The kids may be back in school and pumpkin lattes may be available at Starbucks, but we here refuse to rush the summer season. Besides, it’s officially still summer (at least until September 23), and we intend to fully take advantage of the warm days, cool evenings until we — ugh! — have to bundle up, Meaning, we will drink and dine alfresco, not only on ground level but above it all — on rooftop bars and restaurants.
Like eking out the last drop of our cocktail (make mine a Negroni, please), we intend to enjoy basking in the sun, gazing at sunsets, breathing in fresh air and ogling sensational skyline views of the city across the river until the very last rooftop bar is closed for the winter. Some in fact don’t close; thank you, heaters and igloos.
Here is our roundup of North Jersey bars and restaurants where you can go high to get a drink in your hand plus a view to relish. As to whether you will need to bring along a sweater, make like a Scout — and be prepared. Light sweater and a camera (you don’t want to deprive your Instagram followers of a great sunset photo, do you?).
La Terrazza at Felina, Ridgewood
Ridgewood’s first — and still only — rooftop bar, La Terrazza, sits atop of Felina, the contemporary Italian restaurant housed in what once was a bank (the heavy door of the bank vault is still there). The rooftop features a full bar, a kitchen with a pizza oven and enough space to accommodate up to 85 guests. Pizza offerings include clam, soppressata and margherita.
Felina, which opened with award-winning chef Anthony Bucco, today is headed by executive chef Joe Tartamella, the former chef at Allegory, the modern restaurant inside the MC Hotel in Montclair.
Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Go: 18 Prospect St., Ridgewood; 551-276-5454, felinarestaurant.com
Five Dimes Brewery, Westwood
Rain, shine, snow, hail — no matter the weather, if you want to go and enjoy a glass of craft beer out on a roof, Five Dimes Brewery in Westwood says, Come on over.
“We have a beautiful location,” said John Birkner, a former mayor of Westwood who today is “the old man who pours drinks here.”
The rooftop comes equipped with eight picnic tables and umbrellas and a “beautiful view of downtown Westwood,” Birkner said. And since it faces northwest, it also provides beautiful sunsets.
Enjoy the view with a glass or two of beer. And if you want to eat, know that Five Dimes is a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food). If your pooch wants to come along, no problem. The brewery is pet-friendly.
Open every day from 4 p.m.; noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Go: 247 Westwood Ave., Westwood; 201-497-8455, fivedimesbrewery.com.
Sear House, Closter
No river or skyline views from the rooftop of this swanky steakhouse. The rooftop sits above its second-floor dining room. But who’s going to turn down fresh air, gentle breezes and views of green treetops?
If you want to snag one of the 120 rooftop seats, make a reservation; the space is popular. And if you’re not in the mood to climb two flights of stairs to get to your reserved spot, hop on the restaurant’s elevator. No matter how you ascend, settle in for a leisurely meal of steak, dry-aged in house — perhaps a bone-in ribeye ($75) or a 48-ounce porterhouse for two ($130), and a side (perhaps creamed spinach, hash browns or mac & cheese; 3 for $32) with a nice bottle of wine. And for dessert, consider a chocolate lava cake or tartufo (each $12).
Not a meat eater? There are a selection of pasta and fish dishes available as well.
Open every day for lunch and dinner.
Go: 411 Piermont Road, Closter; 201-292-4612, searhouse.com.
Concourse Club, Wood-Ridge
Kids are not the only humans mesmerized by planes taking off and landing. We adults are too. If you want the thrill of watching metal-birds fly without having to go to the airport, head to the Concourse Club, an 8,000-square-foot rooftop cocktail bar that sits on the seventh floor of the Element by Westin hotel in Wood-Ridge. It overlooks the runway of Teterboro airport. For no extra charge, you get stunning views of the New York City skyline as well.
Peckish? Nosh on grilled a shrimp cocktail, grilled cheese and tomato soup, chicken wings or fish tacos. If you’re really hungry, you can dig into a Tomahawk steak for $150.
Open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m.; Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Go: 379 Route 17 South, Wood-Ridge; 201-710-6459, concourseclubnj.com.
Alto Rooftop at the MC Hotel, Montclair
It should come as no surprise that the only rooftop bar in Montclair is popular. If you’re a group of five or more, take our advice and make a reservation. Otherwise it’s first come, first served.
Take in the views from every corner of the building. What you’ll see: the New York City skyline, the Watchung Mountain range and the campus of Montclair State University. Lounge in one of the upholstered pink chairs, sip a cocktail and, if you’d like a little nosh, consider za’atar spiced hummus, chicken shawarma or cacio e pepe pizza. When it gets nippy, no worries: Alto has heaters which are used throughout the cold months.
Alto is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight; on Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Go: 690 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair; 844-624-6835, themchotel.com/food-drink/alto.
Town Bar & Kitchen, Morristown
Don’t expect breathtaking view of skyscrapers or gorgeous green-scapes from the second-story rooftop at Town Bar & Kitchen. The rooftop is an open-air dining room. But that’s not a deal breaker, not when you can gaze at a star-lit sky and delight in your fellow outdoor-loving diners.
Dine on lollipop wings, vegetable arancini, pan-roasted chicken breasts, braised short ribs and sauteed shrimp. Go for brunch on Saturday or Sunday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dig into a plate of avocado and beet toast, brioche French toast or a waffle sandwich with bacon, turkey and taleggio. Enjoy it with those traditional brunch cocktails, mimosa and Bloody Mary.
The rooftop is not covered. Open every day, except rain or snow days. Heaters available when the weather turns from unbelievably hot to unbelievably cold.
Open every day from lunch through dinner.
Go: 80 Elm St., Morristown; 973-889-8696, townbarandkitchen.com.
Stirling Tavern, Morristown
Looking for brilliant sunset views? Grab a chair on the rooftop bar at Stirling Tavern, and just look out. Can’t see a thing cause the sun is too bright? No problem. The restaurant has sunglasses — for free.
Hungry? Chef Brandon Campney, a Culinary Institute of America alum, offers such dishes as tuna tartare in a ponzu sauce, vegetable arancini in a blush tomato sauce and salmon with a butternut squash puree.
As for drinks? There is an array of cocktails, plus craft beers and an extensive wine menu.
Open every day for lunch and dinner.
Go: 150 South St., Morristown; 973-993-8066, stirlingtavern.com.
Paulie’s Brickhouse, Hoboken
Paulie’s Brickhouse’s rooftop isn’t fancy. Think brightly painted picnic tables atop Astroturf. But when you’re after a cold brew, a couple of slices of cheese-y pizza and jaw-dropping views of the New York City skyline, do you really need fancy too?
The rooftop is not covered. So if it rains, just head indoors. And while reservations aren’t required, it doesn’t hurt to secure alfresco seats, especially on Saturdays.
Go: 264 Central Ave., Jersey City; 201-434-1188, pauliesbrickhouse.com/location/paulies-brickhouse.
NoHu Rooftop Bar & Restaurant, Weehawken
Don’t go to NoHu Rooftop, an expansive lounge just above the shore of the Hudson River in Weehawken, without a camera. You’re going to want to snap photos/shoot videos of those gorgeous panoramic views of the New York City skyline that the rooftop, which sits above the Envue Hotel, provides. The views are breathtaking.
Enjoy a drink — a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail — and perhaps a nosh. Chef Jose Emmanuelli, former executive chef of Hotel Innside New York NoMad, offers chicken BBQ and cole slaw salad, blackened gulf shrimp and wild mushroom ravioli.
Open every day. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Live music on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
Go: 550 Ave. at Port Imperial, Weehawken; 201-683-2132, envuehotel.com/dining/nohu.
City Bistro, Hoboken
Dine or brunch on the rooftop of this three-story restaurant that overlooks uptown Hoboken. The restaurant is one block from the waterfront, so before your meal, take a little stroll. Then stop in, grab a seat, order a cocktail and enjoy dinner or brunch (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Open every day.
Go: 56 14th St., Hoboken; 201-963-8200, citybistrohobokennj.com.
Rooftop at Exchange Place, Jersey City
You want views? Rooftop at Exchange Place doesn’t disappoint. From its popular rooftop you can glean what may be the most spectacular view of the surreal skyline of arguably the greatest city in the world. Take in the forest of glass, stone and steel from midtown Manhattan all the way to the World Trade Center; you can even glimpse a view of the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island.
While you ogle, nurse a drink and enjoy some bites, maybe a po’boy slider, shrimp & grits or a burrata toast.
A retractable roof covers half of the space. If you have a reservation (recommended), you’re guaranteed protection from bad weather. Otherwise, bring an umbrella.
Go: 1 Exchange Place, Jersey City; 551-256-7850, rooftopxp.com.
Iron Monkey, Jersey City
Iron Monkey is a multi-level gastropub with a rooftop deck. Dig into a juicy burger while sipping a cold craft beer (you have more than 30 choices) on the simply decorated rooftop: wood tables and chairs and some oversized umbrellas for some shade. Come for weekend brunch, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Or come for lunch and dinner any day, except Monday when it’s closed. Enjoy fish and chips, mac and cheese and pastrami panino, along with your view of downtown Jersey City.
Open from 11 a.m.
Go: 99 Greene St., 201-435-5756, ironmonkey.com.
Stork Club, Jersey City
No, not that Stork Club. But Jersey City’s Stork Club honors New York City’s original with its glamourous decor and craft cocktails. The rooftop bar sits atop the Hudson House, a Landmark Hospitality property located on the edge of the Hudson River. Get an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline from the lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows and open-air rooftop with firepits.
You can order large format drinks that will get you and a group of friends four to five drinks. Among your selections: Negroni and Dirty Martini. Would rather get a single drink? Consider the Landmark Old Fashioned or the Stork Club Spritz. As for nibbles? Your options include beef tartare and mini lobster rolls. Or if you’re really hungry, head downstairs to Felina Steak, ex Terra e Mare (yes, it’s related to Felina in Ridgwood; same owners), for steaks, seafood, pasta and more.
Go: 2 Chapel Ave, Jersey City; 551-277-0588, hudsonhousenj.com
Little Tijuana, Jersey City
David Viana, the celebrated chef of Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, curated the menu of Little Tijuana, a festive modern Mexican restaurant in the Ironbound section of Newark that opened in March 2021, during the beginning of the COVID -19 pandemic. The space is a party — with loads of Mexican artwork, near nightly DJs, a margarita bar, handcrafted cocktails and tequila and tacos galore. Its retractable rooftop is a party on its own. “It has a nice vibe,” said hospitality manager Larry R. Medina.
The bar is manned by two bartenders. And you can bet your last peso that the biggest sellers are the margaritas. But don’t overlook the fruit punch with tequila — it does supply a real alcoholic punch. The most popular eats are the eight-hour roasted lamb barbacoa; roasted chicken with homemade salsa verde and flat-iron steak with chimichurri sauce.
Open every day from noon.
Go: 538 Market St., Newark; 973-230-9417, littletijuana.com
Porta, Jersey City
Craving pizza tonight? Porta, an expansive Italian restaurant in downtown Jersey City, slings Neapolitan-style pizzas on its spacious rooftop that has its own pizza oven, kitchen and and bar. The rooftop, from which you can get a birds-eye-view of the hustle and bustle of Grove Street, can accommodate up to 160, according to manager Delilah Gutierrez. Your pie will be served on aluminum plates and your drinks on non-breakable glassware. Should it rain, not to worry: the rooftop is sheltered. Should it get a bit nippy, no problem: heaters are available. It’s open all year long; 7 days a week from 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Go: 135 Newark Ave., Jersey City; 201-544-5199, pizzaporta.com
Skinner’s Loft, Jersey City
Will Kelly, owner of Skinner’s Loft, an American restaurant that has been serving the neighborhood since 1977, does not have a grand, NYC-skyline views-kind of rooftop. No, its quaint second-story space is nestled on Newark Avenue between a few buildings. But that only means that it’s darling, intimate and a charming spot to take out-of-towners or to impress a friend or potential love. The rooftop, which features an herb garden, holds about 22 guests who can dine on American bistro fare such as grilled steak salad, cheddar and corn fritters, half-pound grilled burger and oven-roasted half chicken. As for drinks: how does spicy margarita or rum punch sound?
Go: 146 Newark Ave., Jersey City; 201-915-0600, skinnersloft.com