The daylight is lasting longer, the weather isn’t quite as frigid and the hope of springtime in New York City is just around the corner…. as long as we can make it through winter’s final few attempts at snowfall.
March is also the time when bars and venues begin to shift with seasonal changes, heralding the onset of spring specialties and the return of outside day drinking.
So break out the spring sweaters and get a breath of fresh air at these spots that are anything but out of season.
1. Refinery Rooftop (63 West 38th Street)
Up atop the Garment District’s Refinery Hotel sits the industrial lounge Refinery Rooftop, a year-round rooftop hotspot with exposed brick, craft cocktails and a killer view of the Empire State Building, not to mention the rest of Midtown.
As the winter clouds clear, Refinery’s outdoor space blossoms with life, for both sophisticated locals and travelers alike. Take a sip of their aptly named Perfect Pear, a juicy bite of Grey Goose La Poire, sweet St. Germain and fresh pear purée.
2. Berry Park (4 Berry Street - Brooklyn)
One Williamsburg's newest beer halls, Berry Park has among the largest rooftop decks to be found in the borough. This bi-level behemoth boasts a 3,500-square foot-ground floor with a 13-foot flat screen that usually has the day’s biggest soccer game proudly playing.
Along with their imported beers, creative cocktails and American food menu, they feature special house shots perfect for breaking in spring. Their sweet and spicy Verdita is a shot of Milagro Tequila followed by a second shot of mint, cilantro and jalapeño.
3. Seamstress (339 East 79th Street)
Like a patchwork quilt that all of your great aunts made together, this Upper East Side nugget is the combined brainchild of four successful venue owners, each bringing a bit of their unique flair to make this all-American one-of-a-kind bar.
The beverage menu is split into six sections – fresh, spirit forward, low proof, elaborate, nonalcoholic and large format – and features a special menu on the back of 50 distinct drinks, one for each state of the U.S. Its extensive choices makes for a sensational start to the season.
4. Julia’s (818 Woodward Avenue - Queens)
Julia’s is a hidden gem tucked in the border-borough neighborhood of Ridgewood, and was made especially for those who like to wine in the springtime. Their refreshingly extensive vino selection allows for any palette to find a sip-worthy selection.
Grab a spot at a wicker table outside to fully experience what the return of a spring breeze in Queens is like. Their seasonal food menu is regularly rotated to pair with innovative drinks, like a pepper-infused Riesling or a Brotherhood NY Pinor Noir, a light but zesty red from America’s oldest winery.
5. Mess Hall (2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd)
An artsy hideaway in Central Harlem, Mess Hall doesn’t skimp when it comes to kick. Specializing in beer and bourbon, it sports a certain rustic charm with large low wooden rafters and tasteful taxidermy scattered throughout the space.
In addition to their notorious $5 beer-and-a-shot special, the bar beckons a slew of Harlem residents and nearby locals. Bash your way into feeling spring-y with their signature Mess Hall Mash, a healthy pour of their house bourbon mixed with lemon, orange and a red wine floater.
6. The Diamond (43 Franklin Street - Brooklyn)
Another beer bar worthy of some springtime attention is The Diamond in Greenpoint, who’s extensive beer list is only matched by its options on how you want to hang out that day. If it’s still too chilly for you, the front indoor bar is equipped with a full shuffleboard table for loads of extra entertainment.
If you’re looking to start on your summer tan, head out to the backyard and plant yourself at a picturesque picnic table or one of their repurposed chairlift seats. Cozy up with a Coniston Old Man Ale, a dry and light fruit forward brew of ruby red and chocolate from the UK. Cheers!
7. Rise (859 9th Avenue)
Although another gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen may seem less than surprising, Rise brings a different feel to the scene, one of unpretentious sophistication while still creating a chic atmosphere of fun, from the oversized wooden doors with the massive handles to the playful checkerboard-tile floors.
Although not a sprawling space, the way it's executed makes the place feel bigger and more spacious than it is, making it a great pick for a springtime happy hour. Score $3 drinks from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, or a seasonal special like their refreshingly spicy cucumber chile margarita.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]