As the Frieze Art Fair swept into NYC last month, it brought with it a swell of activity the likes of which the city hadn’t seen in a long time—group dinners, gatherings at galleries, and the opening of a new rooftop bar, Happy Be. Situated atop the Walker Hotel Tribeca (though accessed through a dedicated, nondescript Cortland Alley entryway and elevator), the verdant watering hole offers unobstructed views of the city. Signature cocktails are served alongside skyline spikes, as sunsets paint clouds with sherbet strokes. Outdoor bars have become invaluable to New Yorkers, but rooftop bars like Happy Be do even more; they affirm the beauty and wonder of the Big Apple, from an eagle-eye perch.
Aligning with Frieze was no fluke. “Our hope is that Happy Be becomes the neighborhood’s go-to hang for after openings, catching up with friends and watching the sunset set against the backdrop of New York City,” explains Dan Giddings of Dream Logic Hospitality, the venue’s owner and operator. “We’re grateful to be opening up in Tribeca amidst this wave of galleries moving down here, like our neighbors Andrew Kreps and soon, David Zwirner.”
“When you visit us,” he adds, “you’ll find hidden spaces for intimate meetings against big views adjacent to a horseshoe bar where you can see and be seen. We’re inspired by the old New York—I’m thinking about The Warriors and After Hours when I’m up here looking down.”
To develop their enticing cocktail program Giddings looked to London. “We developed it with Mattia Lufrano—former head bartender from London’s Chiltern Firehouse—who collaborated with Christopher Covey from the Milk and Honey family,” he says. “From the get-go, we knew we wanted to offer unexpected flavor combinations made with fresh and surprising ingredients. One of our most popular cocktails is our Shiso Cold, which contains shiso leaf-infused vodka, Italicus, green chartreuse, fresh lemon, pea shoots and cucumber soda.” Other signatures include the eponymous sparkling wine-topped Happy Be, and a coconut rum-infused Tropical Negroni.
Their location on Cortlandt Alley offers inspiration itself. “We are down the street from the old Mudd Club,” Giddings says, “where David Bowie and Keith Haring used to party in the ’70s, and current neighbors with some of the best galleries in the city, like Artists Space, the Bronx Museum‘s 80 White Street and PPOW. This part of Tribeca is like the nether-land between Chinatown and SoHo—against all odds, it’s maintained the romanticism of pre-Disney New York.”
Walk-ins are welcome at the bar, but reservations can be made in advance.
Images courtesy of Happy Be