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Bussey Rooftop Bar, Peckham
Photograph: Bussey Rooftop Bar

London’s best rooftop bars

Get a taste of the high life with our pick of London’s best spots to enjoy cocktails in the clouds now that bars are reopening

By Laura Richards
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Londoners love a rooftop bar. They’re the best places to escape the claustrophobic heat of the city and they provide a brilliant skyline backdrop for drinking – especially at sundown. And now, we love them even more. Outdoor spaces have been deemed the safest for socialising as London unlocks this summer. As such, expect London’s best rooftop bars to be in more demand than ever. 

We’ve got the lowdown on exactly which sky-high bars have reopened and will keep you updated as even more places share info on welcoming back customers for a drink to remember. It’s going to be a little bit different: most bars will now take advance bookings and expect table service for those cocktails and beers. For any other safety details, check with venues in advance of your visit. But otherwise, cheers to a summer of getting up on the roof.    

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the sun in our guide to outdoor London

The best rooftop bars in London

Frank's Café, Peckham
Frank's Café, Peckham
Photograph: Jamie Lau

1. Frank’s Café

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Peckham

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 kind of heralds the start of summer. It was a little delayed this year, for obvious reasons. 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: noon-11pm Thu-Fri, 11am-11pm Sat-Sun.

forza wine
forza wine
Photograph: Sam Harris

2. Forza Wine

Bars and pubs Wine bars Peckham

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 frozen cocktails suit the soaring temperatures. 

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

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3. Bussey Rooftop Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Peckham

What is it? In the past, this rooftop space was perhaps better known for its resident cinema Rooftop Film Club. But in summer 2020, it’s all about the lols, with live stand-up comedy. 

Why go? Performances from the likes of Simon Amstell, Aisling Bea, Sara Pascoe and Tim Key make this more than a back-up plan for when nearby Frank’s is full.

Open for bookings: 5pm-10.40pm Mon-Wed, noon-10.30pm Thu-Sun.

bar elba
bar elba
Sebastian Barros

4. Bar Elba

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Waterloo

What is it? This buzzy rooftop oasis offers swoonsome views of the city’s skyline from its position near Waterloo.

Why go? With fairy lights, communal benches and a frozen cocktail list, this rooftop bar is party central.

Open for bookings: 4-10pm daily. Plus rooftop cinema events

Venue says Join us for rooftop bottomless brunches every Saturday & Sunday, or head on up for our outdoor cinema Tues, Wed & Sundays. Book Now!

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Skylight Bar at The Dock
Skylight Bar at The Dock
Photograph: Steve Dunlop

5. Skylight

Things to do Quirky events

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

Why go? Ordinarily you could break up your summer tipples with a round of croquet or petanque, but this summer the rooftop will be focusing on sanitary activities like drinking at pre-booked tables.

Open for bookings: Until October. More info here.

jin bo law
jin bo law
Scott Chasserot

6. Jin Bo Law

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Aldgate

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

Why go? Asia-influenced cocktails and views right across to the Gherkin.

Open for bookings: 4-11pm Mon, noon-midnight Tue-Sat, noon-11pm Sun.

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allegra at stratford
allegra at stratford
Photograph: Luke Hayes

7. Allegra

Restaurants Contemporary European Stratford

What is it? It’s not been your average jet-setting summer, but you can still recreate some holiday vibes on the seventh floor of glossy new 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.

Open: Wed-Thu 6-10pm, Fri 2-10pm, Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-6pm.

Summer Nights Rooftop
Summer Nights Rooftop
Jonathan Perugia

8. Dalston Roof Park

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Dalston

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

Why go? Beer from 40ft, natural wine from Newcomer and pop-up food offerings are usually on the bill, although the typical events and live music acts are off the line-up for summer 2020. 

Open: 5pm-10pm Mon, 5pm-11pm Tue-Thu, 5pm-midnight Fri, 3pm-midnight Sat, 3pm-10pm Sun.

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9. NT's Loft

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Hackney

What is it? Indoor/outdoor space above Netil House taking group bookings. DJ sets and live jazz acts seal the deal.

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

Open: Thu 6pm-midnight, Fri 6pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am

10. Roof East

Things to do Stratford

What is it? Stratford’s solution for rooftop lovers offers a little bit of everything, from the usual cocktails and street food to batting cages and mini golf courses – all of which will still be bookable to the public. 

Why go? After months of being cooped up, we could all use a bit of silliness.

Open for bookings: 3pm-9pm Tue-Fri, noon-9pm Sat-Sun. 

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The Nest rooftop bar
The Nest rooftop bar
Photograph: Simon Brown

11. The Nest Rooftop Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Fitzrovia

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

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: Mon-Fri noon-1am, Sat 11am-1am, Sun 11am-10.30pm.

12. Radio Rooftop Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Aldwych

What is it? One of London’s most hyped rooftop bars. Popularity is sustained by way of swanky signature cocktails and 360-degree views of London’s skyline.

Why go? See all the London landmarks.

Open for bookings: noon-11.30pm daily.

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13. Netil360

Bars and pubs Café bars Hackney

What is it?  A hub for creative start-ups that just happens to incorporate a kick-ass rooftop bar with street-food stalls, fun cocktails and rough-and-ready bench seating.

Why go? Combine sweet beats with the best views from nine flights up and an east London crowd worth getting in with. 

Open for bookings: Noon-10.30pm Tue, noon-11.30pm Wed-Thu, noon to 12.30am Fri-Sat, noon-11.30pm Sun. Entry costs between £5 and £10. 

14. Aviary

Restaurants Global Moorgate

What is it? Roomy open-air terrace with views up on floor ten, which in a former life brought all the City workers out from their offices. Maybe it’ll be different vibes this summer.

Why go? In colder weather you can refuel indoors at the venue’s swanky restaurant – booking also essential.

Open for bookings: 11am-8.30pm daily.

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boundary rooftop
boundary rooftop
Photograph: Boundary

15. Boundary Rooftop

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 winter.

Why go? In warm weather, get in the posh pitchers of Aperol spritz and inventive cocktails such as a salted caramel julep.

Open for bookings: 5-11pm Mon-Thu, noon-11pm Thu-Sun.

Thomas Alexander

16. Madison Terrace Bar & Lounge

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.

Why go? Brilliant close-ups of St Paul’s Cathedral, if you don’t mind generic house beats and a fair few suits (although, no guarantee these will still be in place now that offices are mostly closed!).

Open for bookings: 5-8.30pm Mon-Fri, 3.30-10.30pm Sat, noon-6pm Sun.

Venue says Now open for all day dining! Join us for long lunches, early dinners with live music or cocktails with a view to the sounds of our DJs.

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