keep walking west and you’ll find yourself at the door of the McKittrick Hotel. Now, if you’re a cultured New Yorker, you’ll know that the McKittrick Hotel is home to the only reason any of us know what Shakespeare’s Macbeth is about aka Sleep No More. So far, so good! Just above the steamiest play of all time is a seriously chic cocktail-slinging garden-vibes rooftop bar called Gallow Green. To paint a picture for you, it’s the Garden of Eden with a bar in the back. It’s named after a Scottish field where accused witches were hanged (neat!), so the bar has kind of an old-timey feel complete with string lights, greenery and tattered white flags hanging from the ceiling. Most importantly, the cocktails are to-die-for and the food is actually pretty amazing, too. I’ll take a Sleep No More cocktail with a side of assorted pizzas, please.
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This place has a spring break in Cancun vibe, but for adults, and I am not mad about it. It’s right in Midtown, so you can head straight here after you’re done pretending to make the world a better place at your finance job. Vida Verde isn’t like, revolutionary, but there are two things about it that make me want to go here over every other Midtown rooftop. First, there are more tables than I’ve ever seen in one place, which is ideal because I have a standing desk at work and now associate standing up with Excel and calendar invites. If there is a drink in my hand and nachos in the vicinity, I need to be sitting, mmkay? Second, there are 10 flavors of margarita. Lastly, a drinking establishment is only as good as its vibe, and Vida Verde clearly knows that, which is why the roof is literally covered in murals and every chair is a different color. I know the menu is prob the most important, but you’re playing yourself if you think you’re not going to take any Instagrams up here, honey. Take a seat, sip one of your 10 margs and enjoy the beautiful weather up here.
Ophelia is set in midtown East, but like, all the way east to the point that you are almost walking into the East River. But once you get inside, you’ll realize it’s well worth the trek. Perched 26 stories above the city, the Gatsby-reminiscent bar offers 360-degree views of the East River and Manhattan skyline in both its indoor and outdoor sections, so checking out this rooftop is not weather-dependent. The cocktails are delicious (and will sneak up on you—buyer beware). I had the appropriately named Flapper drink, which came in a glass dusted in sugar, and was prettier than I can ever hope to be (and tasted as good as it looked).
I avoid the Garment District harder than I do making eye contact with my ex in the Trader Joe’s line on a Sunday morning. But I’ll gladly step foot in New York’s equivalent of District 12 for Refinery Rooftop. If you’ve ever experienced the nightmare that is a fashion internship, you’ll know that those four miserable blocks between 6th and 9th Avenues are the bane of human existence during the summer months, but Refinery Rooftop is a game changer, I promise. I don’t even get PTSD-induced flashbacks from my trips to Mood anymore! Anyway, Refinery is not a massive frat house like so many rooftop bars. It actually kind of feels like you got lost in someone’s enormous house and just stumbled around until you ended up on her outdoor deck. I mean that in the best way possible: it’s quaint, it’s chic and it’s surprisingly homey! The roof has a giant skylight and the walls are exposed brick, which is chic af. The cocktails are pretty decent, but be sure to order the bar’s signature sips because for each one sold, one dollar will be donated to GrowNYC! According to Refinery Rooftop, GrowNYC “improve New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities and empower all New Yorkers.” It’d be cool if they could improve New York City’s quality of life by fixing the f*cked up subway system, but I guess environmental programs are cool, too.
The Crown Rooftop at 50 Bowery Hotel
When it comes to sweeping views, this Chinatown gem truly has them all: Brooklyn, Manhattan, maybe even Queens! Don’t get me wrong, Chinatown can def be disgusting what with the constant stench of freshly dead fish and enormous crowds that insist on taking up 110% of the sidewalks, but honestly, this is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan thanks to the mom in Broad City. Ok, back to The Crown. This summer, The Crown is rolling out all the stops with its new theme, Royal Summer. I’m into it. TBH, one of the things I love most about this place, aside from its bougie theme, is the fact that there are indoor and outdoor sections. As much as I love breathing in the polluted-beyond-reason New York air, sometimes I just want to sit on a plush sofa in an air-conditioned space with a drink in my hand. Is that too much to ask? The Crown doesn’t think so! This season’s new menu items include a lobster roll with North Fork chips and a “backyard” burger (among other items) and, for the drinks, Rose-Colored Glasses. My friends tell me I wear these on dates with attractive guys, fully knowing they will ruin my life for a few months, but whatever. To each her own, right?
Pod 39 Rooftop
Truth be told, I went on a horrendous date here when I first moved to New York, but the date was bad only because the guy absolutely sucked. The location was amazing and I have since been back many times. This bar is the perfect size, too: it’s not too big and not too small, but more importantly, they let only a certain amount of people up at a time, so you will never have to take baby steps with your arms bent and pressed against your body like chicken wings as you try to squeeze through a crowd. I’m not sure if there’s a theme, per se, but I have gotten chips and guac and a spicy marg more than once, so I’m going to go ahead and say Mexican is a safe bet? Like The Crown, there are indoor and outdoor sections, but the outdoor part is significantly better than the indoor one, which has exactly one sofa and one table. Feels like they are setting us up to fail here, but whatever. The outdoor part is also just really cute. There’s no roof, so obv plan to go on a day/night when it’s not monsooning, and enjoy the best views of Manhattan. The lack of roof also means the whole space looks and feels really open, so it doesn’t get so loud to the point where you’re scream-talking with your date/friends.
It’s the Arlo rooftop in Soho, get it? The Hudson River provides the backdrop to this rooftop bar, so your Instas will be on point. The bar has plenty of seating (and a number of plush chaises), so you won’t be fighting anyone for a seat (or, more likely, staring daggers at that table who just. won’t. get. up). They’ve got an inventive signature cocktail list and a respectable selection of craft beer, plus snacks and small plates that I can personally attest are amazing. (Try the deviled eggs or grilled wings and thank me later.) And when the sun goes down, you can check out what’s going down at the hotel downstairs, where they host all kinds of fun events, like a CBD pop-up, Movie Night, and once, a haiku poetry slam.
Say what you will about this place, but I f*cking love it. It’s in the Meatpacking District, which like, chic, and the music here is on fire. The journey to get from the terrifying college-bar vibes of the first few levels can be a lot, but once you actually get to the roof, all feels right in the world again. It’s the perfect place to go with a small group because there is so much space up there. You can push tables together, sofas together, your two friends you’ve always wanted to date together…etc. The drinks are like, fine, but no one really goes to rooftop bars for a truly quality craft cocktail. They are open pretty much all day and night, so go whenever you feel like, but I personally prefer to spend the day here than the night here because, after midnight, this place can be a cesspool rife with body con dresses and dudes asking what sorority you were in, which just shouldn’t happen if both parties have graduated. The French Toast and anything from the Something Sparkly part of the menu is a perfect pair, so order up! Be sure to wear sunscreen because there is zero shade up here and no one wants brunch with a side of fine lines, amiright?
Images: Gallow Green; Refinery Rooftop; The Crown at Hotel 50 Bowery; Ophelia NYC; Arlo Hotel; Pod 39, Brass Monkey / Instagram
In most states, betches wake up on Sunday morning with a colossal hangover and no plans to get out of bed until Monday—but not New York betches. New York betches are more passionate about Sunday brunch than Jonathan Cheban is about deep-dish pizza. I mean, you just can’t fake that kind of enthusiasm. No matter how strict of a diet you’re on, it’s totally possible to find a sick brunch spot that will cure your hangover without ruining your health kick. Here are the best ones:
Westville has a few locations around the downtown area, and their menu is literally perfect for a group of hangry girls who needed their egg white omelet like, yesterday. The line is never too bad and there are enough vegetables on the menu to make you forget about the box of Joe’s pizza you devoured last night before passing out. For people who aren’t dieting, their challah bread French toast is bomb.
2. The Butcher’s Daughter
Butcher’s Daughter is the type of place that basically requires you to take at least three Xanax pills to wait in line behind 20 vegan models and a couple Nolita hipsters, but if you have the time and patience, it’s worth it. Butcher’s Daughter advertises as being vegan but they totally serve eggs and other normal brunch items, so don’t worry about needing to cure your hangover with tofu and soy butter. Plus, in the summer they serve boozy popsicles that literally taste like frozen Sangria. It’s a must.
3. Freds at Barneys
Whether you’re an actual uptown betch or you just spent the night at some guy’s apartment on the Upper East Side, Freds is literally the most underrated brunch spot. Their salads are huge enough to make you forget that you’ve been counting your calories all week, and their French fries are unreal if you can convince your friends to split them with you. It’s also just an amazing dining experience, so put on your best romper and pretend you washed your hair this weekend.
4. Coco & Cru
There’s nothing betches love more than hot Australian accents and basic avocado toast, and this place does both perfectly. It’s an Australian-inspired café, so you’ll feel pretty cultured while eating food that is delicious and pretty healthy. The green bowl is filled with roasted green veggies and a poached egg, and is honestly delicious. They also do brunch all day so you don’t have to worry about getting out of bed before noon.
5. Foragers Table
Foragers is all about farm-to-table dining, so you know all the ingredients here are fresh and aren’t loaded with shit. Their brunch menu is easy to navigate for people on the strictest diet (get the Super Green Egg White Omelet) or people who don’t give a fuck (get Orange Blossom Pancakes, extra syrup). They also make a ton of freshly squeezed juices and have great cocktails made with fresh ingredients and herbs. You’re basically getting drunk off organic mint leaves.
If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy brunch on the Lower East Side, Dimes is your place. They make these amazing healthy bowls with acai and chia seeds and the rest of that superfood family, and they also have amazing toasts with almond butters, seeds, berries, and anything else you could want (to photograph) for brunch. They also make their own sick brunch cocktails, like the Dimes Carajillo and various mimosas depending on which fresh juices they have that day.
7. Ellary’s Greens
Ellary’s Greens is as healthy as it sounds, but it’s possible they have the best brunch food in the West Village. If the Jack’s Wife Freda line is giving you a pounding headache, Ellary’s is usually less busy and the food is super fresh. They do healthy yogurt parfaits and house-made granola, and if you’re feeling like you want a diet break, go for their blueberry-lemon waffle or their apple-filled French toast. They also apparently serve bacon kale mac & cheese, which might be healthy, or might just be bacon mac & cheese with a kale leaf on the side. Get back to us on that.
There’s only one place you can go to cleanse your sins on a Sunday morning in NYC, and that is boozy brunch. Bottomless drinks aren’t just an institution in this city, they’re literally the only thing we’ll wake up for after accidentally staying out until 5 AM, otherwise known here as relaxing after a long work week. Like everything in NYC, there are tons of options to choose from, which means we had to thoroughly investigate all the best places to bitch about being rent-poor while chugging champagne. Here are our ten favorite boozy brunch spots in Manhattan, because there’s no fucking way we’re getting on the L train that early:
1. Calle Ocho
Apologies in advance for using this word, but Calle Ocho is fucking lit. If you’re looking for an amazing Mexican brunch for under $30, look no further. Come hungry, because you’ll gorge yourself on the bread basket they dole out before the entree comes. And that $30 price tag I quoted? It includes the drinks. YEP. I’m talking multiple brunch sangrias in various flavors such as tropical, fresas (that’s strawberry for those of you who failed Spanish), and something called Havana Banana—and it’s all included in the price of your meal. Can’t decide between a white, red, or rosé? Try them all (and then die—the dranks are strong af). It’s worth the trek to the Upper West side, just trust me. (From $20)
This spot in the West Village is a failsafe option for when you want something slightly more bougie that involves a lot of guac. This is a two-hour BB that gets you any entree plus unlimited mimosas, wine or frozen margaritas, and you should really get at least one frozen marg because they’re fire. Their Mexican food is also amazing, so you don’t even need to be wasted to enjoy it. Factor in the chill decor, good service quick refills, and prime location for post-brunch drinking, and this spot is a 10/10. Just remember to book in advance. ($33)
If you feel like going back to the LES where you were blacked out a few hours ago, head on down to Essex for a fun brunch scene with loud music that’s good for bigger groups. You’ll get unlimited Bloody’s, screwdrivers and mimosas here and they go heavy on the alcohol which is a huge bonus because fuck work tomorrow. It’s also a loft-style restaurant with lots of natural lighting for your Instagram which is very important for obvious reasons. ($32)
4. Crooked Knife
This place gets our glowing stamp of approval as another very solid brunch option in the West Village. The menu has entire sections dedicated to omelettes and eggs bennies, and also things like fried mac n’ cheese and creme brulee french toast if you really feel like falling off the wagon due to the Sunday scaries. If you come when the weather’s nice, there’s a cute outdoor patio which is pretty small, but also hello, you’re in New York. ($39)
5. Dos Caminos
There are five Dos Caminos locations in NYC, which means no matter where you live, you aren’t far from delicious Mexican food and margs around brunch time. You’ve likely already been here for birthday dinners or drinks since this chain is somewhat of a staple, but why not try it out earlier when you can get the same cocktails for less? When it comes to hungover brunch we’re really not trying to reinvent the wheel here. ($18 + entree)
6. Il Bastardo
If you’re trying to keep the party going then we’d recommend Il Bastardo in Chelsea, which is always packed and rowdy enough to make you forget that other people are getting their shit together at this hour. Each person gets their own bottle of champagne or rosé, or a full pitcher of mimosa. There are also shot girls walking around, and if all that won’t get you buzzed then we can’t help you. The music is loud and there’s a strict dress code, so it’s not casual by any means, but then again none of the best boozy brunches are. ($65)
By now you’ve probably gotten copped onto the fact that Mexican is the main cuisine for the best boozy brunches, and Maya is yet another example in the UES. The kicker here is that you get unlimited drinks and food for two hours, which is enough to fuck up your diet in a major yet justifiable way. They’ve got a bumping hip-hop playlist going so order one of everything and go to town (it’s not like you’re going anywhere after…you’re in the UES). ($45)
8. Cafe Cortadito
You don’t come to Cafe Cortadito for the food, you come to get wasted with a bunch of friends at noon in the East Village and not get judged for it. The venue is small and always packed but on the plus side they’ve got outdoor seating for when it’s nice out. They serve Cuban dishes here, and with any entree you get unlimited mimosas and sangria. They have also have a champagne mojito which you should definitely get like, at least five of. ($23)
Poco is another fun spot in the East Village with great decor and even better vibes for day drinking on FRIDAY (if you’re taking a “sick day” from work), Saturday or Sunday. This place gets booked up fast so you’ll need to make a reservation in advance and it’s cash only *eye roll*. Other than that it’s a solid spot to drink all the Bloody’s, mimosas and sangria that your heart desires and your liver can handle. ($32)
10. Yerba Buena
This place has two locations, one in the East Village and one in the West, and both are highly recommended for a reliable drunching experience with food that’s actually really good (we’d even recommend this place sober, if that was a thing we ever did). Their bottomless deal only lasts for one hour, so you’ve got to be efficient to get through their long list of great cocktails, but we’ve got faith you can take full advantage. ($17 + entree)
This April Fool’s Day, BETCHES is excited to announce our latest comedy tour, Betches Who Brunch. This brand new one day event brings the signature snarky and honest BETCHES humor to you live, in 7 cities across America, with a side of mimosas and a sh*t ton of laughs. All brunches will take place on Saturday, April 1st.
Ticket Links HERE
San Francisco, CA
Cobb’s Comedy Club
City Winery Chicago
Los Angeles, CA
Get in loser, we’re going brunching.
To my friend and the glass of alcohol she’s holding at all times,
A lot of our friends are happy to drink when it’s “socially appropriate” aka at a Saturday night pregame or Sunday afternoon brunch, depending on who you ask. It’s kind of a given that both of us will already be wasted by the time we show up to those events, but we can def appreciate the effort that they’re putting in (and be envious that they’re drunk after just 7 or 8 shots).
You, on the other hand, are a drinker of a totally different breed, meaning you’ll gladly order a cocktail anytime and anywhere. When the waiter accidentally includes the drink menu at a Wednesday morning breakfast, you’ll be the first to say “Actually you can leave it, we’ll take a look.” You’ll suggest pregaming innocent events like apple picking, and you’ve never not ordered a pitcher of margarita when that’s an available quantity.
You’re always down, which means we can avoid the “should we or shouldn’t we” dance that occurs with others. I only have to sit through 10 seconds of, “A glass of wine sounds nice but I don’t really need it. Are you having one? Maybe I could. Actually, I’m all set” to have me both extremely shook and appreciative of your existence. With you it’s never a question of if we’re drinking, but of how much and which kind of vodka we want, and I’m so grateful for that.
So thanks for being so reliably thirsty, and enabling my own
clear alcoholism desire to turn up at all times. My liver hates you, but my heart will always love you. Actually my heart is currently palpitating, but you’re still really, really fun.