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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. See you there for a Campari at sunset.

Open: noon-11pm Thu-Fri, 11am-11pm Sat-Sun.

2. 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. 

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forza wine
forza wine
Photograph: Sam Harris

3. 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.

4. Bussey Rooftop Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Peckham

What is it? This rooftop space is perhaps better known for its resident cinema Rooftop Film Club (details on whether it’s appearing here this year are yet to be confirmed), but it also hosts some serious summer parties.

Why go? Plenty of plant life and cocktails and craft ales make this more than a back-up plan when nearby Frank’s is full.

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

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bar elba
bar elba
Sebastian Barros

5. 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!

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

6. 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.

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jin bo law
jin bo law
Scott Chasserot

7. 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.

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. 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. 

10. 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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11. 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.

boundary rooftop
boundary rooftop
Photograph: Boundary

12. 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.

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Thomas Alexander

13. 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 Join us every Fri night as we introduce our Late Night Lounge. Think great food, sexy cocktails, THAT view & a DJ for that late night vibe.

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