London’s best rooftop bars have got attitude and altitude.
Summer isn’t quite complete if you can’t pair your cocktail with some equally intoxicating views of the city. Pretty fortunate then, that we’ve put together a list of the best rooftop bars in London to drink at over summer 2018.
1. Prince of Wales, Brixton
A multi-storey pub-meets club, the Prince of Wales rooftop offers a Rum Shack, live music and DJ sets across a terrific two-tier terrace. Hop to beats from the likes of Norman Jay and Giles Peterson at one of south London’s best rooftop bars, pint in hand. You can also dance till dawn (OK, 3am) at the venue’s legendary Rooftop Nights, taking place on select Fridays and Saturdays from now until September, or join in the fun at their euphoric Sunday daytime parties.
2. Jin Bo Law, Aldgate
Asian-inspired cocktails are the order of the day at this brand new Aldgate hangout, atop the Dorsett Hotel. They’ll also throw views of London’s skyscrapers into the bargain, courtesy of this 14th-floor roof terrace. (They’re actually throwing a big, twelve hour party on Saturday 25th August, with DJs, cocktails and those all-important vistas. Get your tickets here.)
Dorsett City Hotel, 9 Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AH. Nearest station is Aldgate East.
3. Madison Rooftop, St Pauls
Soaring above the shopping centre is this terrace, which makes its way onto a rooftop bars roundup by virtue of Madison’s, the adjoining restaurant and bar. The ace in the hole here is so obvious that we really don’t need to say it. Do we?
Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, St Paul’s, EC4M 9AF. Nearest stations are St Paul’s and Mansion House.
4. The Culpeper, Aldgate
Part bar, part urban garden, you won’t find many rooftop bars like this in London. Especially ones with views of the City. The roof terrace of lovely East London boozer The Culpeper is an utterly charming collision of modern and rustic. Oh, and it gets bonus points for a giant light-up cucumber.
5. Coq D’Argent, Bank
Immaculately manicured lawns, cute hedges, wisteria draped across the terraces… Coq D’Argent makes a serious claim to be the most beautiful of London’s rooftop bars. Feast on views of the City of London as you feast on their delicious food, hot off the grill.
1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ. Nearest station is Bank.
467-469 Brixton Road, SW9 8HH. Nearest station is Brixton.
6. Sushisamba, Liverpool Street
Rooftop bars don’t come any higher than this. Spanning the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, the Japanese-Brazilian fusion restaurant serves cocktails with dramatic views of the city skyline and beyond.
7. Lyric Bar & Grill, Hammersmith
If you’re the kind of person who’d like to combine your love of theatre with your zest for rooftop bars, this is the place for you. It’s the restaurant and roof garden of the Lyric Hammersmith, so you’ll get the full package of dinner, drinks, and a show here.
The Lyric Centre, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. Nearest station is Hammersmith.
8. Frank’s Cafe, Peckham
A classic amongst London rooftop bars. Frank’s Cafe has served Campari-based cocktails and outstanding cooking for years now, and it’s only been enhanced by the creation of Peckham Levels. The drinks here face a fight for supremacy with the lush views, and the insanely Instagrammable bubblegum pink stairs.
Top Floor, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST. Nearest station is Peckham Rye.
9. Aviary, Finsbury Square
The vast expanse of comfy sofas make this an attractive option anytime of day. However, Aviary comes into its own when the sun goes down and the lights of the London go on, and the warm summer breeze makes those sofas look suspiciously like beds…
Montcalm Royal London House, 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX. Nearest station is Moorgate.
10. Bar Elba, Waterloo
A wonderful themed offering amongst these rooftop bars, Bar Elba is the companion bar of the ultra-glam Tonight Josephine. Honouring Napoleon’s exile on his party isle of Elba, you won’t need 600 mates and a horse to enjoy this place. Unless, you know, you want to.
Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL. Nearest station is Waterloo.
11. Radio Rooftop, Strand
This radio won’t play the latest beats, but it will bring you cocktails, nibbles, and views of Somerset House and the river… for a hefty per-person minimum spend. Booking essential.
ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA. Nearest station is Temple.
12. The Rooftop, Trafalgar Square
We were never going to declare any of these champion of rooftop bars, so we’d usually be irked by a place anointing itself ‘The Rooftop’. But when it overlooks Trafalgar Square and looks stunning at night, we’re prepared to forgive this one.
7th Floor, 2 Spring Gardens, St. James’s, SW1A 2TS. Nearest station is Charing Cross.
13. Netil360, Hackney
Charmingly rustic, and therefore popular with the Hackney hipster crowd, this is one to add to your list. A great list of craft beers (from east London, natch) adds to the laidback atmosphere of Netil 360, which also boasts a cafe, gallery, and workspace.
1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL. Nearest station is London Fields.
14. The Boundary, Shoreditch
Mediterranean vibes abound in summer at the rooftop bar of swanky Shoreditch hotel The Boundary. The rosé will be chilled, so fingers crossed the weather will be warm, although if it isn’t head to the basement for a bottomless cheese and charcuterie board. (See also: the best restaurants in Shoreditch.)
2-4 Redchurch Street, E2 7DD. Nearest station is Shoreditch High Street.
15. Bussey Rooftop Bar, Peckham
Peckham really is blessed with rooftop bars, as this one sits across the Overground tracks from Frank’s. Whilst the views are almost as delicious, The Bussey will play host to Rooftop Film Club this summer, so your attention may be distracted somewhat.
Roof B, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST. Nearest station is Peckham Rye.
16. Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, Southbank
Neatly located in the middle of the Southbank, this is a slice of the countryside on a central London rooftop. Wildflowers, allotments, and lawns cover the whole space, as you’d expect from the team who also created Cornwall’s Eden Project. The bar brings the drinks, all you need to bring is a sunny disposition.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Lambeth, SE1 8XX. Nearest station is Waterloo.
17. Skylight, Wapping
Officially the only rooftop bar in London to offer a croquet course, Skylight sits above Tobacco Dock, and also opens in the winter season with a tiny/adorable ice rink. Pennington St, Wapping, E1W 2SF.
18. Roof East, Stratford
An expansive space in Stratford, Roof East’s ‘Social Fun & Games Club’ offers exactly that: lawn bowls, baseball batting cages and crazy golf are all popping up there in 2018, along with BBQ food to gorge yourself on. Level 8 Car park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE.
19. The Gardening Society, Oxford Street
Up above the John Lewis department store, a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, sits this bucolic spot. There’s fried chicken from Butchies and ice cream sandwiches from Happy Endings, and they’ll also be hosting a series of gigs in 2018 to celebrate a ‘Summer of Sound.’ John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX.
20. Alto at Selfridges, Oxford Street
Not to be outdone, Selfridges hosts its own well-regarded rooftop restaurant, with a lovely al fresco bar area on the corner of the building. There’s even a retractable roof for days when the British summer lets us down. Expect a redesigned look when it reopens in 2018.. 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB.
21. Rumpus Room, South Bank
Braving the elements is strictly optional at the Mondrian Hotel’s breathtakingly-designed rooftop bar. A narrow outdoor terrace offers iconic views across the river, and yet the interior is almost as mouthwatering as the London skyline. The perfect spot to celebrate any special occasion. 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD.
22. Bokan, Canary Wharf
Got a real head for heights? This Canary Wharf rooftop bar is perched way up on the 39th floor, and also offer a specialist gin bar, daybeds and Sunday jazz sessions. 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP. More info.
23. Savage Garden, City
This glossy new rooftop spot sits on the 12th floor of the Hilton DoubleTree hotel in Tower Hill, offering views of Tower Bridge from their fine terrace. Expect expert cocktails, top-flight nibbles and a price point to match – you are in the City, after all.
Need another sunny slice of summer? Check out our guide to London’s summer pop-ups!
Featured image: @jmbessieres