London’s best rooftop bars for the summer
Making the most of the milder weather and longer days
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
The clever folk at the Boundary have added a pergola to their smart rooftop bar, so you can enjoy the views whatever the weather. It’s now possible to book for lunch or dinner, although you’ll need to specify that you want to sit upstairs and they warn that it isn’t always possible. Once you’ve bagged a table you’ll feel like you’re in the Med. The bar serves from midday to 11pm, so you can get stuck into their wine and cocktail menus. They also do tapas and meats on a proper grill if you get peckish.
Find it: 2-4 Boundary St, E2 7DD, theboundary.co.uk
The Culpeper, Spitalfields
The Culpeper have opened up their rooftop just in time for the summer. The gorgeous views over the city look especially stunning after sunset. Homegrown herbs that season both the food and cocktails line the terrace. It’s a chic hideaway and the perfect spot to retire to after a meal in their excellent kitchen.
Find it: 40 Commercial St, E1 6LP, theculpeper.com
Netil 360, London Fields
Perched on top of Hackney collective Netil House, this spacious bar plays host to the hot tub cinema club during winter but come May it will be back to its seriously cool day parties. Views, cocktails, BBQ, tunes — what more do you need?
Find it: Netil House, 1 Westgate St E8 3RL, netil360.wordpress.com
Dalston Roof Park, Dalston
An eco-addition to Hackney’s growing rooftop scene, the Roof Park is an urban oasis covered in impressive topiary, solar panels - which power it - and allotments young gardeners can apply to look after. Opposite the overground station, this is a super-convenient rooftop, open daily, that hosts a weekly film club, a Japanese food festival, comedy nights and day parties.
Find it: Opens May 1 201518 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL, bootstrapcompany.co.uk
The Castle, Islington
This gastro-pub which lies just off the Pentonville Road attracts a lot of passing trade, but few venture as far up as the pub’s unpublicised, spacious roof terrace. The views aren’t the most dramatic in London but it’s pleasing to watch people spilling out from nearby Chapel Market. Plus, the jolly atmosphere, Brazilian music and delectable pub grub are a big draw on sunny evenings.
Find it: 54 Pentonville Road, N1 9HF, geronimo-inns.co.uk/thecastle
This Camden institution has just spent a substantial sum turning their rooftop terrace into a secret garden. Go for their huge lawn, lots and lots of top quality, unplugged music and a new Mediterranean menu. Food comes courtesy of a gourmet pizza oven and barbecue. They’re open long after the sun goes down, too, so you can go for an afternoon and leave well into the night. What better way to enjoy a glorious summer day?
Find it: 1 The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH, proudcamden.com
Kensington Roof Gardens, Kensington
One of the smarter options on our list, this vast 1.5 acre rooftop plot comprises three different themed gardens complete with oak trees, a stream and its own flock of flamingos.
Find it: 99 Kensington High St, W8 5SA, roofgardens.virgin.com
Lyric Bar, Hammersmith
Open to everyone, not just theatre-goers, the Lyric’s rooftop bar is rather enchanting with its secluded spots, lush draping greenery and seductive lighting. It’s also available for hire as a party venue and has a good pizzeria with a mega popular happy hour.
Find it: Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL, lyric.co.uk
The City and central London
Radio Bar ME London, Strand
Way up on the 10th floor of the new ME London hotel, a wide terrace wraps around both sides of the arrow-shaped Radio bar. It’s all swanky Ibiza-style sofas, candles and magical views that sweep across London as far as the London Eye, Big Ben and a whole host of other London landmarks.
Find it: 337 The Strand, WC2, melia.com
Aqua, Oxford Circus
This is where the well-groomed set come for a post-work sundowner in the hotter months. Twin terraces attached to the various Aqua restaurants allow brilliant views across Soho and Mayfair rooftops, with cocktails costing under a tenner for the privilege.
Find it: 5th Floor, 30 Argyll St, W1F 7EB, aquaspirit.co.uk
No.32 The Old Town, Clapham
This independent bar serves food all day and is a big fan of cocktails and craft beer. Grab a bottle and a few sharing plates and head upstairs to its roof terrace. It’s a sociable spot, so settle down at one of its long tables and enjoy the view.
Find it: 32 The Pavement, SW4 0JE, no32theoldtown.co.uk
Queen Elizabeth Roof Gardens Bar, Southbank
A hidden gem, a lot of people probably walk straight past the yellow staircase that leads up to this roof terrace. This garden is the result of volunteers from St Mungo’s charity and feels a world away from the concrete lines of the Southbank Centre below. Jugs of pimms and other summery libations are on offer as well as light snacks until 10pm.
Find it: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX, southbankcentre.co.uk
Frank’s Cafe and Campari Bar, Peckham
Frank’s occupies the entire length of a Peckham car park for two months every summer (July-August). Head here for spectacular 360 degree views of London, delicious campari cocktails for a fiver and tasty BBQ food and fresh salads.
Find it: 10th Floor, Peckham Multistorey Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST, frankscafe.org.uk
For more ideas, look at the original article from Kate Lough and David Ellis for the London Evening Standard here.