If there’s one thing that’s better when done on a rooftop, it’s literally everything.
And that includes drinking.
Which is why we’ve nobly taken it upon ourselves to put together a comprehensive guide to the very best rooftop bars in London for 2022. And so get ready to raise your glass…
…several floors up.
BEST ROOFTOP BARS IN CENTRAL LONDON
Aqua Spirit | Soho
Like a tranquil island of booze-laced bliss in the chaos of Central London, Aqua sits high above Oxford Street ready for you to kick back, order a cocktail, and laugh haughtily at the lowly ground dwellers below you. (Ironically, of course.)
Details: 30 Argyll Street, W1B 3BR | Walk-in only
Radio Rooftop Bar | Aldwych
The cocktails lean towards the expensive side… but what you’re really paying for here is the view: you can see Tower Bridge, The Shard, St. Paul’s, Tate Modern, Somerset House, The London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament at the same time.
Details: ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA | Book here
Seabird | Blackfriars
This stunning seafood restaurant is a collaboration with Brooklyn’s Maison Première. And if those New Yorkers know how to do anything, it’s swanky cocktail bars surrounded by skyscrapers. Also pizza and bagels, but you can’t get those here.
Details: Top floor of The Hoxton, 40 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8PB | Walk-ins only for drinks
The Rooftop | Trafalgar Square
Now not only can you have a cocktail whilst practically locking eyes with Lord Nelson, you can do it all year round, thanks to the retractable canopies that have been stitched onto this terrace…
Details: 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, SW1A 2TS | Book here | Please note there is a min. spend of £35pp Mon-Thurs, and £50pp Fri-Sun
12th Knot | Southbank
We’re going to level with you here: 12th Knot has a very small outdoor area – it’s just a balcony, essentially. But… the drinks are delicious, and the views take in one of the nicest bits of the Thames. So on balance, it’s totally worth it.
Details: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD | Book here
ROOFTOP BARS IN THE CITY & EAST LONDON
The Rooftop Bar at 100 Shoreditch | Shoreditch
This pink-hued drinkery is set along a long stretch across the front of 100 Shoreditch, with a slanted roof sitting above a tile floor. The place is covered in green desert plants housed in rough terracotta pots, and if you step outside onto the terrace, you’ll see a beautiful panoramic view looking out over the city across to the west…
Details: 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ | No bookings
Laurel’s on the Roof | Shoreditch
Laurel’s on the Roof is inspired by the vibe of “Hollywood in the ’70s”. So it’s appropriate that it’s extremely high. You’ll find it on the sixth floor of the new Mondrian Hotel in Shoreditch, and the space it’s taking up is a hell of a looker. Our recommendation? Go for the view, stay for the cocktails, and grab a bite to eat at Manteca, which is literally a few yards away from the hotel…
Details: 45 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3PT | Book here
Skylight | Wapping
Skylight is a strong contender for one of the most activity-laden rooftop bars in London, combining an up-cycled bar area with croquet and pétanque lawns, ping pong tables, shuffleboard lanes, big screens for sports, DJs, street food… and, just occasionally, sunshine.
Details: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street car park entrance, E1W 2SF | Book here
Queen of Hoxton | Shoreditch
For their new season, the Queen has dressed her top deck in a pink-hued cherry blossom outfit, just in time for the warmer weather. The space has been absolutely loaded with cherry blossom branches weighted down with rose-coloured petals, walls decorated in Japanese-style illustrations, trees with hanging lanterns, and a vividly bright pergola in the middle of it all. And there are champagne slushies…
Details: 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX | No booking – the rooftop is first-come, first-served
Netil 360 | London Fields
It’s part workspace, part gallery, part café… but despite all their adorable attempts to get your attention, all you really care about here is the bar, and the fact that it’s on the roof, and the fact that they now have a rooftop sauna. Yes, you read that correctly.
Details: 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL | No bookings (except for the sauna)
Boundary | Shoreditch
Shoreditch has seen it all: nuns, factory owners, criminals, and prostitutes. Now it boasts a firepit-laden roof terrace with 360-degree views across the chimneys of the East End. And hipsters.
Details: 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD
SUSHISAMBA | Liverpool Street
Perched atop the Heron Tower, Sushisamba combines Japanese cocktails with incredible city views and 2am opening hours. And a bright orange, life-size, tree.
Details: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Chiringuito | Bethnal Green
This rooftop bar sits neatly on top of a former public loo in Bethnal Green’s Museum Gardens – it’s not the most staggering view (given that it’s on the first floor), but it makes up for it with plush comfort and a laid back, beach bar vibe.
Details: Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA
Madison | Bank
A rooftop bar directly overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral – where you’ll also be treated to DJ sets, seafood platters and Fever Tree cocktails.
Details: Rooftop Terrace, One New Change, EC4M 9AF
Good Hotel London | Docklands
There are lots of good things about this hotel – their commitment to boosting employment and training opportunities for locals, for example, or partnering with community charities. Their rooftop bar, however – set on top of the floating hotel and overlooking the Millennium Dome and cable cars – is pretty good, too.
Details: Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1FA
Jin Bo Law | Aldgate
They say no-one’s above the Jin Bo Law…
…probably because it’s on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate. And while the inside view’s pretty great (the bar is in the shape of an illuminated pineapple), the outside view drops you right in the middle of the City’s eclectic skyline. Oh, and they have a contortionist.
Details: 9 Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AH
Coq d’Argent | Bank
Sitting atop the incomparably postmodern monolith that is No.1 Poultry, Coq d’Argent resides upon ancient ruins which date back to 47AD. In case you want to get a little Roman.
Details: 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Culpeper Roof Garden | Spitalfields
The Culpeper’s rooftop has its own bar serving signature cocktails, a garden supplying herbal tinctures for said cocktails, a grill restaurant, firepits, urban gardening masterclasses, and a view of the City’s towering skyline.
Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP | Bookings for meals, all drinks on a walk-in basis
Midnight Apothecary at Brunel Museum | Rotherhithe
The term “rooftop campfire botanical cocktail bar with marshmallows” gets thrown around a lot these days. Oh, wait, we’re thinking of the other one. It gets thrown around almost never. But in the case of Midnight Apothecary, it’s justified.
Details: Brunel Museum Rooftop, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | Open Friday-Sunday | Book ahead, from £5
Dalston Roof Park | Dalston
Dalston Roof Park is almost entirely self-explanatory. But presumably, ‘Dalston Roof Park With Two Bars, Astroturf, Bar Food, A Retractable Awning And Regular Film Nights’ was deemed a touch too long.
Details: 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL | No bookings
Upper 5th Shoreditch | Shoreditch
Going by the stage name “Upper 5th Shoreditch”, this rooftop bar is one of those places where you can sip on expertly-mixed signature cocktails (including originals like the Red King, with local Hoxton gin, Campari, port and raspberry) and listen to DJ sets while nibbling on bar snacks and soaking up not only the sun’s rays, but also an unlimited quantity of photo opps in front of a beautiful panoramic view across London.
Details: Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, 335-337 Old Street, EC1V 9LL
Roof East | Stratford
Roof East are really upping their games – the Stratford rooftop is home to batting cages, crazy golf, archery and car-aoke, plus an array of bars and food stands…
Details: Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE
ROOFTOP BARS IN NORTH LONDON
Abbey Tavern | Kentish Town
Aside from a pretty stellar live music program, burgers and mezze from Aviv’s Kitchen, and a truly excellent lineup of craft beers… the Abbey Tavern also have a roof terrace. It’s the very nearly literal cherry on top.
Details: 124 Kentish Town Road, NW1 9QB
The Driver | King’s Cross
The people behind The Driver are so dedicated to the idea of rooftop bars that they decided to grow the 200 plants they use in the UK’s first vertical garden, just so that they didn’t have to use the space on the 4th floor rooftop for it. Instead, it has sofas, DJs, and a dedicated BBQ chef for the summer months.
Details: 2-4 Wharfdale Road, N1 9RY
Faltering Fullback | Finsbury Park
One of the quirkier, more unusual pubs in London, the FF is virtually hidden within its own foliage. Soak up the atmosphere inside, then soak up the sun outside.
Details: 19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
ROOFTOP BARS IN WEST LONDON
Aerial at The Broadcaster | White City
Aerial is the shiny new crown sitting on top of The Broadcaster, a pub & restaurant from the people behind The Lighterman, which sits in the White City space whose hallowed halls once bustled with the legends behind virtually every hit the BBC had over the last half century. Head on up to the venue’s open-air rooftop, and you’ll find a large, wood-filled space running the length of the roof itself lined by tables & olive trees, and covered with an extremely useful retractable roof. It all looks down over the iconic courtyard below, and you can see the BBC’s familiar white-dotted Television Centre logo right there at eye-level…
Details: The Broadcaster, 89 Wood Lane, W12 7FX
Roof Garden at Pantechnicon | Knightsbridge
One of our favourite rooftop spots in West London, partly because you’d never expect it to be there. It’s perched on top of Pantechnicon, a five-storey hub of all things Japanese and Nordic, filled with shops, cafés, bars and restaurants – the loveliest of which is right at the top. Despite being a little off the beaten track, it’s always buzzy with drinkers and diners, and what it lacks in views (being only a few storeys off the ground), it more than makes up for with excellent cocktails, music and – just occasionally – glorious sunshine.
Details: 19 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8LB
Pergola Paddington | Paddington
Pergola Paddington has commandeered a sprawling, canal-side, 850-capacity space for its aerial shenanigans, with festoon lighting, DJs, bookable day beds, and miniature jungles proliferating over the pergolas overhead. As ever, they serve up some mean cocktails, while food comes courtesy of Babek Brothers, Salt Shed, Thunderbird and Temaki Bros.
Details: 5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY
Skylark | Paddington
With its frozen cocktails, fresh pizzas and jaunty striped parasols, Skylark would feel a million miles from London – were it not for the views of the city all around you.
Details: 10th Floor, 4 Kingdom Street, London, W2 6BD
The Lyric | Hammersmith
Perched on top of the Lyric Hammersmith, the theatre’s roof terrace threatens to steal the show with verdant palms, booze, and a healthy dose of sun.
Details: Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, W6 0QL
ROOFTOP BARS IN SOUTH LONDON
Bar Elba | Waterloo
Setting itself apart from other rooftop bars, Elba (named after the island that Napoleon was exiled to, naturally) combines bottomless sunset booze sessions, outdoor film nights and burgers, with sweeping views of the skyline.
Details: Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL
Skylight Peckham | Peckham
Skylight took everything that was great about their Wapping rooftop bar, gave it a little spit and polish, and set it down on top of a rooftop in Peckham. Their sophomore spot is a little smoother round the edges than the original, with plenty of seating and some truly spectacular views. In summer, they fire up the BBQ, and there’s regular DJ and live music nights, meaning you can get down, very high up, until 1am.
Details: 120 Peckham Hill Street, SE15 5JT
Bussey Rooftop Bar | Peckham
The Bussey Building’s rooftop bar has everything a good rooftop bar should have: cocktails, street food (from Share A Slice), and several floors beneath it.
Details: Copeland Park and Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 4SL
Forza Wine | Peckham
While sister restaurant Forza Win finds a new home, this is the only place you can sample the team’s glorious Italian cooking, cocktails and wine. And the panoramic views are alright, too.
Details: Floor 5, 133a Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4BQ
The Corin | Tooting
Sitting three floors above the busy Tooting Broadway intersection, The Corin not only boasts a pretty spacious and well-dressed roof terrace, but also frequently fills that terrace with live musicians. Add to that some interesting cocktails, pan-Asian dishes, and plenty of quirky touches, and this bar wouldn’t look out of place in Soho. READ MORE
Details: 54A Tooting High Street, SW17 0RN
Frank’s Cafe & Campari Bar | Peckham
97% of the people who visit multi-storey car parks after dark do so with the primary intention of scoring a “non-pool related” eight-ball. The other 3% are there for Frank’s Campari Bar: the original and best rooftop-bar-on-top-of-a-Peckham-car-park-specialising-in-classic-Italian-aperitivi, where you can take in the setting sun over the London skyline with a negroni in hand.
Details: 10th Floor, Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Check out our massive article filled with all of our favourite outdoor restaurants in London