Live In The Nautical

Reviews: Outdoor Cafe at Rock Center


“I’d much rather hang out in a cafe. That’s where things are really happening.” ~ Joe Sacco

Summer In The City

Roof top bars, sidewalk seating, and outdoor cafes are the epitome of a New York Summer. For those of us stuck in the city, unable to escape to the Hamptons or other coastal towns during the warmer weather, it is our summer salvation. A taste of sun as well as some good spirits.

It might date back to my days in France, where sipping a latte, pretending to read a novel and channel my inner Hemingway, all the while enjoying a variety of entertainment that people watching can only bring by sitting outside. When I moved to New York, my mermaid heart rejoiced as the restaurants and bars came alive as the days grew longer, not to mention warmer.

Not even the tourists, who over run the city like wild animals in the summer, can dim my happiness. Nor ironically, does it make me shy away from the touristy spots. No not even iPad picture taking adults, and selfie wielding kids, keeps me from one of my happy places during the summer.

Summer Garden and Bar at Rockefeller

Nestled in the lower concourse, where the iconic skating rink (which is highly over rated…Says the skater girl) stands during the colder months, is the Summer Garden and Bar.

From May to September the rink is turned into a relaxing summer oasis, where you can drink, eat and yes be very very merry. With an assortment of couches, high top as well as low top tables, and an outdoor bar, for as long as you stay there, you are swept up into a beach like atmosphere.

The irony is not lost on me, that one of my favorite places in the city is so incredibly touristy. There is an almost twilight zone effect when sitting in beach styled couches with skyscrapers that make up the Rockefeller Complex, and the famous multi-colored flags flapping in the breeze surrounding you like a hug. It is a Caribbean vibe meets the hustle and bustle of the city. Yet we are all cool, calm and chill…Though I am sure the drinks help.

It blends a city tradition with one of the most iconic places in the city.

The Deets

For such a small space, it does cram the people in. You will find a wide mix of business people in traditional suits, mixed with the much more brightly dressed tourists itching to knock Rock Center off the bucket list.

And it IS totally touristy. The drinks and food, while decent, are overpriced and their is always a frenzy to try to get to the couches next to the famed fountain with the statue, Prometheus (sculpted by Paul Manship) above it completing the setting.

Despite the suits and selfie sticks, there is a solitude that seems to descend upon the cafe once you you descend to the stairs. The noise of the water drowning out the chatter and honking cars above, really does create a peaceful oasis, rarely found right in the heart of Midtown.

Sip and Visit

For this girl who shies away from touristy spots, I can not help but gravitate towards this one. While the drinks might be expensive, they are pretty boozy. My choice of decadent poison is the frozen strawberry margarita. It hits the spot on hot days, and helps brave the tourists once you leave. This is one spot you definitely want to put on your bucket list!

Have you ever been to the Summer Garden and Bar? Do you have a go to restaurant in the summer? 





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