The best rooftop bars in London
When the sun is shining and you need to escape the bustling streets of London, there’s no better place to seek refuge and quench your thirst than a stunning rooftop bar. Whether you’re looking for iconic views of the city skyline for those golden hour selfies, delicious seasonal cocktails you can’t find anywhere else or a place where you can eat, drink and celebrate with all your friends, we’ve rounded up the top spots amongst the clouds to watch the sunset this summer. SPF not included but highly recommended!
The best rooftop bars in north London
We love Camden Market as much as the next Londoner, but we also appreciate that sometimes you need to escape the tourist crowds and quench your thirst. Enter Near & Far rooftop, a palm tree filled terrace that gets the sun all day but can also be covered and heated when the weather takes a turn. The cocktails are quirky but delicious – the Palm Springs Punch with Aperol, vanilla and passionfruit and the Smokey Jose with mezcal, limoncello and lime get our vote. They’re also serving up an entirely gluten-free menu of trendy Californian inspired dishes (think burgers, tacos and loads of small plates) that make it feel like you’re on the beach in Santa Monica. What’s more, they offer a great happy hour of 50% off all drinks between 5-7pm, Sunday to Friday.
Having just re-opened after a winter hiatus, The Lucky Club in Camden is back doing what it does best: serving up margaritas and smoky mezcal cocktails, alongside contemporary tacos, quesadillas and burritos. The space has been thoughtfully designed with relaxation in mind, with natural plants, foliage and festoon lighting creating a calming oasis in the centre of Camden. On Mondays, enjoy two margaritas for £12, or cool off with a frozen cocktails from the weekly changing menu. On ‘Taco Tuesdays’, there’s four tacos for £12 or six for £15, so grab your mates and have a Mexican night on the roof.
The best rooftop bars in east London
This Stratford bar and restaurant is inspired by everyone’s favourite part of a ski holiday – the après. While there won’t be any snow around (and ski suits are not required), you’ll find the same high-altitude vibes from the Alps on the roof of the chalet-style building. There are countless live DJ sessions throughout the summer, ski-themed cocktails, Alpine inspired snacks (hello fondue!) and views of the Olympic Park. Fans of sweet cocktails will love the Jet Set Martini, or there are many reinvented classics and a whole G&T menu to try too. Service is friendly, prices are reasonable, and the inside restaurant and lounge are a must-visit if you’re looking for dinner. See you on the slopes this summer.
This fabulously pink rooftop is one of the few non-member rooftop bars in the heart of Shoreditch, yet it still has that glamorous member’s club feel. Taking inspiration from Palm Springs, the pink décor, sleek marble and terrazzo create a chilled-out Californian aesthetic. This is somewhere you’re bound to want to celebrate a birthday or other special occasion. The panoramic views across east London are not to be missed and neither are the specialist cocktails such as the spicy margarita with silver infused tequila with jalapeno and the One Hundred punch with Bacardi Cuatro, Koko Kanu, supasawa, Cointreau, matcha and orange juice. The rooftop also hosts exciting events, such as the recent Paloma Week celebration where they teamed up with PATRÓN to create a selection of beloved palomas in four different flavours with matching small plates. With so much in the pipeline, stay tuned for other collaborations across the summer.
Rooftop views and sushi? Sign us up! After undergoing a facelift in time for summer, Netil360 is back and better than ever. It promises to be ‘the local’s local – unpretentious, a little rough around the edges, non-exclusive and open to all’, which we love to see. It really is about all things local: expect locally sourced beer from the neighbouring Five Points Brewery and spirits from nearby East London Liquor Company. For long summer days, there’s new cocktails and jugs, as well as the finest Netil360 house sake to accompany the new sushi dining experience. With wooden pergolas and low tables, it’s a great place for groups to sit back and sunbath while a glittering disco ball hangs overhead and tunes from guests DJs play out. Note, they don’t take bookings, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
The best rooftop bars in south London
Referred to ‘as the younger, taller and better-looking sibling’ of Forza Win, the gorgeous Italian restaurant in Camberwell with an Instagram feed that will make you salivate, Forza Wine offers snacks, views and drinks by the bucketload. They pride themselves on natural, organic and low intervention red, white, rosé, orange and sparkling wines, which they’ll be pouring all summer long. There’s also a generous list of traditional and house-made cocktails, including the popular cherry negroni, which is too easy to chug down, and the justini, a hibiscus and basil gin-based cocktail that is as refreshing as it sounds. Fulfilling the snack side are sharing plates like cauliflower fritti and topped sourdough flatbreads, as well as soft serve ice cream that changes flavour throughout the summer. Ice cream, cocktails and views of the Shard? What more could you ask for, really?
If you’re looking for blissful views in South East London, Franks, with its famous pink staircase (by artist Simon Whybray) and expansive seating is the place to be. You might not think of a multiplex car park as the natural location for a trendy bar but Frank’s has been a mainstay of the Peckham drinking scene since opening in 2009. The bar opens from mid May (the 19th this year) until early Autumn, and offers brilliant, seasonal food alongside perfectly balanced negronis. Get your pink staircase selfies before you overdo the cocktails, is our advice.
We love the relaxed vibe at Skylight in Peckham, opposite the much-loved library and overlooking the Surrey Canal Path which takes many a cycling commuter from the South Eastern ‘burbs into town. The drinks and food on offer here are good summer fare, though the menu does dart around the globe, offering everything from chicken karage, and cauliflower bhajis to American cheese burgers. House cocktails including a stellar picante are £10.50, but it’s really the view here that stands this place apart. Taking in the sunset behind the Shard is a 10/10 summer experience, all from the comfort of cushioned outdoor sofas. Thursdays sees live music, and every weekday you can come and hot desk and enjoy the gorgeous views, fast wifi, and unlimited coffee and tea all day for £10.
The best rooftop bars in central London
The Rooftop, Trafalgar Square
You get a rare side-on view of Nelson on top of his column from this lofty bar at The Trafalgar St James (a Hilton hotel that gets the hallowed privilege of using its own name). The bar is smaller than it used to be, but that just makes it more exclusive, darling. Go for a Cuban old fashioned with King’s Ginger liqueur, sesame and cardamon, or a glass of Surrey-back-garden favourite Whispering Angel rosé – there are Whispering Angel cocktails too in summer 2023. The small plates are fairly substantial crowdpleasers, standouts including barbecue chicken with yuzu & pepper flakes, moreish halloumi fries and properly crisp vegetable gyoza. If you’re out and about in the West End, this is one of those did-you-know… places to impress a friend with.
If you’re heading to the theatre this summer, make sure to swing by Garden Rooftop for a cocktail or two before you go. Located on the 10th floor of Assembly hotel in the heart of the west end, enjoy panoramic views of the London Eye, the Shard and Nelson’s Column while you sip on one of their signature drinks. We loved The Old Brick In The Sky, made with gin, tart raspberry puree, lemon juice and hibiscus. The Garden Rooftop is an indoor rooftop, perfect for the temperamental British summer weather, and is beautifully decorated with vibrant flowers on the ceiling and candlelit tables. It offers a cosy restaurant vibe where you can relax, catch up with friends and grab some dinner. With floor to ceiling glass windows, all tables get a great view.
Once you zoom up the glass lift to the 11th floor of The Standard hotel, you’ll find yourself eye to eye with the iconic redbrick St Pancreas Clock Tower – a view that really makes you go ‘wow’! Take a seat on one of the hot pink sofas under a shady parasol while you appreciate the views and lively tunes from some of London’s best DJs. The cocktail menu has had a revamp in line with this summer’s hottest drinks: there’s mezcal palomas, espresso martinis and negronis but it’s the hibiscus spritz with rosé vermouth, elderflower and bright pink hibiscus that gets our vote. This little suntrap also has a new east Asian-inspired food truck serving three types of Taiwanese bao buns – pork belly, duck confit and oyster mushroom – along with other snacks. Book ahead and grab front row seats for a gorgeous sunset over the city.
If you’re looking for live music with stunning views and delectable drinks, come on up to 12th Knot at Sea Containers. This vibrant rooftop bar hosts a weekly programme of live music events made up of an eclectic mix of music genres, from funk and soul DJs to classic 45s vinyl nights. Sip on a seasonal cocktail or glass of vino while admiring the view of the Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral. This summer, the terrace is partnering with Bombay Sapphire Premiere Cru and, taking inspiration from the iconic Studio 54 disco era, 12th Knot will be getting a glitzy disco makeover. This extends to the drinks menu too, where you’ll find 70s inspired cocktails like the drool-worthy Lychee and Melon Sour.
When you’ve tired yourself out shopping and need a spot of sustenance near Oxford Street, new rooftop bar and restaurant Cavo is a swish place to refuel. With a refreshing cocktail menu including strawberry and basil martinis and oysters or octopus carpaccio to go alongside, there is plenty to enjoy here. The vast restaurant means this is a great choice for a large group, and with plenty of undercover seating you can enjoy the views at Cavo whether it’s bucketing it down or the sun is shining.
The Nest bar is a much-needed botanical bolthole in central London, located atop the Treehouse hotel with sunny interiors and an adventurous menu inspired by nature. The cocktail menu changes in line with the season, offering new twists on familiar drinks alongside completely unique combinations, all showcasing the versatility of locally sourced ingredients. The rhubarb margarita with Yorkshire rhubarb puree, tequila blanco and agave is a sweet-and-sour sip you’ll want to drink all summer long. Feeling brave? Give their nettle tea or radish cordial drinks a try. With an indoor-outdoor rooftop offering 360-views of London, this bar is well prepared for the unpredictable British weather.
Located on the seventh floor of the recently opened hotel, the AMANO Rooftop Bar offers phenomenal city views and an equally stunning drinks menu. While the price tag is on the higher end, the bar feels luxurious and chic, and would make an extra special setting for a date night or celebration. Enjoy international wines, exciting signature cocktails (we’ll pre-warn you, it’s hard to choose which to have first!) and lots of top-notch bubbles. If you’re in town on a Thursday and looking for a sundowner, you can tuck into complementary tapas between 5-7PM. Or join after 8PM for great sets from resident DJs. Exclusively for summer, AMANO will be hosting daytime parties with all the food, drinks and entertainment you could ask for. Go on, treat yourself to a little luxury!
Did you know about this hidden gem sitting above Oxford Street? Head to the top floor of John Lewis and you’ll find the ultimate sanctuary for post-shopping sipping. The new drinks menu has just launched, featuring a cherry negroni, peach and kiwi martini and other summery flavoured cocktails. Alternatively, grab a bottle of wine for just £30 (not bad for central London prices, we think!) and sit back on one of the cushioned sofas to enjoy the sunshine. There’s food from Tacos El Rey, the team behind Breddos Tacos, serving up nachos, platters, tacos and other Mexican streetfood to really bring the holiday vibes. Bookings are recommended for food.
The best rooftop bars in The City
For dates, mates and after work drinks, there’s nowhere quite like the rooftop terrace bar at the Wagtail. The views are so incredible, you’ll feel like you’re on a filmset – Tower Bridge, St Paul’s, the Shard, the Gherkin… you name it, you can tick off nearly all the London landmarks in one go from here. And when the sky burns orange at sunset, it’s a truly spectacular sight. To drink, there’s sustainable and seasonal cocktails, local beers, wines and spirits and even magnums of rosé and champagne if you’re celebrating. Head down to the floor below for a special dining experience, complete with two more terraces to soak in those views and a concise menu of elevated British classics such as rump of lamb with miso, Devonshire scallops and dry aged steaks. It’s on the pricier side but everything from the gorgeous views, pretty drinks and attentive service is in abundance here.
Renowned for its incredible so-close-you-can-almost-touch-it views of St Paul’s Cathedral and lively DJ nights on the rooftop, Madison’s summer terrace has launched just in time for the good weather. The signature cocktails are truly unique, with serves including the Rock’n Rolla made with truffle gin and whisky as well as a pimped up version of the Pornstar Martini with edible gold and white chocolate wings. There’s also bubbles by the glass and bottle, as well as an extensive wine and spirits list. What’s more, Madison is bringing the Sex and the City glam to mornings (or afternoons, no judgement here) with its New York brunch offering. This is no casual brunch affair: think lively tunes, flutes of bottomless bubbles and three courses of popular Manhattan classics presented prettily on the plate. And, of course, we can’t forget those outstanding skyline views. It’s on the expensive side but it’s definitely a rooftop worth ticking off in central London.
Those who work in the area already know how great London Bridge Rooftop is for post-work drinks with that iconic Shard sunset view. But, with amazing DJs, bottomless brunch and Aperol Sundays lined up for the season, we think it’s also a perfect weekend spot for summer celebrations with a large group of friends. You can book a pergola area for big parties, or reserve a few long benches to seat your crew. On the menu, you’ll find reasonably priced classic cocktails as well as exciting new ones, like the Negroni Sour and Punchy Pear. You can even grab a bottle of wine for just £28 – perfect to sip while waiting for golden hour. Feeling peckish? There’s smash burgers, halloumi fries and more available to snack on.
The best rooftop bars in west London
Looking for a relaxed rooftop to watch the evening go by but don’t want to head into central London? Try the Loft bar next to Wimbledon station and enjoy classic pub grub alongside your favourite drinks. It’s a great place for catch ups and birthdays, with large tables and alcoves to book and a budget-friendly menu. Spritz lovers will feel very well-catered for here, with over 10 bubbly cocktails to choose from. There’s also mocktails, frozen cocktails and craft beers so everyone can watch the sunset with a smile on their face.
Located in Television Centre, Aerial Rooftop is a great spot to refuel after a day of retail therapy in Westfield. It’s from the same team behind The Lighterman in King’s Cross, so expect elevated pub classics and a contemporary aesthetic. The rooftop itself is a like a cool Tulum beach club, with sunny sofas, Insta-worthy cocktails and chilled-out tunes bringing that weekend vibe. You’ll want to sit here all day! There’s a whole load of seasonal spritzes to keep you going ‘til sundown – we loved the Elderflower and Rose Spritz in particular as it combines all your favourite summer drinks in one glass: prosecco, rosé wine and St Germain liqueur. This rooftop goes beyond just drinks, with live DJ nights on Thursdays and Saturdays and bottomless brunch until 2PM on weekends (we’ve got our eye on the fried chicken benedict with sriracha-spiked hollandaise). Check out the extensive events calendar to book other fun weekend activities, such as puppy yoga, taco and tequila nights and painting with prosecco.
Make the most of your visit to the Lyric Hammersmith, a local West London theatre, and stop by the stylish Lyric Bar – perfect for after work or post-show drinks. Soak up the sunshine on the roof garden and enjoy happy hour cocktails, served everyday from 5pm to 8pm. This summer, try the Bramble Bee, a refreshing cocktail made of Kraken black spiced rum, apple juice, ginger ale, and their very own Lyric honey, sourced ethically from the beehives situated on the theatre’s green sedum roof. For the theatre lovers, there are also signature show cocktails available to try for the ultimate immersive experience.
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