Rooftop bars prove profitable in NYC

Rooftop bars at hotels have proven to be highly profitable in New York City, generating revenues up to US$120 per square foot per month in peak season with departmental profit potential of up to 50%, according to a new report from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (JLLH).

The study, “Manhattan Hotel Rooftop Bars and Penthouses – December 2011,” noted that 35 hotels totaling 9,600 rooms in New York City feature a rooftop bar, representing 12% of New York City’s total hotel room supply. Lifestyle boutique hotels are still the most prevalent properties offering rooftop bars, but international hotel chains have entered the rooftop bar arena, representing nearly a third of the total number of rooms.

“Rooftop bars and lounges have become a game changer and an iconic feature for hotels in densely built-up markets,” said Amelia Lim, executive vice president of JLLH. They often represent a substantial profit center, delivering a high return on investment. Situated high above the hustle and bustle, rooftop bars consistently draw in a crowd because they are simply a great place to escape, enjoy the view and have a drink and a bite.”

The report also stated, however, that not all markets can sustain this type of development. “In any real estate development, careful planning for accessibility, design, security and zoning weighs in as a major factor, but this is especially true for rooftop bars,” said Pete Dordick, vice president of project and development services for JLLH.

The report detailed factors that make a successful rooftop bar scene, including a space-constrained urban environment, a high-rise building with flat roofs and breathtaking views.

To read JLLH’s complete analysis, click here.