12 of London’s best rooftop bars
The sun’s out and that means two things and two things only for the people of London: it’s time to moan about how hot the tube is and time to scout out the best rooftop bars (so you can moan about how hot the tube is with a beer in hand). Grab your mates because at these rooftop bars, the sky’s the limit.
The clue’s in the name and no, this place doesn’t leave you with a painful aftermath (unless you fall down the solid concrete stairs – descend with diligence after a few rooftop beers). Instead, you’ll find panoramic views of London whilst you perch on the grassy seating area, with a beer in hand, brandishing the bar’s very own dog. It’s enough to make anyone’s tail wag.
Location: 1 Westgate St, London, E8 3RL
2. Franks Cafe
You might want to forget taking your grandma for a trip to this hotspot as she’ll be disappointed by the lack of tea and scones that this cafe serves up. If you’ve never been then prepare yourself to think pink as you ascend London’s most Instagrammable staircase. A converted car park, this bar is a firm favourite amongst all rooftop worshipers – you just car-n’t miss out.
Location: Peckham Levels, London, SE15 4ST
You can expect a royal good time at Hoxton’s rooftop bar, especially if you’re a fan of themes and wacky, nonsensical items. The Queen of Hoxton regularly gives their rooftop a spruce, and has seen people rubbing shoulders with Mexican wrestlers, and even hosting ‘wedding ceremonies’ in their Las Vegas-themed love chapel. Lucky for some who had one too many shots of vodka, these weddings weren’t legitimate. Look out for events such as outdoor movies and rooftop yoga.
Location: 1-5 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London, EC2A 3JX
With one of London’s most picturesque views, this snazzy rooftop bar overlooks St Pauls Cathedral. It’s a little on the expensive side but no one’s complaining when their Instagram has the mother church peeping in the background.
Location: Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, London, EC4M 9AF
5. Roof East
Never shy of a lick of colour, this bouncing rooftop is London’s greatest playground for adults. Expect crazy golf, bowling and VR-influenced football. This rooftop bar really is a whole different ball game to the rest.
Location: 7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car PArk, Great Eastern Rd, London, E15 1BB
For bounds of fun, this classy rooftop, sprinkled with greenery is a tranquil place for a rooftop cocktail. If you’re a sucker for fairy lights, enjoyment is 100% guaranteed.
Location: 2-4 Boundary St, Hackney, London, E2 7DD
7. Big Chill
If you’re more of a ‘hotdogs and trainers’ than ‘caviar and Louis Vuittons’ type of person then no rooftop is more welcoming than the Big Chill. This year, they’ve opted for a pink colour-theme, meaning positive vibes only as you head to the rooftop with your invisible rose-tinted glasses on.
Location: 257-259 Pentonville Rd, London, N1 9NL
This bird-themed rooftop restaurant and bar nests in Finsbury Square and has a lot of people raven about it. Service is im-peck-able and with a phenomenal view of London, you’re sure to have an experience which is far from un-pheasant. What the cluck are you waiting for?!
Location: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1DX
9. Coq d’Argent
Ooo la la, this French restaurant takes the win for its greenery with its grassy rooftop. Not only do you get great views of the city from this flying garden, but being in the centre of it all means you’re in close proximity to all the London greats including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Southbank. Did someone say bar crawl?
Location: 1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ
10. The Culpeper
This rooftop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and take in the herbs (no – not that kind of herb). Named after herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (ironically his real name given the rooftop he inspired really does grow herbs and vegetables, including peppers), this idiosyncratic bar paves the way for going green by promoting sustainability and growing the very herbs and vegetables they serve to customers.
Location: 40 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London, E1 6LP
With hanging plants above your head, you almost feel like you’ve stepped into the belly of a garden (in a non-creepy way). It’s a refreshing change to London’s smokey sky and as one of the larger venues, it’s one to bring all your mates too.
Location: 5 Kingdom St, Paddington, London, W2 6PY
12. Bar Elba
Inspired by Napoleon’s exile, which left him on the Mediterranean island of Elba which he took a small handful of 600 of his mates to so they could spend their days partying, this rooftop is a chilled snippet of paradise in the hectic city.
Location: Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, London, SE1 8UL
What are you waiting for? Grab your sunnies and head up to those rooftops!