With the heat wave we’re currently in, it’s safe to say we’ve reached the “hell’s front porch” part of NYC summer (and it’s still only July!). If you don’t want to be limited to AC-only dining, enjoying a drink along the waterfront is one way to stay cool and keep the summer vibes going strong.
From eating on historic boats with gorgeous views of the sunset to checking out secluded seafood hotspots on NYC’s smaller surrounding islands, these are some of our favorite spots for a breezy cocktail and bites.
Here are the best waterfront restaurants in NYC:
1. Grand Banks, Pier 25 in Tribeca
Located on Sherman Zwicker, a historic wooden schooner docked at Pier 25, Grand Banks is modeled after the oyster barges found on the waterfront in the 19th century. Their oysters are gathered sustainably from the East & West Coast in partnership with the non-profit Maritime Foundation, plus yellow and white awnings make for a bright, summery atmosphere!
For a similar feel, you can also hop aboard their sister restaurant Pilot in Brooklyn Heights.
Where: Pier 25 Hudson River Park
When: Monday – Friday 11 am – 12 am, Saturday & Sunday for brunch 10 am – 2 pm, followed by continuous service until 12 am; reservations here
2. La Barca Cantina, Pier 81 Midtown West
NYC’s first & only floating Mexican restaurant is setting sail again for the summer, starting May 5. The three-story boat at Pier 81 on the Hudson River lets you enjoy Mexican fare and delicious cocktails as you sail around the city for incredible skyline and sunset views with New York Cruise Lines. Watch our own experience above, and read more here!
Where: Pier 81, 41st Street and 12th Avenue
When: Thursdays – Fridays 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturdays 1 pm – 10 pm, Sundays 12 pm – 10 pm
3. Watermark Bar, Pier 15 in South Street Seaport
Originally a stunning events venue, Watermark Bar is a great spot to grab food and drinks with beautiful views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge (hint: it’s even more magical at night when the bridge is lit up!). They’re getting ready to transform their outdoor space into Watermark Beach, a tropical waterfront oasis on May 5 as well! It’s set to include cabanas, a carefully curated cocktail program and more!
Where: Pier 1, 78 South Street
When: Mondays – Tuesdays closed, Wednesdays – Thursdays 5 pm – 11 pm, Fridays 4 pm – 12 am, Saturdays 12 pm – 12 am, Sundays 12 pm – 10 pm
4. Baylander Steel Beach, Harlem
The Baylander Steel Beach is a newer restaurant and bar at the West Harlem Piers that’s aboard a historic air craft carrier ship. The eatery comes from the owners of Prohibition Lounge on the Upper West Side, who came into ownership of the decommissioned ship in 2017. The menu of course boasts yummy seafood and bar grub — like fish & chips, fried clams, and lobster rolls. And of course, there are plenty of nautical themed cocktails like the Dark ‘n Stormy, and a “Port Side Paloma.” It’s set to open for it’s 4th season on April 27.
Where: Hudson River West Harlem Piers on 125th St
When: Mondays – Tuesdays closed, Wednesdays 3 pm – 9 pm, Thursdays – Fridays 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturdays 12 pm – 10 pm, Sundays 12 pm – 9 pm
5. City Winery, Pier 57
NYC’s combination music venue/winery/restaurant, City Winery, finally opened their massive flagship on Pier 57 in late 2020. The 32,000-square-foot space is right on the Hudson River and has views of the waterfront along with Little Island. You can take in views indoors & out with deck seating as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.
Where: 25 11th Ave
When: Sunday – Thursday 12 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm
6. City Vineyard, Pier 26 in Tribeca
Also owned by City Winery is the Tribeca staple City Vineyard, where you can also enjoy great views of the Hudson while sipping on wine that is made right here in NYC. You have multiple options for seating here: the socially-distanced patio and the rooftop, which both have gorgeous views of the water and are covered in romantic vines. No matter where you sit, there’s plenty of frosé to be had.
Where: 233 West St.
When: Tuesday – Thursday 3 pm – 10 pm, Friday 3 pm -11 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm, Monday closed
7. The Frying Pan, Pier 66 in Chelsea
This Coast Guard lightship turned restaurant/bar boasts seafood bites like lobster rolls, fried calamari, fish ‘n chips and more, along with amazing views of the sunset over the Hudson. You’ll feel like you’re out to sea even though you’re completely docked, of course! They also have loads of refreshing summer drinks on deck, like sangria, vodka lemonade, rum punch and spicy watermelon margaritas! Stay tued for this year’s opening date!
Where: 207 12th Ave
8. Anable Basin, Long Island City
Anable Basin is a bit off the beaten path in Long Island City, but once you walk there you’ll realize how it’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Its spot on the East River offers unencumbered views of the Manhattan skyline you won’t get at the restaurants and bars on the city’s piers, plus it’s not as well-known. Enjoy local beers, craft cocktails, and light bites.
Where: 4-40 44 Drive, Long Island City
When: Monday – Friday 3 pm – 9 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 9 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 9:30 pm
9. Johnny’s Reef, City Island (The Bronx)
Johnny’s Reef has been serving City Island—the tiny 1.5-mile long island off the northeastern part of the Bronx—for a whopping 60 years. It’s casual and affordable, with fresh seafood from the market each day that can be eaten off picnic tables right on the water. Enjoy a wide range of fish, shellfish and more either steamed or fried.
Where: 2 City Island Ave, The Bronx
When: Sunday – Tuesday 11:30 am – 9 pm, Wednesday – Thursday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Friday – Saturday 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
10. Nick’s Lobster House, Brooklyn
Lobster, anyone? This historic restaurant has been serving Mill Basin, Brooklyn since 1955! Enjoy views of the boats zooming around while on the outside deck, and indulge in lobster multiple different ways: whole, roll, or surf ‘n turf with steak!
Where: 2777 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn
When: Sunday – Monday 12 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm, Closed Tuesday – Wednesday
11. Island Oyster, Governors Island
When you’re sitting at Island Oyster’s bar on Governors Island on a sunny day, feeling the sea breeze flow from the Hudson River, you will surely forget you are even in the city (except for that gorgeous view of the skyline, of course). You’ll feel like you’re on vacation on a tropical island—and you only had to take a $2 ferry from downtown Manhattan. Munch on oysters (of course), fresh salads, fish tacos, and vacation-ready cocktails. Stay tuned for this year’s opening date!
*Walk-ins only, no reservations
Where: 146 Carder Rd., Governors Island
12. Mezze on the River, Battery Park City
This new Mediterranean spot from Merchants Hospitality has gorgeous views of the Hudson River from Battery Park. The outdoor terraces offer elevated cabanas with unobstructed waterfront views, while the inside has floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for sailboat watching. Enjoy Greek-influenced menu items from Fresh Grilled Branzino to Lamb Chops, to of course, Mezze Platters and even Raw Bar options.
Where: 375 South End Ave
When: Wednesday – Thursday 5 pm – 10 pm, Friday 5 p.m – 11 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
13. Drift In, West Village
Another from the Crew NYC crew, Drift In mimics the island feel and atmosphere of both Grand Banks and Island Oyster (though it’s not on a boat or an island!). Enjoy their signature nautical-striped awnings along the Hudson River, with bites like sustainable oysters, wild-caught seafood and burgers plus cool-you-down drinks like watermelon frosé and tropical cocktails. Stay tuned for this year’s opening date!
Where: Hudson River Park’s Pier 45, between Christopher St. and West 10th St.
14. North River Lobster Company, Pier 81
For our seafood fanatics, North River Lobster Company is officially open for season! The beloved floating seafood restaurant is service their delectable bits, including the classic Maine Lobster Roll, and new menu items like The Skagen Shrimp Roll, Tuna Tartare, Clam Dips & Chips, and Lobster Clawsicles in five different flavors. From now until May 22nd, NRLC is open for a 1-hour cruise & meal on Thursdays through Sundays at select times. Learn more and grab passes here.
Where: Pier 81, W 41st St
When: Thursday 2 pm – 9pm, Friday – Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm
15. Industry Kitchen, Seaport
Grab some unobstructed views of the Brooklyn Skyline at Industry Kitchen, a waterfront spot with 3,000 square feet of outdoor dining space! Enjoy outdoor greenery and bright umbrellas with shade as you dine on seasonal modern American cuisine helmed by Chef Jonathan Haffmans. Pair that with their variety of craft beers, signature cocktails, and extensive wine list, and you have the recipe for a perfect al fresco meal. Check out their menu and plan your visit here.
Where: 70 10005 South St A
When: Sunday – Thursday 12 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm
16. Halifax, Hoboken
For our folks on the other side of the river (we’re talking our New Jersey people), you have to check out Halifax in Hoboken. This waterfront restaurant not only offers stunning Manhattan views from across the water, but also has delicious food. Their menu features Northeastern farm and coastal cuisine, with an emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients. They also have some great meal options including a Don Julio Tasting Dinner (4-course dinner by Executive Chef Seadon Shouse) as well as a Bubbles Brunch (Unlimited small plates + bottle of sparkling wine per person). Check out their menu and plan a visit here.
Where: 225 River St, Hoboken, NJ
When: Everyday, 7 am – 10:30 am & 11 am – 10 pm