Radio Rooftop Bar

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Radio Rooftop Bar
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Radio Rooftop Bar (Francisco Guerrero)
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Francisco Guerrero
Radio Rooftop Bar
3/3

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.

By: Laura Richards

Posted:

Venue name: Radio Rooftop Bar
Contact:
Address: ME London
336-337 The Strand
London
WC2R 1HA
Opening hours: Mon-Wed noon-1am; Thur-Sat noon-2am; Sun noon-midnight
Transport: Tube: Temple tube
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

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Average User Rating

1.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:8
  • 1 star:54
LiveReviews|79
2 people listening
F B
5 of 5 found helpful

What pretentious, cold, unwelcoming, rude, wooden, stuck-up staff! Gobsmackingly awful service and atmosphere provided by them. I have honestly never experienced ANYTHING like it. They actually look you up and down as if you are scum of the earth. The most bizarre business model ever. Such a shame as the views and decor are lovely, but my 20 + guests and I would be scared to go back to be honest.

A B
1 of 1 found helpful

The ratings for this place are deceiving! We have never been into a place such overly expensive, rude and pretentious. My group and I are not one to think about the prices of a night out, even if it includes reserving a big table for the night. However, the moment, we settled our bill. The aura changed. 


Apparently, we were too merry to stay. One friend was apparently drunk, when she was not and if they had to ask one of us to leave, all of us should. We cannot prove if there is an "image" or some sort of profiling involved, but we felt it. 


Come to think, a night out is not even worth it in this place. Appalling service, the drinks feel like a rip-off, the music on a Saturday night is horrendous. 


Never coming back. Aside from the fantastic views that we kind of wanted, we will not suggest it to anyone else. We should believed the reviews when we saw it and we could have avoided this misery! 

Jazmin C
1 of 1 found helpful

Nice view! But awful service, and ridiculously rude attitude from the staff and management. 

Lucy S
1 of 1 found helpful

Aside from any view regarding the venue.  The DJ Stef guy was absolutely out-standing. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL sound, juicy, seductive, infectious…you're a treasure dood.  We'll be back! xx Lucy Stone

Lucy S
1 of 1 found helpful

Aside from any view regarding the venue.  The DJ Stef guy was absolutely out-standing. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL sound, juicy, seductive, infectious…you're a treasure dood.  We'll be back! xx Lucy Stone

Tara Cowland
1 of 1 found helpful

Stunning views of London, lovely white sofas and yummy cocktails. Great when the weather is lovely, especially at sunset. Normal London prices. Also was great as we didn't have a table reservation but got one straight away. The staff are really friendly and accomodating which makes a change to London bars.

Mohamed
1 of 1 found helpful

One of the Best Rooftop Bar is London has to be the Doubletree Hilton Tower of London, I stayed at the hotel there for 2 night while was vising a friends over the weekend. Me and my cousin went too the rooftop bar and the view was immense and the staff was very friendly and looking after me very as I was in the wheelchair. Allot of the other bars and hotel in London tent fob me away because they don't want a disabled person in a posh exclusive bar or night club they think It would lower the ambiance o the bar and its cliental.

Naomi Scott
1 of 1 found helpful

Some of the most gorgeous views of London, beautiful cocktails and the most amazing Wagu Beef sliders I've ever eaten. Still reminiscing now. Only down side you can't book a table for more than 12 people, so any big birthdays, forget about it.

Exile
1 of 1 found helpful

Great location and views - great potential but somehow does not live up to expectation, mainly due to service. I was allowed in after witnessing others being turned away, presumably because I was a smartly dressed solo female. I definitely got the vibe that its about how you look. And then the bar - I have drunk in a lot of smart and not-so-smart places but I have NEVER been charged upfront for service while ordering a drink at the bar! Its a smart place so I accept higher prices but I could not believe it when I examined my receipt to find that the £10.13 I was asked to pay for my G&T actually included £1.13 service! Call me pedantic but I think that IS rather cheeky, especially as the drink was ordered and served at the bar. Ambivalent about returning....

Marta
1 of 1 found helpful

Fabulous! Lovely staff who always so friendly and chatty, yummy sliders and light bites, fantastic views and great music. Bit annoying that they always say it's at capacity unless you know 'someone', but I suppose they have to keep the clientele right. A must for any trendy Londoner!

Minki Winky
tastemaker

I'm a sucker for rooftop bars, so I love anything with a view of my dear London (with one exception - hipster places). Me and my friend were told there is going to be a heatwave, so we naturally opted for a rooftop bar. While the Radio Rooftop bar didn't disappoint, the heatwave did. Enjoyed some nibbles and cocktails, nothing exceptional, but you supposedly go there for the view. 

Rellie Loves
Tastemaker

I'd agree this place is pretty strict with bookings (2 hours turnover for tables), and is run by eager staff who barely give you a chance to view the menu before looming over your table... but the quality of cocktails and superb views over London outweigh the negatives. If you are looking for a chilled, swanky place out of the way for cocktails and music then come here. It's just the right size; roomy but still intimate with the feeling of an exclusive bar in New York or something. In the warmer months, try and get a table outside on the decked area with sofas/comfy chairs. I'd also recommend sticking with the signature cocktail list (£13 each) as they are actually the best of a rather expensive bunch. 

Emily M
tastemaker

If it weren't for the spectacular views of London, this place would have shut down a long time ago. I had booked a table for Sunday lunch but despite there being many free tables outside, I had to basically beg the hostess to seat us on an outside table. The waitresses were dressed in barely existent mini skirts, had chipped nail polish and looked as though they would rather be wiping Donald Trump's arse for a job than serving us. The food was alright but nothing to write home about. They also weren't serving cider (even though it was on the menu) and their coffee machine was broken. My heart definitely broke a little when I saw the price of the cheapest bottle of sparkling (over 60 quid) and the food prices are quite steep too but at the end of the day, you really are paying for the view. It's worth the visit for the view but perhaps wait until pay day for this bad boy. 

Danette
tastemaker

While the views over London are pretty special (particularly if you happen to be up on Radio Me’s terrace in the warmer months), the place itself is highly overrated. The food is average and overpriced, the atmosphere is not that special and the bar tends to attract quite an odd crowd, blending tourist curiosity with tacky attention-seekers as well as normal Londoners on a lookout for a fun evening with a nice view and a decent cocktail. If you fancy a visit and want a table, beware of the rather steep per person minimum spend. Going up there and grabbing a spot at the bar is much easier and affordable. Overall not a bad choice for a one off experience, but this place does not have the potential to become a regular spot for Londoners. Compared to the Sky Garden or the Rumpus Room, it could definitely do better. 

Joanne  M
tastemaker

I went along for a work lunch at the Radio Rooftop in the ME Hotel in the Strand. The restaurant has amazing views looking over London you can see such buildings as the Gherkin and the Shard. The bar is impressive round and bright and they have a great outside area as well to have a drink which has comfy sofas to lounge on with heaters and blankets for the colder days/nights which is very cosy.

However as for the restaurant side of things I would not recommend Radio Rooftop as the food was appalling. When we first arrived our table was not even set out so they had to move tables together and dress the table which was odd considering we had a booking. One of the tables also kept on sinking as had a mechanism in where you could make it higher or lower. When it came to the food I ordered the seafood linguine and literally waited for it for approx 30 minutes. The portion was small and the pasta and seafood was luke warm, tasteless and the chillies even had no taste to them no heat nothing and the pasta was sticking together practically. One persons seafood linguini did not have any clam meat just empty shells. However everyone else had ordered a burger and I must admit that did look good big, chunky and juice with a brioche bun but the chips were the long frozen type fries not hand cut chips which was disappointing to see but they tasted nice. For dessert we ordered the apple crumble again a very long wait until it came to the table and when it did it looked more like soup with apple floating around in it with a scattering of crumble. Could not eat it as was soup and the small amount I did slurp up like soup tasted of burnt caramel. The waiter apologised and then came back and told us it was because there was an accident in the kitchen what the accident was I don't know but worrying to think why our crumble looked like the way it did. We sent all crumbles back. Even though the staff was apologetic and nice I would not go back for the food at all as below standards and the food took way too long to come out and when it did was luke warm anyway.

I am rating this place 2 out of 5 as went along for the food in the restaurant.

However even though I would not go back for there for food I would possibly go back for a drink or two to experience the amazing views on offer.

Pritesh D
tastemaker

Lots of space, nice views of London and not too crowded. Would visit again.

Nina F

The service at this place is horrible. I was embarrassed to have taken out of town guests here. The bar staff is impatient and rude, the waitress Reka, was extremely impolite, rolled her eyes when I asked for ice, then threw the glass on the table, leaving promptly. She never came to check on us and we felt uncomfortable because she was clearly BOTHERED every time we waved her over. My guests and I were left speechless over her behavior towards us and other guests she served that night. This place is a JOKE! It was half empty on a Monday night, yet they kept a long line of people outside - just to draw attention. If this place was as 'posh' as it pretends to be they wouldn't have to resort to such amateur tactics. There are hundreds of better places 'with a view' in London, so I'd strongly encourage you to think twice before going here.

Maurice W

AVOID at all costs. Absolutely shocking bar. Obnoxious telephone staff when making a booking, pretentious and slow bar staff, rediculously overpriced drinks, aggressive and violent door staff. Won't be going back.

TheMixedMedic
Tastemaker

Go for the cocktails and the views, not the vibe or demographic - decadent, fun and top ranker on the list of london rooftops

Scott H

What a load of jumped up wankers, booked before hand as it was me an a mate so didn't wanna get stopped at the door but still got asked 20 questions , finally got in to pay service charge on a drink bought at the bar ,which down my way would of caused a riot, the views were stunning but the whole experience left a bad taste, the doormen looked like a couple of Albanian pikeys who take there job too seriously, there prob on miminum wage anyway, the staff looked u up and down, don't normally write reviews but wanted to warn people off this place. Go sky lounge ,double tree Hilton hotel Tower Hill makes this place look like a polished turd.

B K

Poorly trained or incompetent staff, perhaps both, supported by rude and disorganised management. Way to ruin what could be an awesome venue. Don't bother

Sarah V
Tastemaker

The view is absolutely fantastic. However, there are multiple reasons as to why you would want to give this bar a miss. The interior design feels outdated, prices are high and staff is far from friendly. If you really want to enjoy rooftop drinking in this part of town you might be better off making your way across the river to the Southbank Centre. You'll feel happier, richer and more loved afterwards.

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

Oh wow,  what a difference the WHEN makes to a WHERE. I've been to the Radio Rooftop Bar on various occasions before. The swanky place I've come to know and like, great for a lazy aperitivo on a warm sunny afternoon or for a drunk weekend party when you feel like glamour is the order of the day, Radio Rooftop Bar seems to loose it's glitz on a quiet Sunday night. And although the service benefits from not having all that hip crowd swarming around the bar, the place just doesn't feel right. Over-lit and empty, all its ambience gone, it actually seemed like a poor version of its glorious self. All the faults of design (or the lack thereof) were just gaping in our faces. How did I ever think it resembles the plush Ibiza lounges? The desolate DJ island felt like a sore thumb sticking out. I don't say don't go, just maybe go on a different night or in the afternoon to catch those beautiful views in full glory! And people of the Radio Rooftop Bar, just maybe turn the lights down a notch, will you!

Rosa P

I have had a number of nights out here. After work drinks on a Thursday, a cheeky Friday night out or a girls birthday celebrations on a Saturday night. No matter when I have been this place has always been rocking! with beautiful views of London and some extremely tasty cocktails this place is great for every type of event! If you don't book ahead on certain nights like a Saturday it can be a little hard to get in so either arrive early or get your name on the guestlist!

LoveLondon
Tastemaker

This place is a hit and miss, depends on the day, crowd and company you are in. Service is usually great. But I come here for the view in the summer. London is a beautiful city and this rooftop has one of the best views!

Katie F
Tastemaker

If you pick the right time to go to Radio bar then you could have a good time. About 3pm on a Monday or Tuesday might work... otherwise I'm afraid you are treated a little like a second class citizen and will likely not get a table or, if you do get a table, you will be tucked away in a corner where you could really be anywhere, certainly you wouldn't have much of a clue you were in a fantastic rooftop in the middle of the Strand! Saying this, I have had a couple of fun hours there, firstly with friends right after it opened and no one knew about it yet and secondly on a sunny Saturday afternoon with my parents when we actually got a table with a view but you have to be prepared to spend a long time waiting for your drinks and expect to pay a lot of money for fairly unimaginative cocktail creations or a simple glass of pimms. It's okay but you might want to try Somerset House across the road which has a lovely terrace in summer overlooking the river and has a fraction of the pretention... 

Lucy H

I just love the views! What more can I say, I love London, I love sunsets, great cocktails and being outside and this gave me all of that in one.

Simona B

I would highly recommend to avoid this place - very rude and ignorant entrance staff (especially security guy who was working on the 9th August ' 15 in the evening).

First of all, if the people who supposed to look after reservations could do their job properly it would be highly appreciated - a simple email back saying "you're fully booked" would make a big difference as probably on Sundays getting back to people is not considered as part of the job..

Also, hiring or training Radio rooftop doormen to be AT LEAST professional enough and have good manners would help you out with future customers as I would never ever in my entire life recommend this place for any of my friends, colleagues or clients.

And for the record, your doorman suggested to write a bad review regarding his behaviour.

All in all, very disappointing representation of the place. I wish you all the best with your new future customers and highly recommend to carefully consider who is representing the Radio rooftop bar in the first place.

Kindest Regards,

Simona

Mathew D

When making a reservation last night for a party of 10 I was told the minimum spend pp would be £75 for a 3-hour timeslot (17.30-20.30), and if I wanted to extend by an hour to 21.30 the minimum spend would jump to £100 pp. Failure to cancel within 24 hours results in a no-show charge of £20 pp.


As I tried to comprehend that shocking quotation, I was then asked in an oddly suspicious manner whether my party would be "mixed". Incredulous they would be asking what they appeared to be asking, I was given very rude clarification by the receptionist that Radio has a (highly questionable) policy that all large parties contain a roughly equal mix of men and women. She had to get "approval" from her manager when I highlighted that my small gay wedding celebration would consist mostly of men. 


Luckily for Radio the manager was more obliging than the receptionist seemed to be, but I felt like I was asking a cheeky "favour" or to be "granted permission" to spend a shocking amount of money for an fairly restricted amount of time. The whole conversation left me feeling extremely unpleasant and I will be cancelling this reservation after finding a number of much better options. 


There is no excuse for treating paying customers to a laundry list of miserly rules and questionable policies. If what others here are saying about reservations not being honoured and other service issues are true, I'm even more shocked at the absurd price tag. I strongly recommend that people not patronise a business which operates in this manner.

Chtis M

An utter bunch of jobsworths. I managed to get a seat at about 5.30 and waited for my friend to arrive. He was unfortunately delayed and didn't turn up into just before 6.30. I had a seat for him and a beer waiting. When he turned up he, along with about a dozen other people queuing, were told they were not allowed in because of 'safety', ie too many people. What a load of BS. The bar was more empty at 6.30 than it was at 5.30. We had a seat for god's sake.

The staff upstairs were also really offhand. The woman 'in charge' couldn't give a flying f***.

Will not be going back. ever. Don't waste your time.

Pretentious really is the word for this bar. I've been to many top bars and hotels around the world and it's perfectly possible for a bar to be classy, exclusive, prestigious without being up itself - which is exactly what this place is.

Sarah H

Can honestly say I have never written a review before in my life ... However having just got home after a fantastic afternoon at Me Radio rooftop bar and after reading some of the ridiculous reviews proir to our visit I feel the need to comment ... The staff were more than welcoming from arriving off the street to being showed to our table and even though our table wasn't quite where we wanted it , it only took one request and we were moved with no hassle at all .. The waitresses and especially the front of house lady were more attentive than most of the restaurants I have ever visited in the whole of London ... the tapas were some of the best tapas we have ever eaten .... Looking for a fantastic rooftop bar in town , with a great atmosphere , views , great food and drink then ME rooftop bar is for you !

Jar E

Are you serious? Shame on you TimeOut! This place is where cool went to die, a shambolic wreck, unless you are a low-grade footballer or wallet-chasing scrubber. Aside from all the pretentious twats (literally) parading in front of each other, the staff are thieves. Each time I went to the bar, they over-charged me with extra drinks, thinking that either I would be too drunk to notice, or as vacuous as the rest of the clientele and simply not notice. When challenged, the sheer level of snottiness beggared belief. Oh and don't forget the 12.5% service charge added to the bill just for privilege of a bartender serving the drink at the bar? Honestly, my skin creeps when thinking about this place. The fact that you continue to recommended shows the plummeting Timeout standards. If I could give minus stars, I would. I feel dirty and ashamed at having been there, and that was 6 months ago.

James Wilson

My girlfriend and I didn't get in because the bar was "at capacity". I really don't mind a strict door policy, but I do mind being turned away from a bar on the basis that it's apparently "full", particularly when our friends are inside saying that it's half empty... I'm sure that ME is aesthetically pleasing, but avoid at all cost! Complete joke.

Charles

Beware of the minimum £100 per head spend on Bottles. So you EACH have to buy a bottle for £100 (cocktails and food are not included)

charles

Dreadful service. Rude staff. Stuck up over priced and not going to last long in London if they don't change their ways.

Ross

Just tried to reserve a seat for drinks and puddings tomorrow - Got told It has a min spend of £100 Per Person! Thats ridiculous!

Salma

Horrible! just horrible attitude! from everyone, from the doorman to bartender! Even great views like that do not help the situation in any way. Bad experience starts right from the elevator entrance. I had a reservation for 20! people, booked a private booth, some pretentious doorman told me to wait and told me it Is full capacity! waited for half an hour, at the same time different people kept coming in! I do not understand how can they work like this! Turned around and went to cannon bridge gardens, had a marvellous time. I hope the Me group will realise what a mistake they are making by letting staff treat customers this way!

Roxanne

Absolutely outrageous, rood and disgusting staff! I came to ask to have a look at the terrace as I wanted to book it for a big party. The man at the door told me its full capacity, I tried to be nice and explain that I just need few minutes to see the space again so I would be sure I could accommodate all my guests. I got very rood response from the host and there is nothing that could be done. I absolutely do not understand how is even possible that the HOST, the first person you see when you come to the venue could be that rood! I will absolutely will never go there again, despite the great views as there is nothing good about this place, the cocktails are dated and bland, made with cheap juices from concentrate, arrogant bartenders and waitresses and very strange Croydon of people who hang out in this place. Absolutely horrible experience, went to sushisamba after, had much better experience. I will do everything so people know how the staff treats guests there!

Sara

Stuck up waitresses, overpriced poor drinks. OK if you are rich and want to be seen. Nice view though. The lady at the door needs more clothes.

Rachel

Very Rude gate keepers and staff. Beautiful view. Definitely a place for those of alternative life style. Management doesn't know what a diamond in the rough they have.

Monika

WOW!! Love this view and love this bar. Yes it’s hard to get in, but if you dress nice, (no need to be “posh” just authentic; the audience is various, from very posh ladies and to totally crazy “artists” in sneakers) and book in advance, you will get in. Regards the stuff on the door, au contraire to all the previous comments, very courteous and helpful. If you need anything, just ask the lovely brunet Lady on the door, she is your “man” for everything.

George Brown

Dissapointed at the stadard lack of respect the staff give their customers. I would advise anyone thinking about heading to this bar to give is a miss and stay away. Poor customer service and the management must have just left school. (primary) London has more to offer. 1/10

Justin

Cool view but rude staff and full of pretentious tools really let this place down. I don't need someone who's job it is to stand in front of a door to look me up and down to decide whether I'm cool enough to get in - seriously, drop the attitude - everyone coming to your door has a better job than you!

Kev

Hard to get in ? Yes, but like all that kind of places. Once you know and accept that it's ok. Be patient, book several days before and that would be fine. Food is really good, music is good (lounge,house) staff is lovely, the view is amazing, and prices are more than very honest (this is a 5* hotel rooftop bar). Nothing to say for this place, I love it. But don't come without a confirmed reservation thinking you'll have a red carpet at the door because you won't get in...

van

First of all it was very difficult to get through to radio bar, but when I did this is what happened.... Tried to make a reservation for Radio Bar for my engagement party for Friday May 10th and was told that they don't take reservations on Friday it is too busy. Decided to move the party to a Thursday night so I called again and was now told outright they don't do any reservations only walk ins. Frustrated as I was, fine, if that was their policy then I had to have my party elsewhere. But what really infuriated me is that I called back today Weds 5th of June to check that I could walk in and I was told that they are FULLY BOOKED!! So what is it? do you take bookings or not? It is a different answer depending on who you talk to or which day it is .. Spoke to a senior manager of the reservations team, but he could not offer any sort better customer experience whatsoever ... basically admitting they they have been trial-ing different policies. Forget it, these people have no idea what they are doing.

Martin

I was initially excited about the Radio bar, which I chanced upon with some colleagues last week. Promptly seated at around 7pm, without a reservation (no reservations until 9pm inside, and none at any time outside, unless the whole thing is booked for an event), I've since realised how lucky I was to get in at all. The venue was booked for private/corporate events at post-work hours on both my second and third evening attempts to visit (the first time at 6pm, the second at 5pm on another day). People that were turned away on the Wednesday promptly flocked back to join an excessively long queue at 7pm the same evening when the bar re-opened its doors for non-private-event attendees. The dressed-all-in-black staff were courteous, but slightly unclear as to when the various private events would end, and quite frankly whilst it's nice to have a view, and their rose wine selection was of good quality, being turned away twice in a row does put one off a place somewhat, when there are so many other options in London. A friend speculated that they are actively trying to cultivate an image of exclusivity, rather than genuinely inundated with customers, but the queue of people waiting at 7pm was certainly sufficient to have filled their outdoor space, which is why I opted to enjoy a drink elsewhere, rather than stand in a queue whilst others enjoyed theirs. If you get turned away you could do worse than to head over to Tom's Terrace on the other side of Somerset House (you can cut straight through, if there's not an event on). You're slightly more likely to get a seat there (though only slightly!), they have addictive nibbles (try the nuts), riverside views and the usual sort of drink selection.

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