ondon comes alive in the sunshine and, whether you're making the most of some early spring warmth or soaking up the rays in the height of summer, every Brit knows it pays to embrace every opportunity for a dose of Vitamin D while you can. Luckily the capital is home to more than its fair share of al fresco restaurants and bars promising stellar views combined with great food and even better cocktails. So where should you be heading this heatwave? Read on for our guide to London's best rooftop bars – but be quick: tables are already booking up fast.
The Dorchester, Mayfair
Following a successful debut in 2021, The Dorchester Rooftop will return this season showcasing the expertise of the award-winning Bar at The Dorchester team. The lounge-style bar will see head bartenders Giuliano Morandin and Lucia Montanelli relocate to the ninth floor, with a fresh cocktail menu created in collaboration with Courvoisier and seasonal bar snacks including Wagyu sliders, vegan mac and cheese and oysters. There will also be live music, immersive art installations and, of course, some seriously stunning views.
Address: Park Lane, W1K 1QA
Belgravia's coolest new hang-out spot Pantechnicon, which blends Japanese and Nordic cultures to offer an enticing array of bars, restaurants and co-working spaces, is also one of London's newest places for a sky-high tipple. Its oasis-like roof garden boasts both an open terrace and glass-covered area festooned with foliage, making it perfect in every weather. Food takes its cues from New Nordic cuisine, featuring the likes of aquavit cured beef, lamb croquettes and cod with smoked cream, while resident mixologist Siggi Strarup Sigurðsson shakes up unusual serves, such as Nordic Snow (rye whiskey, salty liquorice and goat cheese) and Pickled Martini (aquavit, smoke pasilla and pickled brine).
Address: 19 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8LB
Booking Office 1869, St Pancras
A roof terrace located between two of London's busiest transport hubs may not sound like the place to while away a sunny afternoon, but the latest addition to St Pancras' Booking Office 1869 bar and restaurant is just the thing for pre-Eurostar libations. High above the hustle and bustle going on below, RoofGarden is al fresco spot decked out in lush greenery and comfy sofa-style seating, with a menu led by classic cocktails and a considered selection of light and refreshing wines and beers. There's also an extensive range of bar snacks on offer, featuring the likes of salt cod croquettes, calamari and cured salmon with potato rosti.
Address: Euston Road, NW1 2AR
The Nest at Treehouse London, Fitzrovia
Overshadowed somewhat by its more famous neighbour across the road, The Langham, the Treehouse Hotel is something of a hidden gem in central London. The jewel in its crown is the Nest, a rooftop bar and terrace boasting 360-degree views of the London skyline. This summer it's teamed up with quintessentially British gin brand Sipsmith to form The Swan's Nest, a playful concept created in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and celebrating all things British: expect Father's Day masterclasses, Wimbledon screenings and a special Sipsmith cocktail menu. Ours is a Peachy Swan (Sipsmith sipping vodka, Creme de Peche, pink grapefruit cordial, citrus and soda).
Address: 14-15 Langham Place, W1B 2QS
The Prince, West Brompton
Set across three floors in what was once a traditional British pub, The Prince is an open-air epicurean playground offering a vast array of drinking and dining options. Styled as a classic English garden, complete with floral walls, barrel tables and fairy light-strewn verandas, The Prince is leant a village feel thanks to its row of foodie pop-ups, including Nonna Madonna, Boludo, Rudie’s and Filth&Co. There’s also a summery cocktail list while the open-plan rooftop venue is well set-up to cater to summer’s sporting events. We’ll see you at the bar.
Address: 14 Lillie Rd, Hammersmith, SW6 1TT
Lost In Brixton, Brixton
Hidden atop Brixton Market and away from the hustle and bustle of the high street below, Lost In Brixton has been conceived to bring together the best of Brixton’s diverse hospitality scene in one place. Beers come courtesy of Camden Town Brewery while the cocktail menu takes a Latin American twist (the Pear Pisco Sour and Spiced Pineapple Punch are our favourites). Food, meanwhile, is delivered to tables directly from the restaurants of Brixton Village downstairs, with fare on offer from Fish, Wings & Tings, Black Bear Burger, Champagne + Fromage and many more.
Address: Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS
Perched on top of the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel in Finsbury Square is one of London’s most lavish rooftops dedicated to decadence. Offering unbeatable views over the City, the Aviary team is helping guests make the most of its vast outdoor space come rain or shine with a series of ‘igloos’ styled as elegant private dining rooms and cocktail lounges for the ultimate in outdoor celebrations. Accordingly, they book up fast but, if you didn’t organise yourself in time, Aviary’s menu of grill classics, bar snacks and signature cocktails is also served on the restaurant's open terrace. Our is a Kanpai: Haku vodka, banana liqueur, chai tea syrup, rose water, lemon juice and cranberry bitters.
Address: 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
Few spots showcase just how much the City skyline has changed in the past decade better than Boundary Rooftop. Situated on an achingly cool corner of Redchurch Street, just up from Shoreditch House, Boundary’s Rooftop restaurant is typically open all year round, thanks to a weatherproof pergola and a shed-load of heaters. For spring and summer it offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu, with grilled meats, simple salads, and mezzes of olives, tapenades and charcuterie fuelling revelers. Weather looking less than spectacular? Book a table in the orangery for cocktails in comfort.
Address: 2-4 Boundary Street, Hackney, E2 7DD
Seabird at The Hoxton, Southwark
Positioned on the 14th floor of The Hoxton hotel in Southwark, guests flock to Seabird for its al fresco terrace, marble tabletops, palm trees and panoramic views, with the Thames, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's and The Shard all in scope. The restaurant was designed by the team behind Williamsburg’s acclaimed seafood restaurant Maison Premiere and serves a similarly cool combo of oysters and atmosphere.
Alongside lavish seafood platters and the longest list of oysters in London, Seabird's menu reels off whole grilled fish, Iberico pork, rib-eye steak and spiced aubergine, while sophisticated cocktails make it the perfect date night spot. The weekend brunch is a popular affair, with no less than five Bloody Mary options and a zesty marmalade-infused Bucks Fizz.
Address: The Hoxton, Southwark, 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8PB
Aqua Kyoto, Soho
The outdoor terrace at Aqua Kyoto is often overlooked in round-ups of the capital’s best rooftop bars – which is surprising given that the ritzy restaurant is a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus and offers some top views of central London. Aqua Kyoto's heated terrace is available for booking and on a walk-in basis. Food (upscale Japanese) is served at lunch Monday to Fridays and for dinner from Monday-Sunday while brunch is available all weekend and a full bar is operated throughout. As a sundowner, Luxury London recommends the Kyoto Calling – Aluna coconut rum, Pampero rum, pineapple juice and vanilla bitters. Cheers.
Address: 30 Argyll Street, W1F 7EB, W1B 3BR
Radio Rooftop, Strand
On a warm day, Radio Rooftop is like a slice of Ibiza at the top of the ME London hotel: all minimalist monochrome decor and white leather sofas, with slow house music and wafting palms. Drinks prices also match the White Isle, with cocktails starting at £18 and bottles of champagne from £93, steadily climbing to £5,750 for a jeroboam of Cristal Louis Roederer 1998. For a glamorous start to the day, try the weekend brunch menu – served against panoramic views of the Shard and St Paul’s – or for something really special book one of Radio Rooftop's three 'bubbles'. Decked out with sofas and electric fires, there's no chicer place to sip champagne and sup on pan con tomate and seafood platters.
Address: 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
Alto by San Carlo at Selfridges, Marylebone
What's your favourite summer al fresco activity? If shopping and socialising appear near the top of your list, then satisfy both cravings at Selfridges, where you can bargain hunt in the seasonal sales before getting your Aparello spritz fix at rooftop restaurant and terrace Alto by San Carlo.
The shop-top sanctuary, which has a fully retractable roof in case the heavens open, serves hearty Italian food seven days a week. Outside, Alto’s landscaped terrace is decked with lounge seating, cabanas and four dine-in huts to cater to whatever mood you're in. Shop until you drop then take a lift upwards for a sky-high slice of little Italy.
Address: 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1A 1AB
Coq d’Argent, City of London
A titbit of Square Mile trivia: Poultry, the short street opposite Bank Station, takes its name from the produce that was sold there in the 16th century. The same goes for nearby Bread Street and Milk Street. Fitting, then, that the restaurant at the top of No.1 Poultry, one of London’s most divisive postmodernist buildings, should call itself Coq d’Argent – or Silver Rooster.
The City suntrap offers tables for up to six on its outside terrace for lunch and dinner from Monday to Sunday while the restaurant’s three-course brunch will also be operating every Saturday and Sunday. Menu highlights include grilled yellow fin tuna with ratatouille and basil pesto, duck liver ballotine with fig chutney and a very French take on strawberries and cream. Pinstripe suits not required.
Address: 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Skylight at Tobacco Dock may not be the most luxurious rooftop bar on this list, but it does offer unparalleled views of the City's skyline. Spread over three floors of a multistorey car park-turned-events space in Wapping, it boasts three bars and a street food menu, which this year includes American-style mac 'n' cheese, poutine, tartiflette and quinoa burgers. Major sporting events are shown on large undercover screens and there are also Instagram-friendly croquet and petanque lawns.
Address: Tobacco Dock, St Katharine's & Wapping, E1W 2SF
Garden Terrace at The Hari, Knightsbridge
One of London's better-kept secrets, The Hari hotel in Knightsbridge boasts an intimate, open-air garden terrace with a slick retractable roof. Tastefully trimmed with foliage and hanging lanterns, the space comfortably seats 20 and can be booked out for private events. The Hari's cool, contemporary interiors stand out against the postcode’s more traditional offerings, while an extensive cocktail list and a menu focusing on light, bright flavours, with stand-out dishes including Maldon oysters, gyoza, Korean chicken and baked paccheri.
Address: 20 Chesham Place, SW1X 8HQ
Coal Office, King's Cross
Officially opening on 16 June in collaboration with Italicus, the terrace at the Coal Office in King's Cross takes its cues from the Middle Eastern fare offered inside, with an unusual cocktail list boasting treats such as a Tea Kar Highball (vodka, passion fruit wine, Suze aperitif, lemon and cloud and iced tea) and Kafurita (tequila, maraschino, pomegranate, pink rhubarb granita). There will also be a menu of snacks and small plates while every Monday night the terrace will come alive with music for a roster of carefully chosen DJs and live musicians.
Address: 2 Bagley Walk, N1C 4PQ
12th Knot at Sea Containers London, Southwark
12th Knot is perched in a glass box atop Sea Containers London, the Tom Dixon-designed hotel on the Southbank. Verdant greenery, velvet furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows accompany iconic vistas of The Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral. Nab a seat on the open-air terrace and work your way through the cocktail menu, served with a selection of sophisticated grazing plates.
Location: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD