Sunday Night Social in the City:
Outdoor Rooftops and Parties High and Low


Sunday nights in the city are the supreme. In the summer, what could be better than a casual or decked out Sunday night on a rooftop or a good party? Early soirees leading from brunch into the evening are abound in Manhattan. Catch the sunset at these old and new spots as you work your way from downtown to uptown:

Rooftop at Jimmy at the James Hotel
SoHo: Jimmy at the James Hotel

Jimmy’s lounge is set against a 360-degree skyline view of the city. The seating is indoor/ outdoor, plus the crowd and beats are sexy. A live DJ spins a mix of hits, pop and electro vibes to a sophisticated, yet trendy and hipster crowd. A-List parties have already been thrown there, including Tommy Hilfiger’s new eyewear launch and The Cinema Society’s screening party for Meek’s Cutoff. The pool is about the size of SOHO House’s pool and nice, surrounded by a teak wood deck. Smokers are welcome and they have these retro silver ash trays you can park next to your lounge chair or stool. It is open from 5 p.m. to 1am and David Burke is in the kitchen downstairs. Unfortunately, this means tanning during the prime sunning hours is limited. Why not take a summer “staycation” and seize the opportunity with a free Sunday night with their 2 for 3 “Bonus Night” special, which runs through September 5th, 2011.

SoHo East: Crosby Street Hotel

Here’s another delightful spot. I had been to the Crosby Street Hotel recently for a business breakfast and presentation in the screening room. Who knew they had a theater in the hotel? This state-of-the-art screening room has 99 seats, the most advanced technology in sound and projection and the latest digital capabilities including 3D. It is situated next to 3 private event and meeting rooms on the lower ground floor. On Sunday evenings, they have a Sunday Night Film Club – a “club,” only by name, as it is open to hotel guests and the public. Dinner with 3 courses and a movie is $50 per person OR on the lighter ticket – a cocktail, bar plate and movie for 2 people at $25 per person. Each week a different film is shown ranging from a recent release to a classic, including a short film screened beforehand. Although there is no roof deck here, the terrace is the ideal place for quiet cocktails or late afternoon tea. The décor is whimsical, vibrant and refined, equivalent with their six other properties in London.

SoHo West: Brunch at Felix and Diva Sundays

Brunch at Felix, seemingly more Brazilian and French, has been going on for over a decade. Omelets, Croquet Monsieur’s and Madame’s, Moules Frites and pitchers of mimosa and sangria are some of the favorites. The coffee is strong and so is the energy. Head right across the street after brunch to Diva.

The Sunday party at Diva has been consistently solid for the past four years. Originally initiated as a “brunch gathering” for restless party-goers to recover from the night before, the party really starts early afternoon into the evening.

It is famous for its chilled attitude (no cover, relaxed dress-code), convenient location (heart of Soho), cool crowd (trend-setters and neighborhood tenants alike), full restaurant-menu (brunch/dinner), high-energy atmosphere (it is an intimate space with an exceptional sound system)

Hosted by DJ/MC Kris Graham (who is always surrounded by beautiful women) and a resident DJ every week, the party features guest DJs spinning all styles/sub-genres of House Music. It has become a place for me to discover new tracks and local talents.

Chelsea, Meatpacking & Downtown: Top of The Standard

Super exclusive, amazing views, 70’s retro-glam. Where else but at the Top of The Standard – formerly known as the “Boom Boom Room.” Still going strong and still the best place in New York to watch the sunset and drink expensive champagne. The bartenders and waitresses are delicious, clad in white jackets and cocktail skirts. The music is mostly composed of older 80′s and 90′s songs remixed to sound more contemporary. But the real party is Sunday nights at the Le Bain, across the hall and a few doors down. After 11pm, the club whose sprawling rooftop, Hudson River sunsets and infamous pool provide scenesters and a heavy international crowd with a perfect storm for their Euro-centric nights. It’s definitely a rave type of vibe here – resident DJ’s spin into the wee hours.

PH-D Terrace at The Dream Downtown

Dream Downtown Grand Opening

The new “king of the scene” is the Dream Downtown in Chelsea, which announced its presence June 17th with a splashy, celebrity packed party. This modernist stainless steel cheesegrater, an iconic 1966 Albert Ledner building re-imagined by Handel Architects, is the flagship outpost for Vikram Chatwal Hotels. take in the at the Manhattan skyline at the intimate rooftop bar and lounge called PH-D on the 12th Floor. TAO/Strategic Group is running the food & beverage. I love Steve Lewis from Blackbook’s review of the hotel and scene. Also to note, Blackbook Magazine just hosted the launch of the rooftop at The Hotel Chantelle (92 Ludlow Street) last week on June 23rd. With a reputation already for providing a good time, classic cocktails and tasty French food, it’s sure to be a lower Manhattan hit.

Midtown: Lavo, Salon De Ning, The Kimberly and Beekman Tower

In Midtown, brunch at LAVO has proven to be a real treat and fun party with their “Riviera Sundays.” Legendary nightlife impresario, Rocco Ancarola recently held a “Mad Hatter’s” Champagne Party this past Sunday. Once you’re done there, head for a nightcap a few blocks away at The Peninsula Hotel’s Salon De Ning. As with its predecessor – the Pen-Top Bar – the cocktails, including an Elderflower Gimlet, and a Tiramisu Martini with White-Chocolate Liqueur, are enticing. James Bond outfitted waitresses in luxurious Eastern surroundings serve high-end financiers, jet-setting socialites and tourists.

Brunch at LAVO NYC

Thirty stories high and with a view of the Chrysler Building is “Upstairs” at The Kimberly Hotel. Complete with a 3,000 square foot bar and lounge, this haven in the sky is the perfect location for a private party or weekend brunch. Daily Candy is running a special for 35 percent off a Two-Course Brunch with Two Cocktails through August 30th, 2011.

Underrated and often overlooked is the Beekman Tower Hotel’s “Top of the Tower” -, on the 26th Floor which boasts a 360 degree view of Manhattan. Although it is overdue for a face lift, where else in the city can you find a deco piano lounge in the sky. Enjoy a sunset cocktail here then head uptown for a dinner and late night dancing at Baraonda.

Patio dining at Baroanda

Upper East Side: Baraonda and The Surrey Hotel

Twelve years later and Baraonda is still going strong with “Fellini-esque” Sunday nights, but it is particularly good in the summer for late night patio dining. Beautiful people, friendly service and great Italian-Mediterranean food. You know that scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where they have the party at Holly Golightly’s apartment and everyone is crawling on top of each other, in their own world’s, dancing & drinking their derriere’s off? Well, this is Baraonda on Sunday night.

Last but not least, The Surrey Hotel has one of the most spectacular private roof gardens, complete with expansive views of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. Located on the penthouse level of the hotel, the 2,200 foot terrace and garden is open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm, offering butler service for beverages and light meals, enabling guests to dine any time of the day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. The terrace has bar service with its signature cocktail being the “Muddled Lemonade”—a combination of fresh herbs, fruits and spices mixed with home-made lemonade (available with or without alcohol). The menu also features classic cocktails such as the “Dark and Stormy”, “Moscow Mule” and innovative concoctions including the “Blackberry Mint Margarita” and the “76th Street.” Available seasonally and for hotel guests, but if you can get in an invite, go!

Several of these places would be an ideal spot to watch the upcoming Macy’s 35th Annual Fourth of July Fireworks. The venues facing the west side provide sweeping views of the Hudson River. Otherwise, enjoy them all summer into the fall. Here’s to “Plein Air!”

Nichole Wright is the President of Bon Vivant LLC, an event planning, PR & Fundraising agency. She has had a successful career on Wall Street and as an entrepreneur. Website: www.bon-vivantllc.com. Twitter: @bonvivantgirl.

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