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Number 90 bar
Photograph: Number 90

London’s best outdoor bars and drinking terraces

Catch some rays while you do your boozing at these delightful outdoor bars and terraces in London

By Laura Richards
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Sometimes, tinnies in the park, a rowdy beer garden or one of London’s perenially over-subscribed rooftop bars just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to spring and summer drinking. For a more classy way to socialise when the sun comes out (and when we can finally come out too), what you want is a table on one of London’s drinking terraces or chic bars. Finding sunshiney spots in London can be a bit of a challenge, so read on to discover some great locations for alfresco drinking done the right way.

RECOMMENDED: Outdoor London.

The best drinking terraces in London

1. Copeland Social

Bars and pubs Café bars Peckham

Reopening April 12

This youthful drinking spot (they said, sounding like someone’s granny) with a banging soundsystem is right at the foot of Peckham’s Bussey Building. Knock back a hefty rum beside dumpsters filled with tall sunflowers – it’s the ultimate summer Peckham aesthetic.

Distillery Bankside
Distillery Bankside
Distillery Bankside

2. The Distillery Bankside

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Southwark

Reopening April 12

This classy-looking cocktail bar at the Hilton London Bankside hotel plays on the building’s past as an essence factory making flavourings for use in all manner of food manufacturing. Table waters, confectionery, jellies, syrups, that kind of thing. 

That means plenty of own-made aromatics, infusions and bitters here, used on a cocktail list that goes big on gin – expect a wide range from a number of top British producers. Craft beer is a strong point, too. Sharing platters and bar snacks, prepared in the Oxbo Bankside restaurant next door, also feature.

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3. Night Tales

Nightlife Nightlife venues Hackney

Reopening April 15

The club and all-day rave-cave hangout space under the party-ready railway arches of Hackney’s aptly named Bohemia Place is back for spring. Its terrace is back first with the lounge following on May 17. Neon lights, palm trees, day beds and a roster of hip DJs make a summer day spent here like going on a clubbing holiday.

4. No 32 The Old Town

Bars and pubs Clapham

Reopening April 12

The chic first-floor outdoor terrace of this modern bar overlooking Clapham Common is a smug place to sit – watch the sunburnt groups emerge as the sun goes down. 

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5. Number 90

Restaurants Eclectic Hackney Wick

Reopening April 12

A Hackney Wick bar and kitchen, Number 90 boasts a great canalside location. Expect DJ line-ups, a tempting burger menu and craft beer from east London’s finest. 

6. Pergola Paddington Central

Restaurants Pop up restaurant Paddington

Reopening April 12

A mahoosive (as they used to say for about two minutes) flower-filled, two-floor fun palace. The top deck is fully exposed and sunshine also pours through to part of the downstairs floor. Book ahead with a group. Pergola’s theme is Ibiza-influenced and demands an all-day, big-crew attitude. Yah!  

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7. Sager + Wilde Paradise Row

Restaurants Contemporary European Bethnal Green

Reopening April 12

Paradise Row is a good name for this stretch of Bethnal Green railway arches filled with bars and eateries. Sager + Wilde leads the field as an all-day restaurant with a focus on excellent wine. Save it for classy summer sipping. The terrace is ideal for alfresco dining, accompanied by world wines and clever twists on classic cocktails.

8. Tavolino

Restaurants Italian London Bridge

Booking now

A riverside Italian restaurant with Bancone’s ex-head chef running the kitchen. The new outdoor 100-seater terrace has some commanding views of Tower Bridge. Chuck in a new Sicilian menu and you’re laughing. 

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Vinoteca N1
Vinoteca N1
Guy Dimond

9. Vinoteca

Bars and pubs Wine bars King’s Cross

Reopening April 12

This chic wine shop, bar and restaurant is a great spot to observe the comings and goings of King’s Cross. The terrace is a smart spot for a sauvignon blanc, regardless of whether you’re waiting for a train (or some other, more furtive pursuit). NB: the Farringdon outpost is opening again on May 17.

10. Vermuteria

Bars and pubs Café bars King’s Cross

Into cycling? This vermouth-peddling/pedalling bar and all-day café in Coal Drops Yard is a mass of classic Italian bike memorabilia. Crucially, it offers a cute little terrace complete with heaters for chillier London nights. There’s no truer taste of summer than a spritz – and this bar does them by the dozen.

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