The best winter bars and terraces in London

Zoe Gunn

9 December 2021

London's premier winter hideaways, from alpine chalets to twinkling rooftop retreats

9 December 2021 | Zoe Gunn


n outdoor terrace? In winter? In the UK? After the trials and tribulations of being forced to eat outside during the pandemic, the thought of shivering through another night on the town might not seem like your idea of fun. But hear us out, because with plenty of experience now under their belts, London’s top hospitality venues are stepping up to the challenge of creating cosy chalets and heated rooftops that make for a memorable date night or perfect festive spot for dinner with friends. Here’s our guide to London’s best winter terraces and bars for 2021…

Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury

Since opening in 2017, Dalloway Terrace's seasonally changing terrace has become an Instagram staple, adjoined to The Bloomsbury hotel. The restaurant, which is named after Bloomsbury local Virginia Woolf’s best-known character, has been transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland, with seasonal foliage and twinkling lights. Seasonal fare includes a cheese fondue for two, or sample from the new Afternoon Tea and cocktails menus, created in collaboration with Miller Harris perfumes and Champagne Telmont. Dishes and drinks take their inspiration from classic scents, including rose, oud and citrus.

16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN,

Macallan Manor House at Rosewood London, Holborn

The Rosewood's Holborn Dining Room has been given an overhaul in collaboration with The Macallan whisky and takes the guise of a Scottish stately home this season, bringing an unlikely slice of Highland charm to High Holborn. Expect a bevy of tartan blankets and cosy interiors inspired by the rolling hills and copper-toned leaves found north of the border. The bountiful menu spans comforting dishes such as Cornish crab Thermidor tart and sticky toffee pudding, while a new Hot Toddy menu featuring The Macallan single malt whisky and Jing tea will take centre stage.

252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN,

No. Fifty Cheyne, Chelsea

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at No. Fifty Cheyne, which has adorned its pretty blue facade with festive garlands and fairy lights. Inside, the decorations continue with floral displays in autumnal colours, gold baubles and a large Christmas tree. The restaurant's cosy interiors and roaring fireplaces will make you want to settle in for good, and a look at the menu will be enough to convince you. Think venison loin and bolognaise with cavolo nero and pickled pear; roast turkey with all the trimmings; and raspberry and white chocolate souffle. Don't miss the Merry Mulled Cider, which is mulled for four days with port wine, agave, ginger, vanilla pods, seasonal spices, sliced citrus fruits and apples.

50 Cheyne Walk, SW3 5LR,

Corinthia London, Embankment

For those who usually head to the slopes at Christmas, Corinthia London’s alpine-themed Winter Garden should help fill the après-ski-shaped hole in your life. From early December, the hotel’s al fresco restaurant, The Garden, will be redecorated for the festive season with alpaca blankets, glittering snow globes and two roaring fireplaces to keep you warm. Guests can enjoy a winter menu of tartiflette, lobster Thermidor and root vegetable stroganoff, as well as a selection of hot chocolates and warm spiced Negroni cocktails.

Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD,

100 Wardour Street, Soho

Soho’s 100 Wardour Street has partnered with Belvedere vodka to bring you the Winter Forest, a magical pop-up bar serving cocktails under snow-topped trees bedecked with fairy lights. Take your pick from a list of winter-themed drinks, including Sleigh the Day (Belvedere blackberry and lemongrass vodka, Chambord, Strega and lime) and Naughty but Nice (Belvedere, white cacao liquor, cold brew liquor, Baileys and whipped cream).

100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN,

Aqua Kyoto, Soho

Opting to take the colours of autumn through the colder months, Aqua Kyoto’s new Fuyu Terrace has been designed to make the most of winter’s golden hour with silk maple leaves and an abundance of fairy lights. On the menu are a host of warming new whisky cocktails, including the Shiso Sour, a blend of Singleton whisky, shiso leaves, lime juice and sugar syrup (recommended to pair with salmon and tuna sashimi) and a Fuyu Old Fashioned which can be personalised with your choice of whisky from the bar’s extensive selection.

240 Regent Street, W1B 3BR,

The Berkeley, Knightsbridge

Offering what promises to be London’s most romantic winter date spot, you’ll have to book fast to secure a table in one of The Berkeley’s five cosy cabins. Decked out in festive wreaths, lanterns, candles and fairy lights, snuggle up under a blanket while tucking into a menu of hearty alpine-inspired fare, including a ‘cook-your-own’ raclette grill, oxtail soup with Gruyère croûte and apple tarte tatin.

Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL,

Coq d’Argent, Bank

Didn’t manage to get a spot at The Berkeley? Head, instead, to the City’s Coq d’Argent which has restyled itself as Lodge d’Argent for the winter season, offering a series of alpine chalets available for exclusive use. Created in partnership with Hennessy, a menu of bespoke cocktails including a spiked hot chocolate, Coq Toddy and French Manhattan, will be served alongside indulgent alpine bar snacks, such as charcuterie, pomme frites, waffles and macarons.

1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ,

Flat Iron Square, Borough

Southwark’s popular Flat Iron Square eating and drinking venue has teamed up with Ciroc to transform into a Scandi-inspired winter garden for 2021. Revolving around the Ciroc Chalet, where limited-edition winter cocktails will be in hot demand, the main square will offer DJs on Saturday nights, live music from Das Brass and an eclectic range of foodie options from Smoke & Bones, Breddos, Mother Clucker, Rainbo and more. For those after something a little more intimate, a number of heated booths will be available to pre-book for private celebrations.

Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD,

Four Seasons Park Lane, Mayfair

The year-round terrace at the Four Seasons hotel on Park Lane will be home to one of London’s best Christmas trees this year, making it the perfect spot for indulging in some festive cheer. The menu, similarly, has undergone a transformation, with comforting classics such as Lancashire hotpot, pork shoulder cassoulet and veal Scotch eggs added to the terrace’s usual menu of crowd-pleasing grills, steaks and salads.

Hamilton Place, W1J 7DR,

Madison, St Paul's

London has many rooftops but few offer such enviable views as Madison – which overlooks St Paul’s Cathedral with panoramas across the river and City skyscape. This winter it has partnered with Bulleit Bourbon to create A Miracle on the Rooftop, where visitors can sip limited-edition whisky cocktails to a soundtrack of a live orchestra or late-night DJs in a space decked out in oversized baubles and a shedload of Christmas trees.

One New Change, EC4M 9AF,

The Mandrake, Fitzrovia

The hip Mandrake hotel in Fitzrovia has given its perennially popular Jurema terrace a festive makeover for winter, with the chic wooden space decked out in foliage weaved with twinkling fairy lights and a show-stopping Christmas tree. The new decor will also be accompanied by a selection of seasonal dishes, such as duck and chickpea empanada and sweet potato and aji amarillo, while mulled wine and hot toddies will join a menu of warming winter cocktails.

20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG,

Alice in Winterland at Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch

Need a night off from Christmas carols and tinsel? East London's Queen of Hoxton has created a seasonal terrace with a difference in its Alice in Winterland pop-up. Hosted beneath an enormous domed wigwam hung with psychedelic Alice in Wonderland-inspired paraphernalia, cosy up by the firepit while perusing a menu of signature cocktails which take their cues from the beloved children’s book. Our pick? The Jam Jam Jabberwocky: Beefeater gin, Kopparberg gin, Select aperitivo, lemon, apple and raspberry.

1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX,

Willows on the Roof, Oxford Street

High above the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, Willows on the Rooftop offers a moment of respite from its perch on top of John Lewis. Created by the Night Tales team, with a food and drink offering from Giz’n’Green, it offers chalet-style cabins, as well as heated terrace seating and a number of private areas available for hire. Head here to refuel during your Christmas shopping spree with signature pizzas, wings and a cocktail or two.

300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX,

Read more: The best festive events in London