A few times a year, I like to pretend that I’m a tourist, and the Loeb Boathouse is the perfect place to do just that.
When it comes to partaking in outdoor cocktails, I can’t imagine a prettier NYC setting than the outdoor bar at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. (Tavern on the Green is a pretty close second.) The lakeside bar draws droves of New Yorkers and tourists on pleasant days and evenings. I went on a Sunday, and yes, it was busy, but I was able to get a seat outside after a short wait. I recommend visiting on a picture-perfect New York weekend, when you can take in the flora of the park while sipping a cocktail.
The setting is bucolic and barely city-like, although you’ll see a smidge of skyline in the distance. Prices are on the steep side, so the Boathouse isn’t a place you go for bargain cocktails or happy hour. Expect to pay $14 to $16 for the specialty drinks (the going rate these days in most upscale bars in Manhattan), but the backdrop is nothing short of spectacular, I promise!
I stuck with wine, rosé to be exact, at $12 per glass. I checked out the open-air inside space and the patio bar, and both were lovely.
I skipped the rowboats, but I rented a boat once before and highly recommend this as part of your afternoon Boathouse itinerary. Yes, even if you’re a local! You can also rent bikes (to ride in Central Park only), or pretend you’re in Venice and take a gondola tour, which sounds amusing to me because I adore Venice and gondolas.
Sure, the Boathouse is quintessential New York and not off the beaten path, and draws its share of tourists and picture-takers. (Hey – I’m a local and I’m always taking pictures.) But it’s a quiet, relaxing spot and it’s centrally located near 72nd Street and East Drive, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and the model-boat sailing.
At times, pretending that I’m visiting New York is fun. I can escape my life in the city by sampling some of those attractions that people travel the world over to see. The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park is one of those must-see attractions. I would return to the Boathouse in a heartbeat.
Have you been? Let me know in the comments!
The Boathouse at Central Park has a full menu in the restaurant, so if you want to dine there, you’ll have plenty of options. The outdoor bar is seasonal and open weather permitting (wait for a sunny day!), so keep that in mind. Check out the Tuesday summer cookout series.
Plus, picnics in NYC.