Since first opening in 2013, Radio Rooftop Bar high above the Strand has secured its status as one of central London’s prime rooftop drinking destinations. But it’s also drawn its fair share of negative attention from customers stuck in queues or turned away at the door, by staff described in very unflattering terms across social media.
Timing is key. On a Monday evening, we were up on the terrace faster than a raincloud could appear. Service once we found a seat wasn’t quite so pacey, but that only buys you more time to absorb those extraordinary 360-degree views of every star of the London skyline.
The terrace is much like a slick Ibiza sun lounge – although you probably won’t find such plush blankets and patio heaters in the Balearic Islands. There’s a soundtrack to match, with background house beats a hit with the inevitable flashy Essex boys in town for a knees-up. (It’s worth noting that same-sex groups of more than five are barred.) It can be a strange mix of people here, spanning the aforementioned lad crew, older American tourists, fashionistas in floppy hats and work colleagues on awkward outings all rubbing shoulders.
Expect the usual rooftop prices, but if you’re just stopping in for a one-off drink with a view, wine (fizzy and still) is served by the glass. For summer sipping, G&T comes in fifteen forms, with different brands of gin, flavoured tonics and fruit infusions in the mix. With each costing £14, you’re paying for the altitude.