NYC Guide

6 Boat Bars in New York City

If you’ve been reading my blog,  you know that I always say how much I think it is essential to see New York from the water. I’ve already talked here on the blog about some cruises to take in New York as well as some tours that involve the water. During the summer – and also over the “warm” months – it is just a delight going on a cruise/tour in the water and enjoying beautiful views of the city and, in fact, over this period, we have more options because there are a lot of bar/restaurants on boats in New York City. I like this type of activity because it brings a “beach” vibe in the middle of the city – and there is nothing better than being outside when the weather permits. So today I decided to list some really cool options of Boat Bars. Personally, I think they are perfect for happy hour!

Important! All the bars and restaurants below are seasonal – usually, they operate from May to October. Always check the websites!

 La Barca Cantina – this is New York City’s first and only floating Mexican restaurant. The boat departs from Pier 81 and you can enjoy beautiful views of the city while you try some nachos, tacos, and cocktails! La Barca Cantina sails 4 days a week and offers a menu full of Mexican-inspired street food, tequila, mezcal, signature cocktails, and breathtaking views of the New York skyline. You need to buy a pass (U$10) to have access to the boat and it sails for 1 hour every 2 hours, starting at 2pm or 4pm, depending on the day. I strongly recommend you buy your pass in advance – you can do it online. The menu is also available online. 

Address: Pier 81, W 41st St.

Baylander Steel Beach –  this is a new restaurant and a bar is located on the Baylander – a former US Navy ship stationed at the West Harlem Piers at 125th Street. The aircraft carrier that was transformed into an eatery boasts about 4,000 square feet of outdoor space across multiple levels. Important: it is docked, not sailing. The sunset from there is too beautiful, and besides that, it is located in a “non-obvious” area of the city.

Check more info.

Address: Hudson River Greenway.

Grand Banks – Hand-built and christened in 1942, the F/V Sherman Zwicker is the last original salt bank fishing vessel in existence.  It is always docked – more precisely at the Hudson River Park, at Pier 25 – but it tends to shake a little. You can either get a drink and hang out, near the bar, or see the host and getting a table. The views that the Grand Banks provides need to be mentioned: nothing is more enjoyable than having a drink seeing the One World Trade Center, the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty in the background, and Jersey City. On the menu, the highlights are the oysters. Also, there are options with fish and seafood.

You can make a reservation, but they don’t open a lot of spots, so walk-ins are welcome.

Address: Hudson River Park, Pier 25.

North River Lobster Company – this boat operates in the same way as La Barca Cantina – in fact, they both belong to the same group, but with different themes. While La Barca Cantina has Mexican vibes, the North River Lobster Company focuses on seafood, especially lobsters. The classic Lobster Roll is one of the menu highlights, which also includes burgers, oysters, and shrimp. The boat sails a few times, for an hour, along the Hudson River, on the west side of the island, going north. You can see the Midtown buildings, including the Empire State. Check the schedules on the website – and buy your pass, which costs $10.

Pilot – this restaurant/bar belongs to the same group as the Grand Banks and is located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is a seasonal oyster bar aboard one of America’s most prized wooden schooners. Over the course of Pilot’s nearly 100-year history, she’s led many lives: as a contender to be the fastest sailboat in the world, as the country’s longest serving pilot ship, and as a research vessel that circumnavigated the world twice. In addition to the variety of oysters, the menu has other options and you can check everything here.

Address: Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Frying Pan – Frying Pan was built in 1929, and the Lightship was in service for over 30 years before being relieved of duty. She was brought to NYC in 1989 and became a “hidden gem” of NYC nightlife. Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill has the concession to operate on the boat. It is probably the most famous one – hence the lines! They only accept reservations for big groups – and you can check the menu online. The boat structure is really cool and, because of the location, the sunset from there is really magical!

Address: Pier 66 – West 26th St.

More tips?

I’m a curator on Seek, a new NYC-based app complete with recommendations and tips on where to eat, drink, and hang out. Their recommendations are brought by New Yorkers who have tried a huge amount of places in the city. Check out their website at, as well as their app at Seek – NY City Recommendations to check out more of my recs – my profile is @lauraperuchi


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