The best boat bars in New York City

Posted On Fri, April 23, 2021 By

Posted On Fri, April 23, 2021 By In Features, NYC Guides, Restaurants

There are few spring and summer pleasures more sublime than drinking aboard a boat, though, in New York City, those are hard to come by unless you’re buddies with a yacht owner. The good news is, there are a handful of bars actually located onboard barges and boats, where you can sip wine and watch the sunset as the waves bob below. Here are our favorites; and do note the Staten Island Ferry is an unofficial boat bar, too.


Via Flickr

Frying Pan
Pier 66 Maritime at 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
This Chelsea institution is pretty much a floating frat party, but who doesn’t want to relive the Senior Booze Cruise from time to time? A former Coast Guard lighthouse, the Frying Pan now serves burgers, fries, and beers by the bucket, pitcher, and pint. The Hudson River Park bar tends to draw a Midtown office crowd and can fill up fast, but if you manage to sneak out of work early, you’ll get treated to a chill view of the Hudson and New Jersey, and can set yourself up for a prime sunset-watching spot. For now, they’re only open on select days, and you can see the schedule via their Facebook page.


Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Barge

The Brooklyn Barge
79 West Street between Greenpoint Ave and Milton Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Barge debuted back in 2015, offering up killer views of Midtown Manhattan from its floating perch in the East River. It’s still going strong this summer season, serving up wines, brews, cocktails, and small bites like Maine Lobster Rolls, Nachos Supreme, and an “Impossible” Veggie Burger. There’s also a taqueria that whips up tacos and quesadillas, and a dogs-allowed policy that makes the barge extra cute. They’ll open this year on May 1st.


Photos courtesy of the North River Lobster Company

North River Lobster Company
Pier 81 at West 41st Street, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
Unlike some of the other options on this list, floating lobster shack the North River Lobster Company is an actual boat, i.e., it’s not permanently moored to any pier. Enjoy a leisurely cruise up the Hudson River complete with a full bar, lobster rolls, and a slew of other seafood-related options for purchase. This year, the boat is open Thursday through Sunday from 12pm to 10pm, with departure times at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. You can purchase an individual boarding pass for $10, or there’s a $25 season pass that lets individuals board as many times as they want throughout the season.


Photo courtesy of La Barca Cantina

La Barca Cantina
Pier 81 at West 41st Street, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
The sister restaurant to North River Lobster, this Mexican restaurant just opened this year, and it, too, will take short cruises on the Hudson throughout the day. Enjoy a selection of tacos and Mexican-style street food while sipping on a drink from the menu of agave-based spirits–mezcal, tequila, sotol, and racilla. There are flights for sampling, frozen margaritas and sangria (or an option to mix them), and cocktails that come by the glass or pitcher. Guests can purchase a $10 boarding pass that is valid for sailings throughout the day online or in-person at the box office at Pier 81.

Photo courtesy of Crew/Grand Banks

Grand Banks
Pier 25 at Hudson River Park, Tribeca, Manhattan
Tribeca’s Grand Banks is a slightly classier affair than some of the other options on this list, offering high-end eats and fancy drinks on a relatively low-key vintage wooden schooner. Highlights include high-end cocktails like the $16 Skipper Key, a mix of rosé, lemon, Cassis, strawberry cordial, and seltzer; and a pristine $16.50 Bloody Mary. There’s also a hefty collection of oysters, entrees like sea scallops and lobster rolls, and gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor.


Photo courtesy of Crew/Pilot 

Pilot
Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Pilot, an oyster bar located atop a 100-year-old wooden schooner, is Grand Banks’s Brooklyn outpost, serving the same cocktails and seafood snacks as its compatriot in Manhattan. This one’s got an even more breathtaking view, though, since it’s moored in Brooklyn Bridge Park and has the benefit of showing Lower Manhattan and the bridges in all their glory.


Photo courtesy of the Honorable William Wall

The Honorable William Wall
Purchase tickets online, here.
Nicknamed the “Willy Wall,” the two-level barge is the official clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club, with the official clubhouse digs on the first level and a fun indoor/outdoor bar on the second. To get there, you hop on a little $20 roundtrip ferry leaving from the WFC ferry terminal; the barge is docked a bit north of Ellis Island, so you get a great view of the Harbor and Lower Manhattan.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on July 23, 2019, and has been updated. 

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Lead image, clockwise from top left: Via Pilot; Via North River Lobster Company; Via Frying Pan; Via Grand Banks

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