London's best rooftop bars

The sky-high bars and outdoor terraces that need to be on your radar

Updated on 20 May 2019

London's best rooftop bars

As much as we love London's signature dingy pubs, there are occasions when neither that nor a standard cocktail bar will cut it.

For a classy night out or post-work drinks, get yourself to one of London's best rooftop bars. Here, you'll find a front-row seat to one of the most outstanding skylines on the planet (even if we do say so ourselves). So scroll down to find SquareMeal’s list of the best rooftop bars in London in which to enjoy a beverage (or two). This list keeps you in the know, containing the best high-rise London rooftop bars.


The Terrace Bar at Madison

The Terrace Bar at Madison

1. The Terrace Bar at Madison
Bars

One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF

Beloved by the capital’s pretty young things, The Terrace Bar at Madison is one of the most Instagrammed locations in the capital. It’s no surprise, considering the views of St Paul’s Cathedral and other landmarks. The terrace is also home to a raucous party atmosphere, thanks to live DJ sets and fun cocktails. If you’re feeling peckish, order from the menu of bar snacks, which features truffle fries, flatbread from a Josper grill topped with grilled halloumi and a black pudding Scotch egg served with tartare sauce.

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Sushisamba (bar)

Sushisamba (bar)

2. Sushisamba (bar)
Bars

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate (38th floor), London, EC2N 4AY

Home to the glowing orange tree which you’ve seen on your Instagram feed countless times, the outdoor bar at Sushisamba’s original City location has an undeniable buzz. Filled with City types splashing the cash, and unbeatable views of the capital’s skyline, this is the place to come for cocktails with a view. Sip on a selection of Brazilian-Japanese fusion cocktails, before heading inside to enjoy a decadent menu featuring the likes of green bean tempura with black truffle aioli or sushi rolls topped with lobster and crab.

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Golden Bee

Golden Bee

3. Golden Bee
Bars

Singer Street, London, EC1V 9DD

Booking a table is a pre-requisite for experiencing Golden Bee’s swish rooftop terrace, which should give you an idea of the VIP feeling a place like this evokes. A buzzy spot (pardon the pun), Golden Bee pulls in the crowd with its palm trees that are festooned with twinkling lights and the promise of sushi sharing platters for the table. The terrace closes at midnight, but guests who aren’t ready for the party to end can head downstairs to the Main Bar, where music and dancing rumbles on to the wee hours.

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The Rooftop at The Trafalgar Hotel

The Rooftop at The Trafalgar Hotel

4. The Rooftop at The Trafalgar Hotel
Bars

Trafalgar Hotel, 2 Spring Gardens, London, SW1A 2TS

If this hotel’s name isn’t enough of a hint, the rooftop bar here boasts picture-perfect views of bustling Trafalgar Square. Visitors are given a choice between either al fresco or canopy-covered seating, with the terrace featuring cosy banquette seating and a marble-streaked bar. Head here for classic cocktails and by-the-glass wines, as well as a menu of Asian-style bar bites: crispy duck bao buns, fries with sriracha mayonnaise and chargrilled broccoli with soy and sesame.  

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Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill

Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill

5. Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill
£30 - £49
Modern European
Bars

2-4 Boundary Street, London, E2 7DD

Open all-year round, the rooftop space at Boundary consists of a glass-walled orangery and an outdoor terrace, as well as a bar and grill restaurant. Boasting views of East London, Boundary’s menu changes with the seasons, meaning grilled meats and fish and vibrant salads in the summer, and Alpine-themed fare come the winter – think fondue and warm cocktails. Twinkling lights and house plants lined along the terrace borders add a romantic touch, making Boundary a good spot for date night.

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Sky Pod at Sky Garden

Sky Pod at Sky Garden

6. Sky Pod at Sky Garden
Bars

Level 35, 20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BY

Sky Garden may be known for its lush greenery (the perfect backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot), but its sprawling views of the capital are also worth a mention. The bar, which isn’t separated from the rest of the space, allows guests to stand around admiring the views or pull up a chair to rest their legs. All the usual drinks can be found here (including a selection of signature cocktails), while the food menu features sharing platters of charcuterie, seafood or dessert.

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Iris at The Gherkin

Iris at The Gherkin

7. Iris at The Gherkin
Bars

30 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8EP

The only indoor rooftop bar in the capital to boast unobstructed 350-degree views, Iris at The Gherkin is a bar that should be on every discerning Londoner’s ‘to visit’ list. Due to the building’s high security, tables have to be booked in advance and you also have to bring valid ID. You’ll soon forget about all that faff though, thanks to those stunning views across the capital, as well as an impressive cocktail list which features the likes of Flower Pot, which mixes Yuzu, rose liquor, watermelon, Peychoud bitter and elderflower.

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Aqua Nueva

Aqua Nueva

8. Aqua Nueva
£50 - £79
Tapas
Spanish

Fifth Floor, 240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll Street), London, W1B 3BR

Part of the Aqua restaurant group (Aqua Shard, Aqua Kyoto etc.), this upmarket Spanish joint boasts a stunning rooftop terrace. Perfect for bigger groups, the outdoor terrace features long L-shaped couches laden with cushions, and tables equipped with high wicker stools to rest your drinks on. Views of the London Eye and other landmarks are a further draw, as is the menu of Spanish dishes – including the likes of Iberian ham croquettes, spiced crab tostadas and classic seafood paella.

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Radio Rooftop

Radio Rooftop

9. Radio Rooftop
Mediterranean
Bars

ME London Hotel, 336-337 The Strand, London, WC2R 1HA

A place to see and be seen, this glamorous bar on the roof of the ME London hotel boasts views across the capital and a chic black and white colour scheme, offset by wicker chairs and lush greenery trailing the terrace borders. You can splash the cash by ordering from the comprehensive Champagne list, or keep things fresh by sampling a few of the drinks from Radio Rooftop’s considered selection of signature cocktails. If you’re feeling peckish, you can chow down on an internationally-inspired menu – think cheese croquettes with smoked cheddar aioli, beef sliders and cinnamon-dusted churros for dessert.

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OXO Tower Bar

OXO Tower Bar

10. OXO Tower Bar
Bars

Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, London, SE1 9PH

Tables on the terrace at Oxo Tower’s bar can be hard to come by in the summer months, but you’ll be glad to know that they can be booked in advance. Once you’ve secured a spot at this eighth-floor bar, you can admire the Insta-worthy panoramic views of London’s skyline, including St Paul’s. The extensive list of cocktails and wines appeals, but our favourite part of the experience is the accomplished bar snacks – think chorizo sausage rolls, a battered fish sandwich with tartare sauce or a Wagyu beef burger with sweet potato chips.

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12th Knot at Sea Containers London (formerly Rumpus Room)

12th Knot at Sea Containers London (formerly Rumpus Room)

11. 12th Knot at Sea Containers London (formerly Rumpus Room)
£30 - £49
Modern European
British
Bars

20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD

Formerly known as Rumpus Room, imbibers at this colourful rooftop bar can enjoy stunning views across the South Bank, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Cocktails here are serious business and they change with the seasons, drunk to a backdrop of live music on Wednesdays and DJs for the latter half of the week. Impossibly glamorous - note the glittering chandeliers and velvet furnishings – 12th Knot is full of flare and is always packed to the rafters with London’s cool set. It should be on every Londoner’s rooftop bar bucket list.

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Aviary

Aviary

12. Aviary
£30 - £49
British
Bars

22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX

Finding its nest on the rooftop of the Royal London House Hotel, tenth-floor Aviary is a chic and sleek rooftop bar, boasting an outdoor terrace that attracts the suited-and-booted folk of the City. The terrace is dotted with tables for two flanked by cosy white chairs, and boasts an impressive view which overlooks the likes of The Gherkin, the ‘walkie-talkie’ and The Shard. All your favourite drinks are taken care of with cocktails, wines and Champagnes all featuring, but note that Aviary is now totally cash-free.

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The Queen of Hoxton

The Queen of Hoxton

13. The Queen of Hoxton
Bars

1-5 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX

This three floor party palace features a basement nightclub, a buzzy ground-floor bar and this expansive roof terrace which has a Las Mexicanas theme. The vibrant design outside throws it back to childhood with an Art Attack-style rainbow colour scheme, along with coloured bunting and communal wooden tables. Sink down frozen Margaritas while tucking into the snacky likes of soft tacos and loaded fries, all the while enjoying the regular live entertainment, which takes the form of mariachi bands, dancers and more.

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Bo¯kan at Novotel Canary Wharf

Bo¯kan at Novotel Canary Wharf

14. Bo¯kan at Novotel Canary Wharf
£50 - £79
Bars
International

Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall , London, E14 9TP

Thirty nine floors high, the wrap-around terrace at this sky-high restaurant and bar is worth the trek to Canary Wharf. You can expect plenty of buzz when you visit, thanks to bookable daybeds and a specialist gin bar, while Sundays see entertainment in the form of live jazz. The cocktail list pays homage to the area’s history with short explanations of the cocktail names written on the menu. Sips to try include Chaos on the River, which is a blend of Campari, Orgeat and lemon.

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Coq d

Coq d'Argent (bar)

15. Coq d'Argent (bar)
Bars

1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ

Still the cock of the walk after all these years, Coq D’Argent’s three-pronged restaurant, bar and roof terrace space remains one of the most popular dining destinations for City workers. To drink in the views (while drinking a glass of champers), head to the grass-covered terrace, which comes complete with neatly trimmed hedges and its own fashion boutique-style soundtrack. To really get a feel for the atmosphere, we’d recommend swinging by at night, when the capital’s skyscrapers twinkle before your eyes.

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London's selection of top-tier rooftop bars is hard to match, so make it your aim to visit these high-rise spots – think of it as your London bucket list. Once you’ve ticked every one of London’s best rooftop bars off your list, you can start work on conquering the best al fresco dining spaces in the capital.