Dress code on rooftop bars in NYC

Different vibes calls for different attire.

September 4, 2023

If you've found yourself wondering around the city of New York, then be sure to visit at least one museum, one Brodway show and one rooftop bar.

There is no written rule for a specific NYC dress code for all the rooftop bars around town. Each place has its own vibe and attire regarding the rooftops NYC clothing. The most common bar attire is however smart casual or casual. And usually more towards smart casual as the night wears on.

Dress code rooftop bars NYC
Smart casual dress code at The Press Lounge | Photo credit: https://www.thepresslounge.com/

Check out our full guide to the best rooftop bars NYC, and under each rooftop you'll find all info about what dress code each rooftop aquire.

Otherwise, this article can help you dress for sucess at the NYC rooftop bars.

1. Smart Casual

Smart casual always works fine, and is the safe bet when planning a visit to a rooftop NYC. Unless we talk about something either very formal, like a wedding reception, or something quite more sassy - like a fetish party, per say.

Smart casual is quite a wide term, but think clothes that are well-fitting, neat and appropriate. Slightly less formal than business casual, but not to loose-fitting. It is about looking sharp and in-style. If it is a hot NYC summer day, tailored shorts are for sure ok for gentlemen on the rooftop. At night, leave the shorts at home, but a pair of stylish (and clean) sneakers will work just fine.

Examples of NYC rooftop bars with a smart casual dress code: The Press Lounge, Salong De Ning and Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar.

2. Formal / Business Casual

Get up. Dress up. Show up. This is what people say about success in life. It’s considered to be applicable for showing up at a rooftop bar in the middle of NYC. After all, New York is one of the best places to have a good party at. Even if it’s formal.

While certain events (like a New Years party) will mean formal attire at almost all NYC rooftops, some of the more expensive and fashionable rooftop bars often have regular requirements in regards of the way their guests are dressed up when they visit.

Examples of NYC rooftop bars with a formal / business casual dress code: The Skylark and Upstairs at the Kimberly.

Be sure to check out the rooftop bar you'll visit, here at The Rooftop Guide for the most suitable dress code.

3. Casual

Casual at the New York rooftop bars does not mean "put on whatever you want". But it means that as long as you have clean shirt, pants and shoes on, you will be fine. And the causal dress code often says more about the vibe than the clothes per say. A sense of 'all are welcome'.

A casual dress code is often a safe bet on rooftop bars that feels more like a pub than a cocktail lounge. Quite often, the NYC rooftop bars also have a more casual dress code during daytime. So if you are walking around town and get the urge for a sunny rooftop drink, in most cases the clothes you have will work fine.

Examples of NYC rooftop bars with a casual dress code all hours: The Brass Monkey and Berry Park.

4. Swimming attire

This type of dress code on rooftop bars in New York is probably the easiest one to carry. Get your favorite swimsuit, a pair of flip flops and some sunscreen to protect yourself from the hot New York sun. To enjoy a nice day on the roof of a hotel with a swimming pool is easy. Just remember to change from swimwear to more propper attire towards the evening.

Have a look at our guide for more details about the best rooftop pools in New York.

Rikard Fredricson
Rikard Fredricson

Rikard has spent the last 10 years exploring, enjoying, researching and working with rooftop venues. During these years he has visited more than 700 rooftops across the globe. The experience he has gained is used to create helpful, in-depth and accessible content, and to share his knowledge and rooftop expertise with fellow rooftop-lovers.