One of New York’s greatest secret bars comes with views to die for. To get in, all you need is access to a boat—which is what the Manhattan Sailing Club is for.
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Yeah, the Grand Canyon is nice, and so is a deserted beach in the Maldives, but when it comes to world-class views, we prefer the sight of the NYC skyline from New York Harbor. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a place in the middle of the harbor to climb off a boat and have a cocktail and watch the sunset reflect off the buildings?
There is. One of the city’s best secret bars is the clubhouse for the Manhattan Sailing Club, which is actually an 80-foot picnic barge, the Honorable William Wall, moored in the Hudson between Ellis Island and a Victorian railway terminal at Jersey City.
On Tuesday through Friday nights in summer, a lively after-work crowd in linen suits steps aboard a launch boat at North Cove marina (in Battery Park City, right in front of the World Financial Center) for the quick trip out to the clubhouse. Departures begin at 5:30 p.m. and go every half hour until close, around 10 p.m. On Saturdays the clubhouse opens at 3 p.m.
The clubhouse has a members-first policy, so the best way to get in on the fun is to join the Manhattan Sailing Club (crew dues are $1,340 per season; skippers’ dues are $2,140). Guests pay a $10 launch fee, and although club policy says you should be accompanied by a member, enforcement is lax, especially on weekends. Once you’re there, the vibe is relaxed, and the cocktails are affordable. The sun setting over Bayonne is reflected in the glass skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan, and there’s no better place to admire the sailboats circling Lady Liberty.
Of course, drinking and watching sailboats aren’t the only reasons to join the Manhattan Sailing Club; there’s also, you know, the actual sailing. The club keeps a fleet of J/24 sailboats for members to use and runs sailing lessons, races (the J/24 races, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from May through October, are the best times to hit the clubhouse), and plenty of social events.