clock menu more-arrow no yes
Chairs and tables arranged next to a brick wall Alex Staniloff/Eater [Official Photo]

17 Tropical NYC Restaurants and Bars That Feel Like a Vacation

Escape to these lush oases when an actual getaway isn’t possible

View as Map

If a vacation to somewhere balmy and beachy — not simply swampy, as New York City is prone to becoming in the depths of summer — isn’t on the docket right now, there are still plenty of ways to get into an out-of-office state of mind without leaving town. Just head to one of the city’s surprisingly plentiful restaurants and bars with ultra-lush surroundings, and often food and drinks to match.

The bulk of these vacation-like places serve food and channel the environs of various Caribbean countries in lush, tropical climates, as well as Pacific-inspired Tiki spots that nod (with varying degrees of “authenticity”) to Polynesian culture. Others simply serve up the escapism factor, with plentiful greenery and flowers, both real and faux.

Ahead, check out 17 of these transportive settings, ideal for grabbing a cocktail and taking a (very brief) tropical vacation of sorts in the process.

Note: This map was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Victor's Cafe

Copy Link
236 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 586-7714
Visit Website

One of the city’s finest Cuban spots, Victor’s Cafe is situated in a lush, light-filled space draped in dangling greenery and accented with colorful murals and turquoise chairs. Don’t miss the ropa vieja, Cuba’s national dish of slow-cooked, pulled beef, braised in tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers. The restaurant dates back to 1963, when Havana restaurateur Victor del Corral opened it on the Upper West Side. It has since moved to Midtown, and is a fantastic brunch option, too.

Victor’s Cafe Victor’s Cafe [Official Photo]

2. Reunion

Copy Link
357 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 582-3200
Visit Website

This quirky, surfer-themed bar quickly transports one from tourist-engulfed Times Square to a colorful, wood-filled space that channels a low-key beach town’s local watering hole. Reunion is often bustling post-work with the happy hour crowd, which includes specials like $6 palomas and $3 Pilsners. Happy hour also runs all day on Sundays.

Reunion Reunion [Official Photo]

3. Broken Shaker

Copy Link
23 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 475-1920
Visit Website

Perched atop Gramercy’s Freehand hotel, this Miami transplant is packed with plants, a vibrant color palette, and a reggae-heavy soundtrack. The gorgeous space has two bar areas indoors decked out in a mishmash of wicker chairs, wood panels, and brightly patterned walls, and there’s nearly double the seating outdoors. The seasonal craft cocktails are accompanied by just as colorful Caribbean-Middle Eastern fare. Prepare for lines.

4. Di An Di

Copy Link
Read Review |
68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 576-3914
Visit Website

This Greenpoint gem is known just as much for its gorgeous design as it is for standout Vietnamese fare. It’s an extremely lush, plant-filled space, with lots of light pouring in from skylights overhead. The greenery pops out against the restaurant’s white walls and booths, and the food — Vietnamese clam pizza, beefy pho, and spicy lemongrass soup (bún bò huế) — is just as vibrant as the decor.

The plant-filled dining room at Di an Di Alex Staniloff/Eater

5. Otto's Shrunken Head

Copy Link
538 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-2240
Visit Website

East Village Tiki bar Otto’s Shrunken Head opened in 2002 to address the dearth of tropical spots in NYC after the closing of Hawaii Kai and Trader Vic’s. The unapologetically kitschy space has big red tufted booths, floral patterns on the walls, and zebra-print chairs. There’s an eclectic range of live music on offer, plus the occasional open mic night, film screening, or live band karaoke.

Otto’s Shrunken Head Otto’s Shrunken Head [Official Photo]

6. Indochine

Copy Link
430 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-5111
Visit Website

The venerable Noho restaurant opened in 1984 and has long been a canteen for a cool, fashion-centric crowd. Its iconic palm frond wallpaper, glossy green leather booths, and gorgeous actor-model stable of servers might be more famous than the food itself, but the Vietnamese fare is still tasty, though pricey. It’s one of the few restaurants left with a definite Sex and the City vibe.

7. Miss Lily's

Copy Link
132 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 812-1482
Visit Website

This popular Jamaican joint has a vacation-friendly rum shack vibe. This location, right on the cusp of Soho and Greenwich Village, is snug, filled with vibrant hues and reggae records lining the walls. The food is excellent, too: try the oxtail stew, hot pepper shrimp, and sorrel-glazed pork ribs. By contrast, the East Village outpost feels like more of a party, thanks, in part, to a rum bar stocked with pours from all over the Caribbean.

8. Mother of Pearl

Copy Link
95 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-6818
Visit Website

This standout Tiki cocktail bar comes courtesy of Ravi DeRossi, the restaurateur and cocktail bar mastermind who’s also behind critically acclaimed fine dining vegan restaurant Avant Garden. Mother of Pearl opened in 2015, in the former Gin Palace space, also run by DeRossi, and it’s filled with floral print-upholstered seating, totem pole bar stools, and punchy wallpaper.

Mother of Pearl Mother of Pearl [Official Photo]

9. Café Habana

Copy Link
17 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 625-2001
Visit Website

It’s always packed at this popular and affordable Nolita restaurant, where much of the menu of Cuban and Mexican dishes is priced under $15. Head here for a weekday breakfast between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the shortest wait (if any wait at all). At any hour, try the excellent Cubano sandwich or the Mexican-style grilled corn. Pair with a tropical drink like a guava daiquiri or mango margarita.

10. Lemon’s at the Wythe Hotel

Copy Link
80 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 460-8000
Visit Website

Step away from the buzzing city for a drink at this recently opened rooftop summer lounge that’s supposed to evoke an alfresco cocktail party on the Italian Coast. Fruity, warm-weather cocktails like boozy lemonade are poured alongside food from the acclaimed chefs behind Greenpoint bistro Chez Ma Tante. Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber are behind a menu of day-drinking friendly fare such as Italian salumi, grilled calamari, a grilled cheese sandwich, and tuna carpaccio on cracker crisps. Plus, spiked popsicles are also on offer for a real beachy vibe atop the hip Wythe Hotel.

The plant-filled bar at Lemon’s at the Wythe Hotel Lemon’s [Official Photo]

11. Tropical 128

Copy Link
128 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-8219
Visit Website

The ultra-kitschy signage and interiors are half the fun at this dive bar and pool hall hybrid. It’s a welcome respite from the aggressively cool, Instagram-geared spots lining nearby stretches of Kenmare, Broome, and Bowery streets. There’s tons of fake plants scattered throughout the space, plus a big fish tank. Stick to basic mixed drinks and the ilk at the bar, plus a game or two of pool, if desired.

A post shared by ropical 128 (@tropical128nyc) on

12. Clyde's

Copy Link
178 N 8th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(929) 276-3528
Visit Website

Clyde’s is a compact, atmospheric rum bar, owned by the team behind local comfort food spots Sweet Chick and Pop’s. Plus, it’s partly owned by Major Lazer’s Christopher Leacock, a.k.a. Jillionaire — the bar is an ode to his native Trinidad, with a soundtrack of soca, dancehall, and reggae music. Next door is Pearl’s, a Trinidadian restaurant, and behind the two venues, there’s a backyard patio with pastel chairs and picnic tables, reserved for Pearl’s diners when it’s busy but open to Clyde’s customers when it’s not. Try the strong punch bowls or rum flights with a group, and there’s a small menu of Trinidadian bar snacks to sample, too.

13. Surf Bar

Copy Link
139 N 6th St
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 302-4441
Visit Website

Satiating a seaside seafood shack craving sans the trek to the beach is possible in the middle of Williamsburg, thanks to Surf Bar. Housed in the former Hurricane Hopeful space, there are a number of surfboards suspended from the ceiling, a menu with options like chowders, fried seafood, and grilled fish, plus a back patio with seating that even has sand. It’s a tiny but effective escape from reality, at least for the duration of a plate of seafood and a few cocktails.

Brooklyn Surf Bar Brooklyn Surf Bar [Official Photo]

14. Zombie Hut

Copy Link
4739, 273 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 875-3433
Visit Website

This whimsical spot in Carroll Gardens is a Tiki bar tricked out with a festive-feeling, bamboo-trimmed outdoor patio that makes it an ideal setting to linger over a couple of potent cocktails. Choose from the Singapore Sling, Mai Tai, or Blue Hawaiian, or if one’s feeling particularly adventurous, get the Scorpion Bowl, a strong and mysterious mixture billed as the “kitchen sink of Tiki drinks.” If it’s a hot summer day, go for the frozen drinks.

15. Bogota Latin Bistro

Copy Link
141 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 230-3805
Visit Website

It always feels festive at this colorful, lively pan-Latin Park Slope restaurant. There’s a large covered back garden that’s fun for a big group, and the extensive menu has plenty of Colombian-inspired options for all sorts of diners and generous portions suited to sharing. Brunch is also popular; try the traditional Colombian Breakfast spread, with scallion and tomato-studded scrambled eggs, calentado (pork, red beans, and white rice), and a butter- and cheese-topped arepa. At lunch or dinner, opt for the Bandeja Paisa, a platter of basically the same delicious, filling slew of ingredients.

16. Super Power

Copy Link
722 Nostrand Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(718) 484-0020
Visit Website

At this Tiki bar in Crown Heights, there are lots of rum-based cocktails to choose from, some served inside coconuts for even more flair and many garnished with bright straws twisted into shapes, in addition to paper umbrellas and a smattering of fruit. Drinks include a Galangal daiquiri, a riff on the old-fashioned called the Super Fashioned, and frozen Painkillers, packed with rum and coconut. There’s a nice outdoor space, too, with mod blue chairs and some greenery.

A post shared by Super power (@superpowerbk) on

17. Jade Island

Copy Link
2845 Richmond Ave
Staten Island, NY 10314
(718) 761-8080
Visit Website

This Polynesian spot in Staten Island has been around for a few decades now. It started off with a Cantonese menu, founded by four brothers who had worked in Chinatown kitchens prior. Much of the menu still leans toward Americanized Chinese dishes, though there are indeed Tiki-inspired drinks, decor, and some nibbles (like a deep fried pu pu platter). It has a sort of Disneyfied, over-the-top take on the Tiki theme that looks a bit like cruise ship decor, with colorful totem sculptures and bamboo accents throughout. Drinks, predictably, come with paper umbrellas and some are served in hollowed-out pineapples.

Loading comments...

1. Victor's Cafe

236 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Victor’s Cafe Victor’s Cafe [Official Photo]

One of the city’s finest Cuban spots, Victor’s Cafe is situated in a lush, light-filled space draped in dangling greenery and accented with colorful murals and turquoise chairs. Don’t miss the ropa vieja, Cuba’s national dish of slow-cooked, pulled beef, braised in tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers. The restaurant dates back to 1963, when Havana restaurateur Victor del Corral opened it on the Upper West Side. It has since moved to Midtown, and is a fantastic brunch option, too.

236 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

2. Reunion

357 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Reunion Reunion [Official Photo]

This quirky, surfer-themed bar quickly transports one from tourist-engulfed Times Square to a colorful, wood-filled space that channels a low-key beach town’s local watering hole. Reunion is often bustling post-work with the happy hour crowd, which includes specials like $6 palomas and $3 Pilsners. Happy hour also runs all day on Sundays.

357 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036

3. Broken Shaker

23 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010

Perched atop Gramercy’s Freehand hotel, this Miami transplant is packed with plants, a vibrant color palette, and a reggae-heavy soundtrack. The gorgeous space has two bar areas indoors decked out in a mishmash of wicker chairs, wood panels, and brightly patterned walls, and there’s nearly double the seating outdoors. The seasonal craft cocktails are accompanied by just as colorful Caribbean-Middle Eastern fare. Prepare for lines.

23 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010

4. Di An Di

68 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read Review |
The plant-filled dining room at Di an Di Alex Staniloff/Eater

This Greenpoint gem is known just as much for its gorgeous design as it is for standout Vietnamese fare. It’s an extremely lush, plant-filled space, with lots of light pouring in from skylights overhead. The greenery pops out against the restaurant’s white walls and booths, and the food — Vietnamese clam pizza, beefy pho, and spicy lemongrass soup (bún bò huế) — is just as vibrant as the decor.

68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

5. Otto's Shrunken Head

538 E 14th St, New York, NY 10009
Otto’s Shrunken Head Otto’s Shrunken Head [Official Photo]

East Village Tiki bar Otto’s Shrunken Head opened in 2002 to address the dearth of tropical spots in NYC after the closing of Hawaii Kai and Trader Vic’s. The unapologetically kitschy space has big red tufted booths, floral patterns on the walls, and zebra-print chairs. There’s an eclectic range of live music on offer, plus the occasional open mic night, film screening, or live band karaoke.

538 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009

6. Indochine

430 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

The venerable Noho restaurant opened in 1984 and has long been a canteen for a cool, fashion-centric crowd. Its iconic palm frond wallpaper, glossy green leather booths, and gorgeous actor-model stable of servers might be more famous than the food itself, but the Vietnamese fare is still tasty, though pricey. It’s one of the few restaurants left with a definite Sex and the City vibe.

430 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003

7. Miss Lily's

132 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

This popular Jamaican joint has a vacation-friendly rum shack vibe. This location, right on the cusp of Soho and Greenwich Village, is snug, filled with vibrant hues and reggae records lining the walls. The food is excellent, too: try the oxtail stew, hot pepper shrimp, and sorrel-glazed pork ribs. By contrast, the East Village outpost feels like more of a party, thanks, in part, to a rum bar stocked with pours from all over the Caribbean.

132 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012

8. Mother of Pearl

95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Mother of Pearl Mother of Pearl [Official Photo]

This standout Tiki cocktail bar comes courtesy of Ravi DeRossi, the restaurateur and cocktail bar mastermind who’s also behind critically acclaimed fine dining vegan restaurant Avant Garden. Mother of Pearl opened in 2015, in the former Gin Palace space, also run by DeRossi, and it’s filled with floral print-upholstered seating, totem pole bar stools, and punchy wallpaper.

95 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

9. Café Habana

17 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

It’s always packed at this popular and affordable Nolita restaurant, where much of the menu of Cuban and Mexican dishes is priced under $15. Head here for a weekday breakfast between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the shortest wait (if any wait at all). At any hour, try the excellent Cubano sandwich or the Mexican-style grilled corn. Pair with a tropical drink like a guava daiquiri or mango margarita.

17 Prince St
New York, NY 10012

10. Lemon’s at the Wythe Hotel

80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
The plant-filled bar at Lemon’s at the Wythe Hotel Lemon’s [Official Photo]

Step away from the buzzing city for a drink at this recently opened rooftop summer lounge that’s supposed to evoke an alfresco cocktail party on the Italian Coast. Fruity, warm-weather cocktails like boozy lemonade are poured alongside food from the acclaimed chefs behind Greenpoint bistro Chez Ma Tante. Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber are behind a menu of day-drinking friendly fare such as Italian salumi, grilled calamari, a grilled cheese sandwich, and tuna carpaccio on cracker crisps. Plus, spiked popsicles are also on offer for a real beachy vibe atop the hip Wythe Hotel.

80 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

11. Tropical 128

128 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

The ultra-kitschy signage and interiors are half the fun at this dive bar and pool hall hybrid. It’s a welcome respite from the aggressively cool, Instagram-geared spots lining nearby stretches of Kenmare, Broome, and Bowery streets. There’s tons of fake plants scattered throughout the space, plus a big fish tank. Stick to basic mixed drinks and the ilk at the bar, plus a game or two of pool, if desired.

128 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013

12. Clyde's

178 N 8th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Clyde’s is a compact, atmospheric rum bar, owned by the team behind local comfort food spots Sweet Chick and Pop’s. Plus, it’s partly owned by Major Lazer’s Christopher Leacock, a.k.a. Jillionaire — the bar is an ode to his native Trinidad, with a soundtrack of soca, dancehall, and reggae music. Next door is Pearl’s, a Trinidadian restaurant, and behind the two venues, there’s a backyard patio with pastel chairs and picnic tables, reserved for Pearl’s diners when it’s busy but open to Clyde’s customers when it’s not. Try the strong punch bowls or rum flights with a group, and there’s a small menu of Trinidadian bar snacks to sample, too.

178 N 8th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

13. Surf Bar

139 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Brooklyn Surf Bar Brooklyn Surf Bar [Official Photo]

Satiating a seaside seafood shack craving sans the trek to the beach is possible in the middle of Williamsburg, thanks to Surf Bar. Housed in the former Hurricane Hopeful space, there are a number of surfboards suspended from the ceiling, a menu with options like chowders, fried seafood, and grilled fish, plus a back patio with seating that even has sand. It’s a tiny but effective escape from reality, at least for the duration of a plate of seafood and a few cocktails.

139 N 6th St
Brooklyn, NY 11249

14. Zombie Hut

4739, 273 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

This whimsical spot in Carroll Gardens is a Tiki bar tricked out with a festive-feeling, bamboo-trimmed outdoor patio that makes it an ideal setting to linger over a couple of potent cocktails. Choose from the Singapore Sling, Mai Tai, or Blue Hawaiian, or if one’s feeling particularly adventurous, get the Scorpion Bowl, a strong and mysterious mixture billed as the “kitchen sink of Tiki drinks.” If it’s a hot summer day, go for the frozen drinks.

4739, 273 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

15. Bogota Latin Bistro

141 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

It always feels festive at this colorful, lively pan-Latin Park Slope restaurant. There’s a large covered back garden that’s fun for a big group, and the extensive menu has plenty of Colombian-inspired options for all sorts of diners and generous portions suited to sharing. Brunch is also popular; try the traditional Colombian Breakfast spread, with scallion and tomato-studded scrambled eggs, calentado (pork, red beans, and white rice), and a butter- and cheese-topped arepa. At lunch or dinner, opt for the Bandeja Paisa, a platter of basically the same delicious, filling slew of ingredients.

141 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Related Maps

16. Super Power

722 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216

At this Tiki bar in Crown Heights, there are lots of rum-based cocktails to choose from, some served inside coconuts for even more flair and many garnished with bright straws twisted into shapes, in addition to paper umbrellas and a smattering of fruit. Drinks include a Galangal daiquiri, a riff on the old-fashioned called the Super Fashioned, and frozen Painkillers, packed with rum and coconut. There’s a nice outdoor space, too, with mod blue chairs and some greenery.

722 Nostrand Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216

17. Jade Island

2845 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314

This Polynesian spot in Staten Island has been around for a few decades now. It started off with a Cantonese menu, founded by four brothers who had worked in Chinatown kitchens prior. Much of the menu still leans toward Americanized Chinese dishes, though there are indeed Tiki-inspired drinks, decor, and some nibbles (like a deep fried pu pu platter). It has a sort of Disneyfied, over-the-top take on the Tiki theme that looks a bit like cruise ship decor, with colorful totem sculptures and bamboo accents throughout. Drinks, predictably, come with paper umbrellas and some are served in hollowed-out pineapples.

2845 Richmond Ave
Staten Island, NY 10314

Related Maps