Every one of the bars and pubs in London with al fresco drinking featured in SquareMeal’s list of London’s best bars and pubs for alfresco drinking have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers. For more drinking inspiration, see our recommendations for the best bars in London. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.
Fun, flamboyant and fabulous, Bunga Bunga gets the party started – and knows how to keep it going. Named after the notorious romps organised by Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, it mixes all the clichés of Italian holidays with a sprinkling of euro trash to create a glorious tongue-in-cheek homage to the land that invented pizza. And seriously good pizza it is too: proper crispy bases loaded with quality toppings, such as the Julius Cheeser (gorgonzola, taleggio, mozzarella and goat’s cheese) or Po-pa-polla with sticky chicken, pancetta and barbecue sauce. Elsewhere, the menu runs to loaded antipasti boards, crisp zucchini fritti and creamy arancini balls, followed by gelato and classic tiramisu. To drink there’s Prosecco, Peroni and Aperol Spritzes, plus crowd-pleasing cocktails such as fruity, vodka-laced sharer The Vespa. Bunga Bunga is perfect for big groups, who can carry on the celebrations in Il Club upstairs at weekends, when there’s also a Saturday party brunch with karaoke. Private parties meanwhile can book L’Osservatorio or the top-floor Martini Prosecco Beach Bar, complete with parasols and its own photo-booth.
Bunga Bunga Battersea
A groovy weekend hangout for the style-conscious of Clapham, for whom the all-pumping High Street has palled. Much care has been lavished on Lost Society’s interior, which contains a series of
moderately sized rooms for eating, drinking & partying, each with their own character & wow factor. There’s also a cute garden for smokers. Cocktails are the drink of choice – including a
mean caipirinha – but the collection of beers is almost encyclopaedic & there’s a respectable wine list, too. Come expecting a fun night out, helped by great DJs & a crowd intent on
enjoying themselves. Surprisingly, the food is also worth a look. Diners can tuck into the likes of goats’ cheese ravioli with elderflower velouté, or honey & mustard marinated pork with pea
shoots, without fear of disappointment.
A truly groovy bar, Venn Street Records is aimed at a slightly older crowd than the usual set who cruise the High Street. This is a venue for live-music hipsters who like a decent cocktail and
good chat. It’s designed to look like a vintage record shop, with album covers and posters plastered to the (otherwise bare brick) walls. There’s no food menu, but the management promises that
one is on its way, offering pizzas, salads and the like – which will make this ‘quirky’, ‘original’ and deliberately retro bar complete. Until then, bottled beers, classic cocktails and a
short wine list provide the sustenance, alongside ‘7in-single’ shooters and house concoctions such as Rock and Roll Star. A late-night licence and a gratifyingly long happy hour add to the
Venn Street Records
Powder Keg Diplomacy’s “vintage Victorian splendour” and deliberate styling thankfully avoid silly pastiche, but this “shining neighbourhood gem” also shows some class when it comes to drinks. In the Rifle Club Bar, you can sup heritage cobblers, punches and “creative” cocktails such as Fog City 27 (spiced pear gin, Fernet Branca, cinnamon sugar, lemon juice and pine soda) – along with a commendable range of global beers and wines. Drinkers nibble on ‘tiffin and titbits’ at the bar, while the more formal Observatory Dining Room (a handsome conservatory) offers a “seasonally evolving” menu ranging from rare Richmond venison with beetroot, carrot purée and sprout leaves to Ramsgate gurnard with roasted orange, Sharpham spelt, samphire and shimeji mushrooms, plus puds such as almond sponge with mulled apple and cardamom gel. With “fantastic staff” doing the business, this place is a true local – “no stiff collars, just warm fun”.
Powder Keg Diplomacy