Eating outside in London doesn’t have to mean sitting on a tiny strip of pavement. Here’s our pick of the restaurants and bars that have pulled out all the stops to make your outdoor dining experiences as summery as can be.
Tanqueray Lovage Terrace at Aqua Kyoto, Regent Street
What: Aqua Kyoto has launched its terrace in partnership with Tanqueray Lovage – a new limited edition savoury gin. The restaurant’s rooftop has been transformed with hanging foliage, a floral display and a water feature, while guests can sip on Tanqueray Lovage cocktails and a menu of top-notch Japanese fare.
Eat and drink: Seared Chilean seabass with ginger shallot dressing and ohka hijki.
Where: 240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll Street), W1B 3BR
What: Bentley’s first opened in 1916 and has been serving some of the best fish and seafood in London ever since (the white-jacketed staff shuck up to 1,000 oysters a day). Its 60-cover terrace in traffic-free Swallow Street is a year-round attraction thanks to heaters, blankets and parasols, and you can bring your pooch along, too.
Eat and drink: A dozen Carlingford oysters and a bottle of Ruinart Champagne
Where: 11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG
The Bloomsbury Club Bar, Bloomsbury
What: From 22 June, this Bloomsbury bar will launch its Diplomático Palm Terrace, a palm-decked space offering guests a selection of tropical-inspired Diplomático cocktails. Head here on Saturdays for a lively brunch complete with a DJ set, where you can sip on the likes of Reversal of Fortune: Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, dark chocolate liqueur and orange bitters.
Eat and drink: Bar bites include classic Latin arepas
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
The Saxon Sound Terrace at Boisdale, Canary Wharf
What: Boisdale’s Canary Wharf location is launching its Jamaican-themed Saxon Sound terrace ready for a summer heatwave (hopefully!). Every Saturday night, guests can enjoy live sets from the renowned Notting Hill Carnival DJs, while tucking into jerk barbecue dishes and sipping on rum punch and Mai Tai’s. Happy Hour from 5-7pm.
Eat and drink: The salt fish fritters or the jerk pork wrap
Where: Cabot Place West, E14 4QT
Greyhound Café, Fitzrovia
What: This zany London outpost of cult Thai café chain Greyhound features a terrace decked out with swathes of traditional yellow Thai marigolds and serves up a selection of cocktails, many using rum as a base. From the quirky menu, try the likes of ‘salmon in hot pursuit’ or the Instagram-friendly ‘happy toast’ (brioche squirted with sweet sauces).
Eat and drink: We love the pork knuckle, served with a box of sticky rice.
Where: 37 Berners Street, W1T 3NB
J Sheekey Summer Terrace, Covent Garden
What: The Ivy’s fish-focused sibling is a delight at any time of year but its setting on traffic-free St Martin’s Court comes into its own in summer, when the restaurant’s terrace sets up outside. In addition to the main menu, there are five new seaside-inspired dishes, with a new wine list featuring wines from coastal regions to wash it down with, including lots by the glass.
Eat and drink: Ahi tuna poké and a rosé spritzer
Where: 28-32 St Martin's Court, WC2N 4AL
Le Pont de la Tour, Shad Thames
What: Riverside dining doesn’t get any better than this. Even the most cynical of diners can’t help but be impressed by this picture-postcard slice of tourist London, where the Thames laps against the embankment and Tower Bridge (Le Pont de la Tour, geddit?) twinkles behind. Heavyweight French wines are matched to classic French cooking. For something cheaper, try the Amalfi-themed terrace at nearby sibling Cantina del Ponte.
Eat and drink: The famous fruits de mer platter and premier cru Chablis
Where: Butlers Wharf, 36d Shad Thames, SE1 2YE
The Lighterman, King’s Cross
What: This buzzy bar is lucky enough to house a stellar outdoor terrace by its entrance, which is perfect for soaking up the summer sun. Open every night of the week (and for breakfast Thur-Sun), the terrace overlooks Granary Square’s spurting water fountains and doesn’t take bookings, meaning all you have to do is turn up and order a cocktail…or two.
Eat and drink: Traditional fish & chips or a steak from the wood-fired grill
Where: 3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
What: At Manicomio’s Chelsea site, you’ll find a charming terrace out the front, complete with pretty as can be floral installations. The floral theme has also extended to the summer menu, with new additions including courgette flowers stuffed with tiger prawns and jalapeño chillies. You also can’t do much better than SW3 for a spot of people watching.
Eat and drink: The strawberry meringue dessert with vanilla cream, mint and rosewater
Where: 85 Duke of York Square, SW3 4LY
Moët & Chandon summer terrace at Orrery, Marylebone
What: The rooftop terrace at recently refurbished Orrery has been launched in partnership with Neom Organics, with the cocktail menu inspired by the brand’s latest fragrance, Energy Burst. Cocktails make use of the scent’s citrus and rosemary notes and all cocktails come topped with Moët & Chandon Champagne for an extra touch of sparkle.
Eat and drink: Parma ham, Charentais melon and chilled tomato gazpacho
Where: 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
Mondrian London Summer Terrace, Bankside
What: This year’s theme for the Mondrian hotel’s annual terrace extravaganza is the French Riviera, which is a bit of a stretch given that one of London’s most iconic buildings – St Paul’s Cathedral – is pretty much in your eyeline at this spot right on the river. Choose between eating on the restaurant terrace, in a more casual drinking and dining area – or a Grey Goose vodka boat with room for 10 guests.
Eat and drink: Truffle flatbread and a La Poire Espresso Martini
Where: 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
The Ninth, Fitzrovia
What: Michelin-starred The Ninth in Fitzrovia has launched a summer terrace inspired by the Mediterranean. This is a good shout for those looking for a quick pre-theatre drink and snack, with cocktails including the Pesca Royale (Russian Standard vodka, peach liqueur and white peach puree mixed with Angostura bitters).
Eat and drink: Salted beef cheek and pickled radish on sourdough
Where: 22 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NB
Percy & Founders, Fitzrovia
What: This spacious shrub-lined terrace is a tranquil haven in the middle of bustling Fitzrovia. Open all day, guests can enjoy a sip from the dedicated Summer Spritz menu, or tuck into plates from the summer menu. There are no bookings either, so it’s perfect for spontaneous after work drinks or a leisurely weekend brunch.
Eat and drink: Pick from the selection of burgers, including a Wagyu beef option and a courgette and quinoa variety.
Where: 1 Pearson Square, W1W 7EY
Rex Whistler Restaurant, Pimlico
What: The terrace at Tate Britain’s restaurant would have to be pretty special to drag diners away from the Rex Whistler mural inside but not only does it boast a spacious setting in the gallery’s grassy grounds, there’s a Barbara Hepworth sculpture to gawp at, too. Classy modern British cooking is matched to one of the best wine lists in London.
Eat and drink: Roast trout with Jersey royals and a glass of Alsatian Pinot Blanc
Where: Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG
Champagne Laurent-Perrier Terrace at The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant, Knightsbridge
What: To mark the 50th anniversary of Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé, the terrace here will be serving up glasses of it, alongside Champagne cocktails. Black woollen blankets and velvet cushions keep things cosy, while guests that order two glasses of Champagne Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rose will receive a complimentary tray of six canapés.
Eat and drink: Canapés include smoked duck with blackberries and celeriac purée
Where: Ground Floor, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, 2 Cadogan Place, SW1X 9PY
Summer Sessions at ROKA Canary Wharf
What: ROKA Canary Wharf is launching the ROKA Summer Terrace Sessions in partnership with Cîroc Vodka. The terrace will host a rooftop party on the last Friday of each month, with a different theme each time and a roster of international DJs alongside summer cocktails. Tickets are £15 including a vodka cocktail on arrival, book here.
Eat and drink: The Amnesia cocktail: vodka infused with sansho berries, rosemary droplets, tonic water and an orange zest, rosemary and thyme garnish.
Where: 4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW
What: Scott’s is known for its celebrity pulling power, so it’s no surprise that its summer terrace for 2018 has been designed by fashion designer and tabloid mainstay Victoria Beckham. The space is packed with pretty flowers, and guests lounging on the terrace can also enjoy Beckham-inspired cocktails, such as the Tequila-based VB.
Eat and drink: Don’t be silly, Victoria doesn’t eat.
Where: 20 Mount Street, W1K 2HE
Tanqueray Tea Garden at Yauatcha, City
What: Yauatcha in the City has transformed its terrace into a floral Chinese tea garden in partnership with Tanqueray gin. The Instagram-friendly space is adorned with flowers, and guests can sip on a range of Gin and Teas, while snacking on dim sum. The space will also be hosting gin and tea infusion masterclasses throughout the summer.
Eat and drink: The signature venison puffs
Where: Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS