Your guide to drinking on the water at New York's best boat bars

When the weather is nice, all you want is to leave New York behind for some time on the water. We've got your guide to the city's best seasonal boat bars.

When the weather is nice, all you want is to leave New York behind for some time on the water. We've got your guide to the city's best seasonal boat bars.

 

 

North River Lobster Company

The Hudson River’s floating lobster shack is where seafood lovers should post up for the warm weather season. Aboard North River Lobster Company, you’ll find a full raw bar, tons of overstuffed lobster rolls and cocktails in mason jars, with the occasional hour-long jaunt up the Hudson River. There’s a $10 cover to get onboard, or superfans can buy a season pass for $50. Opens April 12, Pier 81 at W. 41st St. and 12th Ave., northriverlobsterco.com

 

 

Grand Banks

For when you’re feeling fancy AF but don’t have the budget for a Hamptons trip, head to Grand Banks. There’s always a line for the historic wooden schooner from the ‘40s, but its lux circular bar will ease your wait with excellent cocktails — not to mention gorgeous photo ops. The selection of oysters is always changing, accompanied by small plates both light (ceviche with sea bream and avocado) and indulgent (caviar latkes); a portion of all proceeds benefits the Maritime Foundation. Limited reservations are available, but your best bet is to get there early. Opens mid-April for drinks, food beginning May 2, docked at Pier 25 at West Street, grandbanks.org

The Brooklyn Barge

This docked barge on the East River is so popular, it’s sprawled over the shoreline next to it. Wherever you sit, The Brooklyn Barge offers panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan’s skyscrapers — just as long as you don’t mind a little rocking when the NYC Ferry (which now docks nearby) passes. For the seaworthy, there are craft beers on tap and a large menu of solid bar food like a Pretzel Dog with beer-marinated bratwurst and customizable tacos. Grab a drink after catching an outdoor flick on the lawn at Transmitter Park next door, or take a stand-up paddleboarding class that starts by stepping off the boat and onto the water. Opens May 1, thebrooklynbarge.com

The Frying Pan

Named for the North Carolina bay it guarded for 30 years as a lightship, The Frying Pan is not taking its retirement as a bar boat any less seriously. Whether you manage to score a spot on the big red boat or the airy, glass-walled atrium on the dock, prepare for a party atmosphere beloved for its sangrias by the pitcher and seaside fare like garlic fries tossed with Old Bay. Opens May 1, Pier 66 at W. 26th St., fryingpan.com

The Honorable William Wall

Become an honorary member of the Manhattan Yacht Club for a day aboard its floating barge anchored in New York Harbor near Ellis Island. The Honorable William Wall (but you can call him Willy) serves as the group’s official clubhouse with an enclosed parlor of authentic nautical kitsch downstairs and an open-air bar serving wine, beer and cocktails above with spectacular Lower Manhattan views. This is not a spur-of-the-moment destination — you must buy a timed ticket ($20) to make sure there’s enough space on the two boats it takes to get there and back. Opens May 8, willywall.com

Pilot

Nearly a mirror image of its sister ship Grand Banks, Pilot serves a more New Orleans-inspired menu aboard a 1920s racing schooner. Though she’s been around the world twice, Pilot is now docked in Brooklyn Bridge Park where you’ll find soft shell crab po’boys and scallop ceviche drizzled with coconut oil beneath its yellow- and white-striped awnings. Sip a Fracas (blanco tequila, mezcal, pineapple, lime, Angostura bitters, nutmeg) at its U-shaped bar while watching the sun set behind Manhattan’s skyline. Opens mid-May, Pier 6, pilotbrooklyn.com

NYC Ferry

New York City finally has a great commuting option?! The immediate popularity of the NYC Ferry means service is constantly expanding as more people ditch the crowded, unreliable subway for this breezy, modern way to get around. At least some of the ferry's popularity is down to the onboard New Stand concessions, which go way beyond chargers and snacks with coffee and a selection of beers (on tap and cans) and Gotham Project wines. So whether you're winding down after work or just want to enjoy the city's waterways with a drink for the price of a subway ticket, the ferry is your hot ticket. Year-round, $2.75 each way, ferry.nyc

Hudson's

For sailors who prefer a more luxurious experience, Hudson’s is the boat for you. The large ship features three totally different floors: a lounge with bench-style seating, a white-tablecloth restaurant serving a Mediterranean menu, and a rooftop for drinking in the sun. Give a wave to the Statue of Liberty on their dinner and Sunday brunch. All sailings require a reservation, which includes a meal and bottomless mimosas with brunch. Year-round, sailing times varying by season, dinner $85-$100, brunch $68, Pier 81 at 12th Ave. & W. 41st St., hudsonsnyc.com

 
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