In this article, we dive into the top 10 rooftop and sky bars in London. London tends to be digested via two very different aesthetics: royal properties and lavish stone buildings, or cozy wood-paneled pubs and chic cafés with flowery décor. What we should recall are the spaces in-between – quaint rooftops and sleek sky-high spaces that overlook the city in its entirety. Fortunately, there are plenty of bars and restaurants with open-air access to feed both our eyes and our stomachs simultaneously.
Without further ado, we present our top 10 rooftop and sky bars in London. Pencil in your hours of wonder.
- The Boundary
Break boundaries at this Shoreditch hotel where the rooftop has transformed into a Mediterranean getaway. The citrusy and herb-scented cuisine permeates through the expansive space of the innovative warehouse project; it is after all, a hotel, restaurant, bakery and bar combined. Only up top however do you get the lightly-colored wooden flooring and white-cushioned seats, separated by planters and a smoking log heater.
Try and poach what sunshine you can since the deck is open year-round whilst discussing ways that London balances between gentrification and authenticity. Drink in sights of East London from the outdoor terrace or through the sleek glass-wrapped lounge, splitting a bottle of Languedoc Minervois in conversation. Seasonal signatures like Regal #12 and refreshing Passion Mint goes for ₤12; hot cocktails take rum, whisky and vodka as base to warm your body.
Address: 2-4 Redchurch Street, London
- Sushisamba Bar
Talk about being sky-high! Sushisamba is poised on the 38th floor of Heron Tower in all its fusion glory. Like the name suggests, you can expect a quirky Japanese-Brazilian blend of food and style, starting with a massive tree sculpture in the center of the terrace and a circular bar around it. If you’re hoping for view though, this suntrap of an outdoor space has nothing on the interior bar on the 39th floor. Flirting with a semi-formal dress code, this snazzier setting features the Thames and the Gherkin as backdrop.
The price range isn’t as high as you’d expect from a mostly-suits crowd, with signature drinks averaging ₤13 each. Snag a nashi martini as the Japanese-flavored lychee and plum wine base adds an intense fruity tinge, or try their refreshing kaffir lime leaf-infused caipirinha. Complete the order with a sample of their fusion snack foods.
Address: 110 Bishopsgate, London
- The Culpeper
The Culpeper is a quintessential British pub with an unexpected green thumb. Its aesthetics are all brick walling, grungy metal and wood furnishing, warm lamps and in the winter, complete with fireplaces and soft blankets. The deep green accents of the rooftop space are a reflection of the pub’s sustainability efforts; any food grown in that urban garden is used in the restaurant below. Combining distinctive style, community-based business and spectacular views of the metropolitan, The Culpeper is a top London pick.
The menu is seasonal but you can count on two consistent suppliers: Maison SASSY for ciders and MONS for their cheese. Fruity and light wines are house favorites, although you can expect a wide range of cocktails. Because the menu changes up so often, you may as well ask the bartender to whip you a surprise and order home-sourced snacks to round off the night.
Address: 40 Commercial Street, London
- Queen of Hoxton
Forget classy and jump straight into the wacky because there’s no bar more colorful and lively as The Queen of Hoxton. The bar sheds its costume every season; it could be lit up with a neon glow and fairy lights like a midsummer’s night dream-slash-rave venue, or dressed in an explosive luchador-inspired fluorescent palette. Events are expected, from musical gigs to impromptu wrestling rings. If you fancy some adventure, this is the place to be.
Drinks of course are made to match the theme and season, but those preferring classic flavors (and names) can grab cocktails from the ground floor instead. Prices average around ₤7 although heavier duty drinks such as Tequila Pineapple Sour and layered Peachy Keen tends to be priced higher. Still, the variety of flavors racks up points so choose your combination of tropic, sour, sharp or flowery.
Address: 1 Curtain Road, London
- Radio at ME London
City people will love the Radio’s convenient access, sitting smackdab in city center along Aldwych and the Strand. Hotel affiliations mean you get to enjoy the sights in pampered comfort, retractable awning allowing you to feel the outdoors during good weather. Nestle into the low but smoothly-textured sofas and cleverly partitioned seating areas and point out the landmarks. Waterloo Bridge, the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square are all part of the package.
Split a bottle of wine over a sharing platter if you’re entertaining as a group, champagnes if you’re a romantic dinner out. The experimental cocktails are where magic happen so try the forest-inspired Apple and Wood or grapefruit and honeybush infused Springbok Fever. There are plenty of other mysterious categories too, like the Prohibited series.
Address: ME London, 366-337 The Strand, London
- 12th Knot at Sea Containers London
If the waterfront location doesn’t give it away, 12th Knot bar’s apt name confirms the nautical theme. Presenting floor-to-ceiling glass walls in buzzy Southbank, we don’t need more reasons to drop by. You can choose to stay within the velveteen interior or get close and personal with your companion along the stretched out terrace. St Paul’s glimmers in close proximity if you need even more bedazzlement.
The refreshing cocktail menu is crafted for balmy summer evenings; the Away From the Craze a citrusy kicker mixed with quality gin, lavender port wine and cacao nibbles. You’ll find drinks inspired by history like The Thousand, while Milky Whey Colada is a toast to the limitless possibilities technology brings. Drinks do cost an average ₤14 to match the elegant setting. Definitely high on the list of top 10 rooftop and sky bars in London.
Address: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London
- The Tankard
The Tankard is for the cultural-hearted, packaged with its patterned walls, bright red trimmings and soft browns of its furnishings. A nod towards Kennington’s colorful music hall history, this pub was also once the home grounds of Charlie Chaplin – theatrics that continue to live on via the striking décor. Indeed, head up to the roof terrace and its mass of festoon lights and you’ll find that this old-school beer house is still the heart of the party.
Forget fancy cocktails and dive into the British classic: beer. The colossal selection of beers is top-notch, drawing from the small but quality Magic Rock, Northern Monk and Gypsy Hill breweries alongside richer lagers and American pale ales. We recommend browsing the menu on beer and cheese pairings to bring out the best of both worlds.
Address: 111 Kennington Road, London
- Pergola Paddington Central
Let us confirm that it’s all about the sun at Pergola Paddington Central if the two-storied sprawl of communal benches isn’t sign enough. Leafy tendrils wrap around the glass roofing for a dash of color; the gravel flooring can be navigated via boardwalks. Book a daybed if you need somewhere to lounge or drop by for the weekend DJs. Pergola offers space to catch up and chill out.
Your drinks menu is generous, running from wines red and white, rosés, draught brews and ciders, spirits and simple serves. It caters to all seasons too; Mulled Cider, Sloe Toddy, New Fashioned and English 75 are all winter warmers. It’s no wallet-breaker either so even budgeters will have a blast unwinding here.
Address: 5 Kingdom Street, London
- Aqua London
Aqua London might offer three terraces but its views are surprisingly not the main allure. The outdoor spaces bookend a Japanese restaurant; its dark wooden deck makes sunset a stunningly moody experience. Afterwards, hit up the chic interior bar for more ideal people watching.
What really justify the price tag are the boozy offers. While the classic cocktails are executed perfectly, what you want to try are the Japanese-inspired drinks! The Clover Club is the go-to if you have simple tastes; or a more playful banana and yuzu sake combination, order the Yuzuana Bellini. What a honeyed yet smoky drink? Give the vodka-based Jasmine of the Valley a try. El Toro is best suited for those who prefer bitters and tonics.
Address: 240 Regent Street, Soho, London
- Bar Elba
When you have a space named after the island Napoleon was exiled to with a few hundred mates, you probably weren’t expecting the graffiti-strewn Bar Elba. It’s also a voluntary escape comprised of open terrace and a covered, colorful interior where bartenders do tricks and shaker flips. It’s made for social gatherings and a frequent host for brunches and rooftop movies.
Enjoy salt-rimmed spritzers in fish-bowl glasses, watermelon slush and lemony cocktails. The bar is color in long-stemmed glasses and heavy glass jugs, featuring mint sprigs and flower petals alike. Pop in during the seven-day happy hour and line your stomach with gravy-dipped burgers. There’s truly something for everyone.
Address: 109-117 Waterloo Road, London
TheTravelGang hopes that this list of top 10 rooftop and sky bars in London will lead you to the right one!