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hawk's nest
Photograph: Hawk’s Nest

Outdoor drinking and dining terraces in London cosy enough for winter

Wintry decor, festive food, hot booze and those all-important heaters. These outdoor restaurants and bars are great for groups in Tier 2

By Laura Richards
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Socialising is still confined to the great outdoors under the current restrictions. If you want to hang out with anyone beyond your household, you’ll need to find a cosy outdoor space in London in which to do it. Luckily, some of our favourite bars and restaurants have been thinking on their frozen feet. So wrap up warm and check out these new outdoor terraces for drinking and dining in your group of six – decked out in wintry decor and adorned with roaring fire pits, patio heaters and enough faux fur to make you think you got stuck in the wardrobe on your way into Narnia. 

London restaurants and bars for outdoor dining in winter

portobello joy
portobello joy
Photograph: Charlie McKay

Flora at Joy

Restaurants Vegetarian Ladbroke Grove

Nab your own outdoor ‘pavilion’ by Regent’s Canal. They’re little tents outside Flora restaurant each one with room for six. The experience is more like glamping than Glasto, with curated artworks hanging on the inside of each canvas and some serious tablescaping to contend with, too. Outside your tent, fire pits are blazing – and chefs use the flames for some of the dishes. Pure fire.  

hawk's nest
hawk's nest
Photograph: Hawk’s Nest

Hawk’s Nest

Like many a cool thing in London, The Hawk’s Nest occupies a converted railway arch and goods yard. The indoor-outdoor space in Shepherd’s Bush has been decorated like a winter woodland and allows for 120 seated guests under its winter-ready roof. There are heaters, should you be worried about the chill, plus cocktails to warm the cockles including a Toffee Apple Mulled Cider. And just in time for Christmas, the Nest has launched its own Sunday market selling gifts from local makers.

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Crate Brewery

Bars and pubs Breweries Hackney Wick

Normally, this canalside spot is where you want to be in the summer, drinking brewery-fresh beers, boarding a cocktail canal barge and generally just soaking up the Hackney Wick waterside rays. But now it’s the place to be in winter. There are fire pits and little wooden shacks for shelter. Besides, those beers are great all year round.

german gymnasium
german gymnasium
Photograph: Thomas Alexander

German Gymnasium

Restaurants Contemporary European King’s Cross

If we told you this terrace was styled on the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ fairytale, you might wonder what happened to all that gingerbread and cake. Don’t worry, German Gymnasium is saving that for dessert. Instead, this pop up is modelled on the family home from the story, a woodcutter’s house. It’s a pretty luxe version, though, with garlands, festoon lighting and heaters and blankets to stave off the chill.  

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bluebird chelsea winter lodge
bluebird chelsea winter lodge
Photograph: Bluebird Chelsea

Bluebird

Restaurants Contemporary European King’s Road

Talk about a frosty reception at Chelsea hangout Bluebird. Its terrace has had a makeover to become a ‘White Wonderland’ dripping in faux icicles and silvery branches. Book a spot in a chalet, cover yourself with a sheepskin rug or cosy up to one of the heaters for warmth. And then order in the bubbly – Tattinger is doing a menu of celebration drinks for the season. 

aviary rooftop igloo
aviary rooftop igloo
Photograph: Aviary

Aviary

Restaurants Global Moorgate

Never did we want to seal our bubble off from the rest of the world more than we did this year. That’s why we welcome the return of the winter igloo to London’s dining scene. These ones at rooftop bar Aviary might be the most swanky of igloo offerings for the months ahead; some of them even have chaise longue seating. Good news if you like gin: they’re serving Tanqueray cocktails inside, with the option of going bottomless, too.

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Dinner, winter, terrace
Dinner, winter, terrace
Dalloway Terrace

Dalloway Terrace

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Bloomsbury

The outlook is frosty with a chance of vodka at Dalloway Terrace. The outdoor dining fixture at the Bloomsbury Hotel changes its look with the seasons – it’s just that chic. Live out your Doctor Zhivago fantasy by booking a table in among the white fronds and sheepskin furs. They’re serving everything out here, from breakfast and brunch through to afternoon tea – with Belvedere cocktails being poured regardless of the time of day.

Venue says In partnership with Belvedere Vodka, Dalloway Terrace has transformed into an enchanting winter forest this season.

Double Standard terrace
Double Standard terrace
Photograph: Double Standard

Double Standard

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars King’s Cross

While we’ll never forget the King’s Cross hotel bar for getting us through a very weird summer with ingenious Aperol slushies, it seems the terrace is here for us in all the seasons. For the colder months, it’s added a fire pit a million times better than the one you got for your garden via Amazon, plus sheepskins draped around the place for extra comfort. Who needs Aperol, anyway?

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Opso terrace
Opso terrace
Photograph: Opso

Opso

Restaurants Greek Marylebone

Ever heard of rakomelo? It’s a warm tipple that Opso is pitching as Greece’s answer to mulled wine. A visit to its covered outdoor terrace might not transport you to Athens itself, but dishes on the menu include mousaka, lamb shank and pork stifado. Pretty substantial stuff. Grab a seat next to a flickering flame heater, cover yourself with a blanket and order in a round of those drinks and your cockles will be rocked, Acropolis-style.

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