Summer wouldn’t be complete without the option to pop up to a rooftop bar for a drink. London has its fair share of luxurious roof terraces and bars, which are perfect for watching the sun set on the capital on a summer’s evening. From high-rises in the City to cosy green spaces in Hackney, we’ve rounded up the best rooftop bars in London for your drinking and viewing pleasure.
Aqua Spirit, Portland Street
What: Aqua Spirit’s open-air chilled-out rooftop bar is a paradise for blue sky drinkers. This fifth floor bar offers sweeping views of Fitzrovia and boasts a menu of gorgeously presented cocktails. Among them, try the Aphrodisiac No.6 which mixes gin, white wine, and Aperol. For those feeling peckish, the bar has a selection of Japanese snacks available, such as edamame or prawn tempura with chili garlic sauce, to nibble on.
Where: Fifth floor, 240 Regent Street, W1B 3BR
What: This tenth-floor space combines city sleekness and 1920s glamour, with glittering chandeliers and royal blue chairs juxtaposed with a large, curved window overlooking a stunning terrace. Aviary’s suited and booted City crowd sips on an eclectic bar menu that serves wines by-the-glass, Champagne and sparkling wine alongside cocktails, including a G&T Old Fashioned. Guests can also chow down on a selection of snacks and larger mains, such as smoked almonds or an order of roast aubergine.
Where: 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
Bird of Smithfield, Clerkenwell
What: Although five floors up, the roof garden at Bird of Smithfield is worth the visit. Designed with faux-grass for the full outdoors effect, this top floor watering hole is dressed up with twinkling lights and breathtaking views of Smithfield Market. The menu boasts a range of refreshing cocktails, such as a Basil Mojito, and sweet and savoury nibbles, including roasted Isle of Orkney Scallop or an English strawberry Eton Mess.
Where: 26 Smithfield Street, EC1A 9LB
Bōkan at Novotel Canary Wharf, Docklands
What: This three-floor, sky-high restaurant and bar is far sexier than its Novotel wrapper suggests. Floor 39 is home to a large alfresco drinking terrace, while below is another bar where you’ll find a lengthy cocktail list. While up there, guests can sip on a choice of wines or a small selection of cocktails, such as a Rinomato Spritz made with homemade citrus cordial, Peroni Ambra and Rinomato aperitivo.
Where: Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall, E14 9TP
Coq d’Argent, City
What: Manicured lawns, topiary, wisteria-clad cloisters and an alfresco bar make this memorable rooftop garden a shoo-in for summer drinking. Cool down with first-rate fizzes, a dozen different gin and tonic options, Italian spritzes or a selection spirits, such as Tequila or mezcal. For those who like to nibble while drinking, Coq d’Argent has a selection of bar snacks, including baked Camembert, escargots or rock oysters.
Where: 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Dalston Roof Park Rooftop Bar, Hackney
What: This idiosyncratic rooftop bar is a green idyll set above the gritty streets of Dalston. Boasting a stripped-back selection of drinks, the menu keeps hipsters happy while lounging around amongst the greenery. Enjoy a small selection of cocktails made with your choice of a house or premium spirit with a mixer, beer or cider.
Where: Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL
Golden Bee, Shoreditch
What: A covered all-year roof terrace, regular alfresco classic film screenings and generous happy hours are among the reasons to make a beeline for this buzzy mid-market hive. Retreat to the bar for a selection of wines, spirits, and refreshing cocktails such as a Lychee Collins made with gin, lychee puree, cranberry juice, and lemonade. For those in the mood for bubbly, order from Golden Bee’s pricey Champagne list, which includes a bottle of Dom Perignon or Louis Roederer Cristal.
Where: Singer Street, EC1V 9DD
OXO Tower Bar, South Bank
What: Boasting a postcard-perfect panorama view of tourist London from an eighth-floor vantage point, the OXO Tower Bar is ideal for catching the sunset on a warm summer’s evening. On its bar menu, you’ll find sips such as an Espresso Martini and a Bacardi Mojito, and a selection of small eats. Guests can tuck into an order of padrόn peppers, fried vegetable dumplings or grilled chorizo with orange blossom honey.
Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Rumpus Room at Mondrian London, South Bank
What: Following a spring 2017 reboot, this twelfth floor sky bar looks right out onto the Thames and offers stunning views of the capital. Filled with bright Mad Men-era furnishings, guests will find a cocktail menu that’s divided into two sections – The Brits and The Americans. Sips such as the Thanks A Tot made with three kinds of rum are available to order, while savoury bar nibbles include sloppy Joe sliders and buttermilk popcorn chicken.
Where: Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
The Rooftop at The Trafalgar Hotel, Whitehall
What: With its picture-postcard views of Trafalgar Square below and the city’s skyline beyond, The Rooftop is The Trafalgar St James Hotel’s crowning glory. Attracting locals and tourists alike, this alfresco drinking den serves a range of cocktails, such as Old Fashioned’s and Negronis, alongside an impressive list of sprits ranging from gin to Japanese whiskies. Pair drinks with a selection of bites, which include pork belly steamed buns, tempura broccoli or lamb cutlets served with plum and sesame glaze.
Where: Trafalgar Hotel, 2 Spring Gardens, SW1A 2TS