You can’t really overstate the importance of a rooftop bar or summer terrace to Londoners.
Having spent much of the year retreating from Mother Nature’s rainier swings, it is pure bliss to find ourselves drinking and dining in the sun come spring and summertime.
Whether you prefer your aperitifs at altitude or a more grounded garden haven, here are the best rooftop bars and summer terraces in London now:
Whitcomb’s Terrace at The Londoner
Leicester Square’s Londoner Hotel has partnered with St~Germain to launch a flower-packed summer terrace suitable for drinkers and diners alike. Order a Riviera Martini, Fleur de Sureau Negroni, and more from its dedicated St~Germain bar before tucking into Whitcomb’s truly delectable modern French faire. The rigatoni au homard with seared lobster and Scotch bonnet labneh crème is a personal favorite (with an elderflower-packed St~Germain Spritz, of course).
38 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7DX
The Nest at Treehouse Hotel
The Nest is one of very few rooftop bars that draws crowds rain or shine. Boasting an outdoor terrace with spectacular 360-degree skyline views, the treehouse-themed bar is nothing short of spectacular. There is a minimum spend for a two-hour reservation at £50 (or £30 for hotel guests) on food and drink, but a few small plates and cocktails will get you there in no time.
14-15 Langham Place, London, W1B 2QS
With terraced views of London Bridge, The Shard, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s and more, London’s latest 360-degree bar and restaurant does not disappoint. Nor does its menu. Thanks to executive chef Philip Kearsey and bar manager Angelos Bafas, luxe treats (like wagyu bresaola and soft shell crab sliders) abound, in addition to a fully-fledged restaurant. You’ll be paying city prices (circa £16 for a cocktail), but they’re worth it. See: the ‘Mango’ (Cazcabel Blanco Mezcal, mango, honey, chamomile, and a blend of peppers).
68 King William Street, London, EC4N 7HR
The Garden Terrace at The Landmark
A true hidden gem, this all-seasons terrace is glass-topped and as opulent as a garden could ever hope to be. Thankfully, there’s an informality to the space that makes for a perfect spot to enjoy a casual drink or meeting. A bit of an oasis.
222 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 6JQ
With an outside terrace and a retractable glass-domed ceiling, Sabine’s indoor-outdoor rooftop is not only home to the best view of St Paul’s Cathedral, but some of the best cocktails in the city. In celebration of Sabine’s first birthday, Glenmorangie has even placed the UK’s first automated and fully immersive cocktail-making jukebox in the bar (pouring four delicious X by Glenmorangie-based cocktails on demand, available until May 30).
10 Godliman St, London EC4V 5AJ
Coppa Club Tower Bridge
Coppa Club is bringing the Riviera to Tower Bridge this year with a brand new riverside terrace spruce-up. They’ve added reams of twinkling festoon lights, palm trees, and a bevy of ornamental Bougainvillea to their iconic ‘pod’ setup to celebrate all things Mediterranean. They’ve even partnered with Château Minuty rosé to bring out the finest flavors in their new summer menu, too—championing all things fresh and local (save me some courgette bruschetta with buffalo ricotta, lemon and mint, will ya?). Bookings available for April 29 onwards.
3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AH
No 32 The Old Town
Serving breakfast, all day brunch, Sunday roasts, cocktails and canapés, there really is no time when a visit to Clapham’s No 32 isn’t a good idea. The food is the big draw here; all ingredients are sourced sustainability (with the receipts to prove it, boasting 3* with the Sustainable Restaurant Association) and the menu is scratch-cooked daily. The views over Clapham Common don’t hurt, either.
32 The Pavement, London, SW4 0JE
Queen of Hoxton
If you like your rooftops with a vibe, look no further than the Queen of Hoxton’s ever-changing rooftop space. The club-cum-pub changes its ‘theme’ fairly regularly, with new drinks and food to suit, and its current Cherry Blossom set-up is our favorite yet. As one of the more affordable rooftops in the area, you can indulge in specialty menu items (a la the Gouchjang burger and fries—packed with prime beef with kimchi, crispy onions and gochujang chili sauce) for as little as a tenner.
1 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX
Vagabond Northcote Road
Wine lovers, rejoice! The oenophiles at Vagabond not only serve over 100 different wines by the glass, but host their Northcote Road customers in a secret garden above the shop floor. It’s an ideal date spot and one of the only places I’ve found a truly delicious orange wine selection (see: the 2020 AA DENAVOLO Dinavolino Bianco) south of the river.
4 Northcote Road, London, SW11 1NT
The Hoxton Hotel’s Seabird has successful brought sea to sky, offering a wide range of oysters, tartares, ceviches and more. It’s delightfully cosy, given its marble finishes and general culinary refinement, and there’s even an oyster happy hour from 3-5pm Monday to Thursday, where you can enjoy a range of Jersey No.3s, Lindisfarnes and Cumbraes for £2 each.
The Rooftop at The Hoxton Southwark, 40 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NY