Who wants to be stuck in a basement or a warehouse when it’s sunny outside? Certainly not Londoners judging by the amount of awesome open-air and terrace parties happening. So head to the great urban outdoors and get stuck in.
London's best outdoor venues
Crane your neck above Café Oto and you might spot this charming roof garden venue, which jumps into action every summer. There’s enough greenery and, er, astroturf on this alfresco oasis to make you forget you’re in Dalston, though you'll soon remember once all the parties, gigs, film screenings and other arty goings-on start. It's even utilised by ace Dalston multi-venue festival Land Of Kings, meaning that you can have fun from way up high while watching the hoi polloi down below.
This huge events space, found at the southern tip of Hackney Marshes, is used for all kinds of cool stuff, but by far the most fun are the parties, which spill into the outdoor space. Mini beaches, BBQs and even ice cream vans are installed, which makes their all-day parties – often from house and disco crews Vertical and Solar – even better. There are also weekly Sunday markets, named The Wick, with vintage fashion stalls, live music, DJs, street food, pop-up tiki bars and much more. If it gets too hot and sunny (chuckle), cool down in the hangar-like indoor room.
If London’s clubs had a ‘my terrace is bigger than yours’ slanging match, Studio 338 would probably win. This vast, covered space hosts all-night parties and daytime raves from established promoters like Krankbrother and Cocoon, and it’s heated, should – gasp – the UK summer let us down. It’s a classy set-up and you’ll feel like you’re in Berlin or Ibiza as you groove.
"Jan 18, Marcel Lucont's Cabaret Fantastique – Brixtarnia. With The Two Johns, Rachel Parris, Frank Sanazi, Bec Hill and Marcel Lucont as MC."
This long-standing Brixton venue (formerly called the Brixton Clubhouse and The Lambeth) boasts one of London’s sweetest party terraces, featuring fantastic views across our fair city. It’s a double-tiered affair, and you can expect to hear sublime funk, disco and house at parties helmed by the Slide, Brixton Boogaloo and Up On The Roof crews. As the nights get later and colder, things move inside to the club, though the venue’s ability to enclose the lower terrace means it can hold outdoor parties even in chillier months. Have that, winter.
This Elephant and Castle pop-up proved so appealing last year that it was kept on through winter, and is now gearing up for its second summer run, which will sadly be its last stint. It’s a fantastic space, with plenty of room for dancing or schmoozing, plus bars serving cocktails, and street food on offer, including hip hot dogs from Fleisch Mob. It’s run by some of the Corsica Studios crew, meaning that there are loads of warm-up parties for the club’s top-notch nights like Tief and Trouble Vision.
This ace Bethnal Green venue has two intimate but excellent terrace spaces that get utilised in summer months. Oval Space’s progressive programming features trusted party providers like Half Baked, Secretsundaze and Mister Sunday leading all-day house and funk events, and the wooden decking and overhead lanterns make it a pretty, as well as on-point, place to dance the day away.
This rooftop members' club features three suitably plush, themed gardens spread over 1.5 acres. Handily, the venue also holds events open to non-members, so that anyone can enjoy lush and luxurious partying from up high, at themed events, live gigs and DJ nights that lean towards house, funk and disco. Remember to break out your glad-rags and dress to impress.
A chance to add some swank to your skank. This high-end City hotel has quickly established itself a great place to party, with a plush seventh-floor terrace that screams ‘buy a cocktail, stand on me, and look sexy’. There’ll be weekly Sunday daytime shindigs, featuring DJs spinning laid-back but upbeat tunes and a Michelin-starred chef grilling the fancies BBQ food you ever did see.
Great news for the rooftop area atop multi-platform London Fields arts space Netil House: it’s recently been granted a licence to operate as a full-time bar and venue. There’ll be oodles of summer events, including supper clubs, Skyline Cinema, parties, gigs and even hot tub hire. The starting gun is a four-day mini-festival to launch the fun over the bank holiday weekend, and after that you can expect similarly vibrant nightlife taking place over the whole summer.