Updated: May 21, 2015

Best New York Rooftop Bars - Me Bar

One of the joys of hanging out in New York City is the scenery. Most of the good bars in NYC have their own unique feel or character, whether it is trendy, expensive, or just a dive watering hole. But rooftop bars are in a class by themselves. Of course in the winter months, you won't find many people hanging out on New York rooftops. But in the Spring and Summer, when people are dying to get out of their offices and apartments and into the fresh air and sunshine, there is nothing quite like the feeling of sitting on the roof, checking out the Manhattan skyline, and sipping a cold drink. One low-key rooftop bar to consider is the Me Bar at La Quinta Inn (used to be called the Sun Roof) on 32nd St., between Broadway and 5th ((212) 290-2460, 17 W 32nd St). From the outside, this doesn't look like your average La Quinta you'd see driving around the interstate freeways - it's housed in a fairly elegant looking old building here in the heart of Korea Town.
new york rooftop bars


You won't see a lot of obvious signs that there is a rooftop bar here -- just look for the La Quinta sign on the northside of the street and head on in. The elevators are pretty much straight ahead when you come in the front doors. Take the elevators up to the top, the 14th floor and exit to the right out of the elevator. Go up a few stairs, and you'll find yourself on the inside portion of the Me Bar, with nothing but glass windows and doors holding you back from that rooftop terrace. When we were there, there was no table service -- just order from the bar. We paid $6 for a beer, which is pretty average in NY and very cheap for a rooftop bar setting. The setting itself, and the fact it is in a La Quinta, kind of sets the tone for the crowds you find up here. This is not a snooty club filled with beautiful people -- it's just a regular place to hang out with affordable drinks. So if you are going for mellow and off the beaten path, drop on by. If you are looking for the A-crowd and fancy bottles of $300 champagne, skip it -- not that kind of scene (be sure to check our listing of other New York rooftop bars).

The View From the Me Bar Rooftop Bar

OK, so let's talk about the view -- that's what you came here for, right? The outside terrace is pretty small, maybe 25 feet deep by 50 feet long. There are tables and benches along the wall, with cushions. The chairs and tables are about what you'd expect for an outdoor garden settings -- kind of hard and weather-proof, not super comfortable. The only thing you can really see is the Empire State Building -- it IS the view from this rooftop. Since it is located on 34th, the ESB towers over this rooftop 2 blocks south. You have to crane your neck to see the top of it, but its like having a front row seat at the Empire State show. The other 3 sides don't offer any view since there are higher buildings and walls around, so it doesn't really feel like a rooftop with 360 degree views. Since it is relatively small, the Me Bar can get very crowded on Fridays and Saturdays -- consider dropping by on a weeknight evening to avoid some of the congestion (though it can be crowded weeknights as well). Our most recent visit was a Friday night around 5:45 and there were only 6-10 people there, though some people have complained about 30 minute lines to get up there. There is a single bathroom right by the steps where you came in, and the line for that can be long as the drinking heats up during the night. They also have an outside tent/cover that is used during inclement weather. There is no food served other than popcorn, but they have delivery menus from nearby spots (think Korean BBQ to get started..) to satisfy those late night cravings. If you want to see a brief video clip of what the outside deck and ESB view look like, go here. Below are some pictures from the Me Bar. me bar rooftop bar new york
empire state building view

Me Rooftop Bar - Getting There - Map

The closest subway stops are the 34th St Herald Square stop (B,D,F,N,Q,R,W) at 6th Ave, the 28th St. stop at Broadway (R,W), and the 33rd St. stop at Park Ave (6 train). The bar is open Sun. through Wed. 5:30pm-midnight, 5:30pm-1am on Thursday and Friday, and 5:30pm-3am on Saturdays.