A city that excels in making the most of what it’s got, London has a roster of rooftop bars that’s second to none, capitalising on a stunning skyline and reliably compelling views. A decade ago, most rooftop bars fell into predictable camps: stuffy hotel bars, or rowdy after-work spots. But today, there’s a delightful range, with bars offering mini-golf or spacious beer gardens, as well as first-class cocktails. Here are our picks for the best rooftop bars in London.
We’re pretty sure everyone has seen a pic of someone they know at Madison’s 6th-floor rooftop terrace. Come rain or shine, Madison’s is guaranteed to be buzzing! One of London’s coolest and most popular rooftop spots, Madison’s is known for their famous New York style brunch parties and a fabulous range of cocktails – make sure to break out the bubbly if you’re stopping by!
Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, St Paul’s madisonlondon.net
Aqua Spirit is the place to be when you and your mates just want to have a relaxed and classy evening. A glitzy spot with the best Champagne town, a great atmosphere and to top it off – the stunning views will guarantee you a perfect night! It serves quality cocktails that (almost) justify the price tag, but in a sky-high setting, you’ll feel like London’s very own Kim K.
240 Regent St, Soho aquaspirit.co.uk
Sushisamba’s glass-walled express lift lets you enjoy the views of London at high speed. Taking you 38 storeys above the City in under 30 seconds, you’ll land level with the tip of the Gherkin. Once you’re up there, Sushisamba has a pretty impressive rooftop bar open all year round. With its stunning Japanese-Brazillian-Peruvian inspired dishes, you’re in for a taste experience!
110 Bishopsgate, London sushisamba.com
Radio rooftop bar has it all – great cocktails, a beautiful interior, a 3 am closing time and live DJ sets. With the whole of London set out in front of you and your friends, you will create memories which last a lifetime. Radio is expensive as hell and has a pretty strict door code, so we would recommend saving a trip for a special occasion.
336-337 Strand, London radiorooftop.com
Rooftop bar alert! Aviary is a bar-restaurant with a roomy open-air terrace at Finsbury Square’s Montcalm Hotel. Perched ten floors up, it’s got a killer panoramic view, and is already hugely popular with the post-work crowd. Colleagues cuddle up on modernist furniture under blankets and heaters, and work their way through spritzes and champagne cocktails way past sunset.
10th Floor Montcalm, Royal London House, 22-25 Finsbury Square aviarylondon.com
French food, cocktails and a rooftop, honey I’m home! Coq d’Argent is accessed via a private lift, which speedily delivers City suits to a verdant rooftop garden, complete with its own lawn, trailing vines and ringed walkway. In Summer, it’s a great choice for alfresco dining, and the location offers striking skyline views across London. Indoor attractions include a circular bar, brasserie and corporate-styled restaurant. Expect regional French cooking, occasionally inspired by forays further afield.
1 Poultry, London coqdargent.co.uk
The Prince of Wales Feathers
A bright and vibrant venue with a bohemian edge and a secret beer garden! The Prince of Wales Feathers is the perfect setting for a laid-back yet distinctly memorable drinking and dining experience. Whether you’re looking for a lazy lunch, family dinner or social eats and treats with friends, The Prince of Wales Feathers offers tempting and flavoursome food, an explorative drinks menu and a genuine, welcoming atmosphere to suit all occasions.
8 Warren Street, Fitzrovia theprinceofwalesfeathersw1.co.uk
Join 12th Knot on the 12th floor of the Sea Containers London and experience a bright and verdant riverside rooftop bar. Expect lush greenery, plush sofas and comfortable lounge spaces, perfect for enjoying the iconic view morning to night-time. While you enjoy the iconic view, try the seasonal and ingredient-led cocktails and food and enjoy live music on Wednesdays featuring some of London’s hottest bands, as well as DJ’s Thursday – Saturday.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London seacontainerslondon.com
The Lock Tavern
This Chalk Farm Road DJ bar, music venue, kitchen and poshed-up boozer is something of a Camden institution. It’s certainly still pretty popular, too, given the size of the crowds continuing to squeeze themselves into the main bar, large garden, buzzing upstairs space and impressive roof terrace overlooking Proud Galleries and Camden Market.
35 Chalk Farm Rd, London lock-tavern.com
When the sun’s out, Londoners all seem to flock to Pergola Paddington. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the food or maybe it’s the drinks, but for one reason or another, Pergola is the capitals favourite rooftop. Restaurant residencies by Patty & Bun, Conard, DF/Mexico and Mam makes Pergola the ideal option for a summers day. Pergola does offer walk-ins, but these are limited, so we suggest booking in advance to avoid being disappointed.
5 Kingdom St, London pergolalondon.com
Just five minute’s walk from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross Station, you’ll find a venue buzz of an altogether different nature. Now firmly established as one of London’s last hidden gems, The Driver is Kings Cross’ leading restaurant and gastropub. As a truly urban adventure that is set over four floors and crowned with a roof terrace on the fifth, The Driver is a pub with traditional British pubs values; warm, friendly and uncomplicated.
2-4 Wharfdale Road, London driverlondon.co.uk
Big Chill Kings Cross is a place to drink, eat, work and play. Providing quality craft drinks, delicious bar food and a friendly service, they’re a popular and laid back bar-club venue that never goes amiss for your midweek drinks and dances. They also offer a South facing roof terrace and raging DJs every Thursday – Saturday.
257-259 Pentonville Road, London bigchillbar.com
The Faltering Fullback
An Irish secret hidden away on the leafy avenue of Perth Road, tucked behind Finsbury Park, you’ll find this charming, well-loved Irish pub. Come down and grab a pint in their amazing beer garden in front of the big screen sports or keep it chilled by the bar. Drink your weekend afternoons away contemplating their stunning ceiling inspiration or party with pals til late on Fridays and Saturdays! Perfect spot to catch up with mates!
19 Perth Road, Finsbury Park falteringfullback.com
Bar Elba’s historical theme is as loose as they come. With fairy lights, communal benches and a sizeable cocktail list, this rooftop bar is more about the (bona)party than the nineteenth-century military leader. The bar boasts a small wine, beer, and cider menu, as well as a selection of bubbles for those with an emperor’s budget. Cocktails are sweet and summery: the frosé, a velvety-smooth, rosé and vermouth-spiked strawberry slushie.
Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Rd, South Bank bar-elba.co.uk
Frank’s Cafe at Bold Tendencies
Opened in 2009 by bartender Frank Boxer and chef Michael Davies, Franks is now in its 10th year. Frank’s provides a classic drinks offering for the thousands of visitors to the rooftop each summer, including beers, wines, and cocktails. The restaurant is open every day all summer long, including brunch service on the weekends.
7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Ln, London boldtendencies.com
The Culpeper public house sits on the corner of Commercial Street, opposite Petticoat Lane. It’s set over four floors, to include a pub, restaurant, rooms and rooftop greenhouse and garden. Delicious food, good booze, friendly staff and a beautifully restored building provide its unique atmosphere.
40 Commercial Street, London theculpeper.com
Pop Brixton is a temporary project that has turned the disused land into a creative space for local, independent businesses. Come and discover South London’s most exciting start-ups working in food, retail, design and social enterprise. Pop Brixton is now home to 55 independent businesses including restaurants, retailers, makers, street food traders, designers, digital start-ups, a youth radio station and a number of social enterprises.
49 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London popbrixton.org
The Magic Roundabout
Located literally in the middle of Old Street Roundabout and accessed via a secret staircase in the tube station, The Magic Roundabout is London’s most unique and newest party space. Offering award-winning street food, artisan coffee, beautiful cocktails and craft beers! Their line-up of DJs are plucked from some of London’s biggest clubs and will be on the decks each evening.
16 St. Agnes Well, London magicroundabout.co
Bōkan 38 Bar & 39 Rooftop
An easy-going & informal hideaway, transporting you far from the buzz of the busy streets below. The roof terrace at Bōkan 39 features a specialist gin bar, rooftop daybeds, Sunday jazz sessions, perfect for intimate gatherings, whilst admiring striking views of London.
40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London bokanlondon.co.uk
Shoreditch House is the East London outpost of the notorious Soho House, the private members club favoured by the media set. Based in a former tea warehouse, it created a whirl of anticipation before it even opened and has swiftly established itself as one of London’s top spots for people who want to see and be seen. It’s pretty exclusive – membership is strictly limited – but members can sign their friends in, so you better start calling up your well-connected friends.
1 Ebor Street, London shoreditchhouse.com
A Chiringuito is a relaxed, informal enterprise, usually a bar, selling drinks, tapas and small plates – often in a temporary structure. The addition to east London’s growing restaurant scene, Chiringuito brings a relaxed beach bar vibe to a corner of Bethnal Green’s iconic Museum Gardens.
Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Rd, London chiringuito.co.uk
Ordinarily we wouldn’t encourage hanging out in hotel bars, but the view from the Boundary’s rooftop bar and grill is so spectacular we’re making an exception. Settle in to their film-worth terrace for jugs of sangria, Mediterranean nosh and panoramic views of the city’s skyline. Grab a seat in the sun and get well into the Provencal spirit with olives, charcuterie, grilled fish, fresh salads and ice-cold Provencal rose baby.
2-4 Boundary St, London boundary.london