Get us in your inbox

Search
The Bussey Building
Photo: Rob Greig

London’s best rooftop bars

Our favourite London spots for sinking a few bevvies high above the madding crowds

Sarah Cohen
Written by
Laura Richards
&
Sarah Cohen
Advertising

Hooray! We can eat and drink indoors again. But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy the outdoor life. Londoners have always loved a rooftop bar, and this year is no different. Time to soak up some sunsets (perhaps while wearing a big coat). 

We’ve got the lowdown on exactly which sky-high bars are back open and will keep you updated as even more places share info on being able to welcome back customers.

Obviously, it’s worth booking as early as you can. These places are popular anyway: right now they’re alfresco gold. For specific safety details, check with the venues before you visit. But otherwise, cheers to a summer of getting up on the roof. 

Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? Here are London’s best beer gardens

The best rooftop bars in London

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Stratford
  • price 4 of 4

What is it? Okay, it’s not been your average jet-setting year, but you can still recreate some posh holiday vibes on the seventh floor of glossy hotel The Stratford.

Why go? Yes, the bar and terrace of Allegra restaurant have views across to Westfield Stratford, but once you discover the joy of its deckchairs that slip around on rails among the wildflowers and water features, well, you might as well be sitting under the Provençal sun. Just bring your coat!

Open for bookings: Tue-Wed, 4pm-11pm; Thu-Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-5pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho

What is it? Two terraces that work as slick and moody sunset spots.

Why go? Less about the views and more about the booze. Enjoy exotic cocktails on high.

Open: Mon-Sat, noon-10pm; Sun, noon-8pm.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Moorgate
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? Roomy, open-air, tenth-floor terrace which, in a former life, brought all the City workers out from their offices. Probably be different vibes this year.

Why go? Stupendous views of London. And two huge peacock statues, naturally. That’s what you’ve been longing for, right?

Open for bookings: Mon-Sun, 11am-10pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Waterloo
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? This buzzy rooftop oasis offers swoonsome views of the city’s skyline from its position near Waterloo and is named with heavy irony after the island Napoleon was exiled to.

Why go? Boozy brunches and cocktails, with an idyllic atmosphere. 

Open for bookings: Mon-Thu, 2pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, noon-1am; Sun, noon-midnight. 

Advertising
Big Chill House
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • King’s Cross

What is it? The King’s Cross branch of this buzzy bar harbours one of the area’s best rooftops – an expansive, attractive space with wooden shacks.

Why go? Graze on modern pub grub such as halloumi fries and bulging burgers, plus boozy brunches on sunny weekends.

Open for bookings: Tue-Wed, 5pm onwards; Thu-Sun, noon onwards.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Shoreditch

What is it? Boundary does rooftop drinking in style, with a glass roof for protection from the elements in inclement conditions.

Why go? The kitchen offers Mediterranean grub, even if the London climate doesn't always match it.

Open for bookings: Mon-Wed, 3pm-11pm; Thu-Sun, noon-11pm.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Peckham

What is it? Frank’s Cafe’s rival rooftop at Peckham’s Bussey Building has reopend – woo hoo! Last year it had heaters and blankets to seal the deal.  

Why go? The cocktail menu has had a revamp since last year. And for every pizza ordered from the rooftop’s resident kitchen, Share a Slice, one will be donated to the homeless. Reduced-guilt pizza!

Open for bookings: Mon-Fri, 5pm-11pm; Sat-Sun, noon-11pm.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Bank

What is it? Half the City heads up here in summer, and although many come for its restaurant, the bar also slings out a solid number of Pornstar Martinis.

Why go? Coq d’Argent’s verdant rooftop garden has a neatly trimmed lawn, trailing vines, a ringed walkway and stunning London-wide views.

Open for bookings: Mon-Fri, 11.30am-midnight; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-6pm.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Aldgate
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? You’ll get double the gherkin at this idyllic spot near the famous pickle-shaped office block, since The Culpeper’s rooftop space is used to grow veggies for its kitchen.

Why go? The cocktails from the cute greenhouse bar are of real quality and pack in loads of herbs from the neighbouring beds.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sun, noon-8pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Dalston
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? E8’s happening rooftop bar with a cause that has snowballed into a multi-faceted events space. 

Why go? Natural wines, beer from 40ft and pizza from Gordos are on the bill, along with film screenings, day parties and club nights, including a five-week residency from Crazy P. 

Open (no bookings): Mon-Thu, 5-11pm; Fri, 5pm-midnight; Sat, 3pm-midnight; Sun, 3-10pm. 

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Wine bars
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A spin-off bar from the guys behind Italian restaurant Forza Win (see what they did with the name there?).

Why go? The bar snacks are serious stuff and spiced rum hot toddies suit the colder temperatures. Plus, you can shelter indoors and still enjoy the views.

Open for bookings: Mon-Thu, Sun, noon-midnight; Fri-Sat, noon-1am.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Peckham’s most popular summer-only bar, unglamorously perched on a multi-storey car park.

Why go? Frank’s has gained cult status, and its reopening – which was a little delayed this year, for obvious reasons – kind of heralds the start of summer. But it’s now finally welcoming back punters at limited capacity. Head up for a Campari at sunset and to check out this year’s installations – one by Jeremy Deller included.

Open (no bookings): Thu-Sun, 11am-11pm.

Advertising
Golden Bee
  • Bars and pubs
  • Shoreditch

What is it? This rooftop bar in Shoreditch has a bit of an Ibiza feel (plus pollution) with its palm trees, rattan furniture and DJs playing out house hits. 

Why go? Happy-hour cocktails and buckets of beer, plus customers who bring the craic.

Open for booking: Thu, 5pm-1am; Fri, 5pm-2am; Sat, 2pm-2am; Sun 2-10pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Aldgate

What is it? Fourteenth-floor City sky bar with a pineapple-inspired decor.

Why go? Asia-influenced cocktails and views right across to the Gherkin, so you can play ‘This is small, that is far away’.

Open for bookings: Mon, 5pm-midnight; Tue-Thu, noon-1am; Fri-Sat, noon-2am; Sun, noon-11pm.

Advertising
The Loft
  • Bars and pubs
  • Wimbledon

What is it? The Alexandra, a south London all-rounder, has a roof terrace that’s the pride of SW19 and has a burger menu and a craft beer range.

Why go? Crucially, The Loft has patio heaters, a sheltered bar and lots of seats to squabble over.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, noon-11pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • London Bridge

Big-screen sports (when appropriate), pints, cocktails, views of the Shard and the river, Ginger Pig burgers, DJs, lads (we assume). This temporary 200-capacity venue is a good place to get in a few bevs and soak up those rays. When they arrive.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • St Paul’s

What is it? A surprising rooftop terrace bar in the One New Change shopping centre. It attracts a crowd of City slickers and hen nights (NB: costumes not allowed).

Why go? For brilliant close-up views of St Paul’s Cathedral, just ignore the generic house beats and suits – although, no guarantee these will still be in place with City offices mostly closed! WFH: not all bad.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sun noon-1am.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Fitzrovia
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? Up on the sixteenth floor of the Treehouse, a hotel with a focus on sustainability, and affording 360-degree views of the capital from its centre, the Nest Rooftop Bar is a foliage-filled hangout.

Why go? There’s an outdoor terrace that wraps around the building and is filled with loungers. We also love the bar’s blossoming living wall.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sun, noon-1am; Sun, noon-11pm.

Advertising
NT’s Loft
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • London Fields
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? The indoor/outdoor space above Netil House is taking group bookings. Entertainment comes from DJs and live jazz acts.

Why go? Head here if you like your rooftops all jungly and plant-filled: fronds dangle from the ceiling indoors and on the terrace, palm trees fan out on the perimeter.

Open for bookings: Wed-Thu, 5-11pm; Fri, 5pm-2.30am; Sat 4pm-2.30am; Sun, noon-10pm.

Prince of Wales Feathers
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Warren Street
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A brightly painted first-floor drinking terrace at a modern Fitzrovia pub.

Why go? This skyward space is a rare asset in this part of town.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sat, noon–10.30pm.

Advertising
  • Clubs
  • Shoreditch

What is it? The downstairs bit of this grungy bar and club is better suited to nocturnal drinking, but the partially covered rooftop space is bright and airy.

Why go? For beer and burgers in a colourful space. Head downstairs for parties and shows.

Open for bookings: Mon-Thu, 4-9.30pm; Fri, 2-9.30pm; Sat, noon-9.30pm; Sun, noon-7pm.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Aldwych
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Radio Rooftop Bar, high above the Strand, has secured its status as one of central London’s prime high-altitude drinking destinations. The terrace is like a slick Ibiza sun lounge – although you probably won’t find such plush blankets and patio heaters in the Balearic Islands. It can be a strange mix of people here, spanning the lad crew, old American tourists and fashionistas in funny hats.

Why go? Mainly for the views and the elevation. And to convince yourself that your lifestyle is a lot more chi-chi than it actually is – or that you’ve won a weird holiday. 

Open for bookings: Mon-Tue, 5pm-midnight; Wed, Sun, noon-midnight; Thu-Sat, noon-1am.

 

Advertising
Roof East
  • Things to do
  • Stratford

What is it? Massive rooftop play space and bar Roof East offers drinks, views, mini-golf, batting cages and hip-hop lawn bowls (‘bringing the banter back to bowls’ *shudder*). Feed yourselves from Cheeky Burger or catch a film under the stars, (make sure to pick the bottomless popcorn option).

Why go? If that little lot sounds like it’s right up your alley, it’s a good laugh. If not, probably avoid. 

Open for bookings: Tue-Fri, 4pm-11pm; Sat-Sun, noon-11pm.

The Rooftop St James
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Trafalgar Square

What is it? As London rooftop views go, this one is iconic. The bar on top of the Trafalgar Hotel is in the direct eyeline of Admiral Nelson on his lofty column. Warning: selfie-takers! As a posh central hotel, it also offers a slick menu of well crafted and curated drinks. 

Why go? You can probably justify the elevated prices here as that view is pretty spectacular.

Open for bookings: Mon-Tue, noon-11pm; Wed-Thu, noon-midnight; Fri, noon-2am; Sat, 11-2am; Sun 11am-11pm.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Caledonian Road
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? There’s a secretive beer garden on the roof of this small but handsome, wood-panelled pub.

Why go? It’s not the most glossy or bucolic spot, but it’s a handy retreat from the comings and goings of King’s Cross station, with ample parasol-laden benches.

Open for bookings: Mon-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-10.45pm.

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events

What is it? Although Skylight is primarily an all-weather playground at Tobacco Dock, it also offers a prime position for rooftop drinking with unparalleled panoramas.

Why go? The outdoor benches, covered booths and indoor areas are now open for drinks and street food, and you can play open-air pétanque, table tennis and shuffleboard. Croquet will follow in June.

Open for bookings: Thu-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm.

Advertising
  • Hotels
  • King’s Cross

What is it? An astroturfed 11th-floor terrace bar at the first venue outside of the US from hip hotel group The Standard. 

Why go? For an up-close view of the Gothic spires of St Pancras International just opposite, and to dance and drink the night away to live music and DJs with a New York vibe.

Open (no bookings after May): Wed-Fri, 4-11pm; Sat, 2-11pm; Sun, 2-10pm.

 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Liverpool Street

What is it? Sky-high rooftop bar on the thirty-eighth floor of the City’s Heron Tower – named the Tree Bar thanks to the prettily lit tree at its centre.

Why go? On sunny days it attracts crowds like Rio Carnival, but it’s worth the scrum for the serious cocktails and sensational widescreen views.

Open for bookings: Mon-Sun, noon-12.30am.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Best selling Time Out Offers
        Advertising