Just in time for sunshine, warm nights, and summer Fridays arrives New York City's latest rooftop destination, Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub. Located in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, this beautiful bar and restaurant is massive. As in it’s a 10,000-square-foot venue with an 8,000-square-foot terrace. If you don’t feel like getting hot and sweaty in a club — but still want to be out with your crew, drinking mighty fine cocktails, while chilling on a rooftop taking in views of the Empire State Building — this is your new spot. Oh, and if New York weather takes a turn and decides to almost literally rain on your parade, this spot has a retractable patio roof.
With swanky locations in Los Angeles and Park City, Rock & Reilly’s isn’t your average watering hole. While it prides itself on being an upscale bar and restaurant, this establishment goes beyond that by combining LA style and flair with splash of NYC exclusivity to create a classy gastrobar that is modern, chic, and celebrity-status cool. With industrial, rich design elements that include exposed brick, distressed metal, three handcrafted mahogany bars, and leafy, climbing-vine trellises separating jewel toned booths, this pub gives off a Prohibition-era speakeasy vibe.
Something I particularly found humorous is the selection of Reilly’s quotes that can be found through the bar. Examples include: “You look like I need a drink,” “Recent study showed that the leading cause of drinking was sobriety,” and my personal favorite, ““Blackouts are God’s way of saying ‘don’t worry ‘bout it.'”
Aside from the aesthetics and atmosphere, Rock & Reilly’s friendly — and surprisingly attentive — bartenders make absolutely delicious cocktails. The kind that are dangerously tasty and begging you to order another, even though you’ve already had one too many.
My favorite drink of the pre-opening event was the Rock & Rye Smash, served in a Moscow mule copper mug. This cocktail included Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye, Domaine de Canton Ginger, shiso, and yuzu. It was super refreshing thanks to the combination of the ginger liqueur and citrusy notes from the yuzu, a popular Japanese fruit, and the hint of shiso, which was a pleasant, herbal surprise. Normally I don’t drink rye, but clearly that wasn’t the case here!
Though I couldn’t try every single one of the signature cocktails — mainly due to my desire to stay at an acceptable level of sobriety — I did enjoy the Ancho Mango, which had Tito’s vodka mixed with a chile liqueur, mango, and a hint of basil, as well as When Doves Cry, a sparkling tequila and grapefruit cocktail that came with a pink peppercorn and Himalayan sea salt rim (much better than my usual, less complicated go-to: tequila and pineapple).
I look forward to conquering the rest of its innovative concoctions such as the Tea Thyme which incorporates vodka, rooibos and chamomile tea, and thyme; the Wake Up Call, a vodka-espresso drink with vanilla and chipotle flavors; the Red Head Redemption, a rum, orange, raspberry, and jalapeño blend; the Rebel Rebel, a tequila-red bull, pineapple cocktail; and the Make It There, a whiskey, vermouth, and bitters drink. If cocktails aren't your thing, don't worry. In addition to a large variety of beers and wine, Rock & Reilly’s features an enormous whiskey selection, including Scotch and bourbon lists, and whiskey flights for those who want to try them all.
I haven’t tried the food — yet— but I did manage to catch a bite of one of the biggest desserts I’ve seen in awhile from a sly young lady, Laura, who managed to have this behemoth vanilla bean-peanut butter ice cream burger delivered to her table. If you’re having trouble envisioning what that is, let me help you. It’s an ice cream sandwich that’s fit for a giant, or more realistically, 3-4 of your friends. Enclosed in a huge, fresh, glazed doughnut is a treasure trove of vanilla bean ice cream, crunchy peanut butter, peanut brittle, and peanut butter cups, luring you to dig in fast, before it melts!