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Rooftop Bars in London 2019 | Taking Cocktails Up A Level
Last Updated 18th June 2019 | Main image: Roof East
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 2019. And so get ready to raise your glass…
…several floors up.
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 teeming masses below you. (Ironically, of course.) READ MORE
Details: 30 Argyll Street, W1B 3BR | Mon-Sat: 12pm-1am, Sun: 12-8pm
12th Knot | Southbank
We’re going to level with you here: 12th Knot has a very small outdoor area – it’s just a few chairs, essentially. But… the drinks are delicious, and the views are of one of the nicest bits of the Thames. So on balance, it’s totally worth it. Plus, they’ve had a whole ultra-slick refurb. READ MORE
Details: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD | Tue-Wed: 5pm-1am, Thurs: 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat: 12pm-2am
Southbank Centre Roof Garden | Southbank
You probably didn’t think there would be a picnicking spot on this list. And that would be entirely reasonable, but totally wrong. Because the Roof Garden has a damn meadow with over 150 species of native wildflowers, plus fruit trees, allotment boxes, a tunnel of scented flowers, a woodland garden, and yes, a picnic lawn. You can bring your own picnic, or just get one from the on-site cafe. VIEW MORE INFO
Details: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Open daily, noon-10pm
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, The Tate Modern, Somerset House, The London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament, at the same time. READ MORE
Details: ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA | Mon-Wed: 7am-1am, Thurs-Sat 7am-2am, Sun 7am-midnight
John Lewis Roof Fest | Oxford Circus
John Lewis on Oxford Street have reopened their rooftop bar for summer 2019, this year with a festival theme. There’s a vintage caravan converted into a live music stage; cocktails; street food courtesy of My Million Pound Menu winners Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen (the artists formerly known as BBQ Dreamz) and cosy flower-filled huts and rattan ‘wigwams’ for hire.
Details: 5th Floor, John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX | Open daily 12-10pm (9pm Sun)
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 new retractable canopies that have been stitched onto the terrace… READ MORE
Details: 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, SW1A 2TS | Open daily midday-midnight
ROOFTOP BARS IN THE CITY & EAST LONDON
Skylight | Wapping
Skylight is a strong contender for one of the most activity-laden rooftop bars in London, combining an upcycled bar area alongside croquet and pétanque lawns, big screens for sports, DJs, sunshine and street food. They even have a weekend brunch now, too. READ MORE
Details: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street car park entrance, E1W 2SF | Open Thurs-Sun
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. READ MORE
Details: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY | Sun-Tues: 11.30am-1.30am, Wed-Sat: 11.30am-2am
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 a the first floor), but it makes up for it with plush comfort and a laid back, beach bar vibe. READ MORE
Details: Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA | Daily 9am-10pm (8pm Sundays)
Martello Hall | London Fields
London Fields’ favourite co-working space/pizzeria/craft beer den/gin distillery/brunch spot has added another string to its bow, in the form of a small but cosy privately hireable rooftop terrace… READ MORE
Details: 137 Mare Street, E8 3RH | Available daily till midnight (Sun-Weds), 2am (Thurs) or 3am (Fri/Sat)
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. READ MORE
Details: Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, 335-337 Old Street, EC1V 9LL | Open weekdays 3pm-11pm, weekends 12-11pm
Madison | Bank
A cocktail & tapas-focussed rooftop bar directly overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral – which is nice. READ MORE
Details: Rooftop Terrace, One New Change, EC4M 9AF | Daily 11am – late (Fri-Sat 11am-1am, Sun noon-11pm)
Queen of Hoxton | Shoreditch
This is probably one of the hardest-working rooftop bars in London. In winter it’s covered in a giant wigwam; in summer it hosts popup cinemas, bars, events, BBQs, DJs, and you. And this sunny season it’s home to a Mexican-themed pop up… READ MORE
Details: 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX | Open weekdays 4-10pm, weekends 1-10pm
Golden Bee | Shoreditch
They’ve got sofas, fire pits, and DJs to see you into the early hours. And they’ve recently had a very nice refurb… READ MORE
Details: Singer Street, EC1V 9DD| Tue & Wed: 5pm-12am, Thurs: 5pm-2am & Fri-Sat: 5pm-3am (£7 entry after 9pm/£10 after 11pm)
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. They serve draught beer from Trumans, and spirits from East London Liquor Company. READ MORE
Details: 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL | Mon-Tue: closed, Wed-Thurs: 12-11.30pm, Fri-Sat: 12pm-12.30am & Sun: 12-11.30pm
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. READ MORE
Details: 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD | Daily 11.30am-11pm
Angler Rooftop Restaurant and Terrace | Moorgate
Sitting on top of The South Place Hotel, Angler is one of the sleeker rooftop bars in London. The fact that the restaurant it’s attached to has a Michelin star is just window dressing, really. READ MORE
Details: 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF | Mon-Fri: 12pm-11pm, Sat: 5-11pm & Sun: Closed.
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. READ MORE
Details: 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ | Open daily 5-11pm
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. READ MORE
Details: Brunel Museum Rooftop, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | Open Fridays & Saturdays until end of Sept | Book ahead, £5
Culpeper Roof Garden | Spitalfields
Credit: Veerle Evens
The Culpeper’s rooftop – currently going by the adorable moniker of PICULPEPER – has its own bar serving signature cocktails, a garden supplying herbal tinctures for said cocktails, a grill restaurant, firepits, urban gardening masterclasses, a view of the City’s towering skyline, AND a bonus game of spot difference between the actual Gherkin, and their giant gherkin. READ MORE
Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP | Open Weds-Fri 5-10.30pm, Sat 11am-10.30pm, Sun 11am-9pm
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 Club Nights’ was deemed a touch too long. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL | Open weekdays from 5pm, weekends from 3pm
Bird of Smithfield | Smithfield
What do you get if you cross a former The Ivy chef with a ground floor lounge, a tweed-dressed restaurant, a private dining room, a late-night subterranean cocktail den and a sun-drenched roof terrace overlooking Smithfield Market? Answer: this place. READ MORE
Details: 26 Smithfield Street, EC1A 9LB| Open Mon-Sat, 12-10pm
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 | Open daily 12-9pm
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. READ MORE
Details: 9 Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AH| Open Mon-Wed 5pm-1am, Thurs-Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12am
Roof East | Stratford
Roof East are really upping their games. Because the car-park rooftop bar is back for another year, and thanks to the expert curation of the Social Fun & Games Club, it’s hosting baseball batting cages, virtual reality foosball, crazy golf, a trio of street food stands, three bars, the Rooftop Film Club, and genuinely even more… READ MORE
Details: Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE | Open Tues-Fri 5-11pm, weekends 12-11pm
Wondering what to order?
Ask for an Americano, a stylish aperitivo with Campari, vermouth and soda.
Or even better, learn to make one HERE.
ROOFTOP BARS IN NORTH LONDON
Abbey Tavern | Kentish Town
Aside from a pretty stellar live music program, regular games of Cards Against Humanity, burgers from Nanny Bill’s, and a truly excellent lineup of craft beers… they also have a roof terrace. It’s the very nearly literal cherry on top. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 124 Kentish Town Road, NW1 9QB | Sun-Thurs: 12pm-12am & Fri-Sat: 12pm-1am.
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 wood decking, sofas, DJs, and a dedicated BBQ chef for the summer months. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 2-4 Wharfdale Road, N1 9RY | Mon-Fri: 5pm-12am, Sat: 6pm-12am & Sun: Closed.
Vivo | Islington
Vivo takes its Italian-ness to 11, with Neapolitan pizza, prosecco cocktails, and, er… jugs of sangria. And a Terry’s chocolate orange iced coffee. All of which can be enjoyed on a pretty damn good-looking rooftop terrace… VIEW DETAILS
Details: 57-58 Upper Street, N1 0NY | Open Mon-Sat: 9am-late & Sun: 10am-7pm.
FEST | Camden
Back for a second summer, Camden Market’s rooftop bar continues to keep things simple, with a pop up cinema; festival-themed deck chairs and astroturf; a Mediterranean BBQ; pizza; vegan ice cream; espresso martinis on tap; prosecco popsicles with popping candy; live music and guest DJs. READ MORE
Details: The Horse Hospital Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH | Open Sun & Mon 12pm-12am, Tues & Weds 12pm-1am, Thurs-Sat 12pm-2.30am
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. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 19 Perth Road, N4 3HB | Open Mon-Thur: 12pm-11.30pm, Fri-Sat: 12pm-12.30am & Sun: 12pm-11pm.
The Lock Tavern | Camden
Filled with achingly cool people listening to achingly cool music, thankfully the Lock provides a rooftop where you can soothe those aches. Via booze. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 35 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ | Open Sun-Wed 12-11pm, Thurs 12pm-12am, Fri & Sat 12pm-1am
ROOFTOP BARS IN WEST LONDON
Pergola Paddington Central | Paddington
Back for a second year, PPC is commandeering 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’re serving up some mean cocktails, while food comes courtesy of Babek Brothers, Honi Poké, An Choi and a new stand from the Patty & Bun team – which, for the first time ever, you can order with bottomless brunch on Sundays. READ MORE
Details: 5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY | Open Weds 12-3.30pm & 6-11pm, Thurs-Sat 12-11pm, Sat 12-10.30pm
Pergola Olympia | Kensington Olympia
Its sibling, meanwhile, is taking over the rooftop of the sprawling Olympia Exhibition Centre, offering unparalleled views over West London through huge, plant-framed windows; street food from CLAW and Patty & Bun; botanical drinks and gingerbread martinis. READ MORE
Details: Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way, W14 8UX | Open Wed-Fri 4-11pm, Sat 12-11.30pm and Sun 12-10pm
The Lyric | Hammersmith
Perched on top of the Lyric theatre, the roof terrace threatens to steal the show with verdant palms, booze, and a healthy dose of sun. VIEW DETAILS
Details: Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, W6 0QL | Open Mon-Sat noon-11pm, closed Sundays
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, of course) serves some of the best frozé in London. They make theirs with vodka, rosé, strawberry purée, grapefruit, and agave nectar… VIEW DETAILS
Details: Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL | Open daily, 5pm-midnight (from 3pm Fri & Sat)
Bussey Rooftop Bar | Peckham
The Bussey Building’s rooftop bar has everything a good rooftop bar should have: cocktails, street food (from Rockadollar), and several floors beneath it. READ MORE
Details: Copeland Park and Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 4SL | Open Tues-Fri 5-11pm, Sat 12-11pm, Sun 5-11pm
The Prince of Wales | Brixton
It may now be Brixton’s only roof terrace, but the Prince of Wales has many other charms besides pure necessity – like themed parties, two heated levels, a rum shack cocktail bar and an entirely blue, neon-filled cocktail bar downstairs. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 467-469 Brixton Road, SW9 8HH | See events HERE
The Exhibit | Balham
The Exhibit has pretty much everything – bar, restaurant, cinema, dance floor, gallery, and yes, a balcony. It’s small, but does the job. And if it gets too busy, you can head down here to their al fresco garden instead. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 12 Balham Station Road, SW12 9SG | Mon-Tues: 3pm-11pm, Wed-Thurs: 3pm-12am, Fri: 3pm-2am, Sat: 11am-2am, Sun: 11am-10:30pm
Frank’s Cafe & Campari Bar | Peckham
The original and the best rooftop-bar-on-top-of-a-Peckham-car-park-specialising-in-classic-Italian-aperitivo-drinks, where you can take in the setting sun over the London skyline with a negroni in hand. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 10th Floor, Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Open Tues-Weds 5-11pm; Thurs-Fri 2-11pm; Sat-Sun 11am-11pm
Like sipping negronis on the roof at Frank's?
Well, the good news is that there’s plenty more where they came from. Made with gin, vermouth, and the iconic Italian liqueur, Campari, it’s the second most ordered cocktail in the world. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to pick out the best negroni bars in London…