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The Rooftop St James

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Trafalgar Square
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A rooftop bar that overlooks Trafalgar Square.

As rooftop views go, this one is iconic. The bar on top of the Trafalgar Hotel is in the direct eye line of Admiral Nelson. Cue smug selfie-takers providing entertainment up on floor seven. But the hashtaggers break up a predominantly blokey crowd loosening their collars.

The bar has had a revamp: it’s now modernist-looking in marble and royal blue. Boxed-in spaces have retractable roofs, or you can brave the elements under heaters and blankets. Prices are still sky-high, but they’ve done away with the £5 cover charge, making a splurge more justifiable.

Cocktails were competently made with a few named after London landmarks. The Skyline was a pink twist on a pisco sour that tasted like marshmallow, while a Soho Sunset was a simple gin mix with a champers top. With £16 the average price for a cocktail, I could see why wine and beer were more popular around the bar. Asian-influenced snacks were a letdown, including flabby bao buns with a vinegary filling. Generous flatbreads were more to my liking.

Although the good weather didn’t last, the monotonous tech house showed no signs of ending, so (unlike at many other London rooftops) we were ready to get back down to earth. But for Nelson’s gaze alone, this rooftop deserves a visit. Selfie stick optional.


Address: 2 Spring Gardens
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross
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