As we enter the summer months and restrictions are finally lifted, it’s a glorious time to explore the capital city – and of course, sit back and relax in its most beautiful rooftop bars with a drink in hand, marvelling at the view.
Whether it’s an exclusive party you’re looking for, or a more relaxed evening with friends, there’s an alfresco spot to suits all occasions, from the north of the river to the south.
To help you find those beautiful hotspots, London apartment rental brand, Essential Living, has pulled together the top 10 best rooftop bars across the capital.
1. Aqua Spirit, SOHO
The former Dickins & Jones department store has been transformed, housing the trendy Aqua Spirit restaurant and bar. Entrance to their terrace area is on a first-come, first-served basis, and it’s no surprise that it fills up quickly.
It’s the perfect retreat after a day in the office or wandering the shops – the bartenders use only the finest of ingredients and spirits to mix up your favourite classics (and new ones too). The spot is especially beautiful at night with the glow of Soho and Mayfair rooftops.
Address: 5th Floor, 30 Argyll St, London W1F 7EB
2. Coq D’Argent, BANK
A popular choice for after-work drinks in the centre of the city, Coq D’Argent is a splendidly green garden spot atop the D&D London restaurant.
The bar-restaurant emanates French chic, with an eclectic food menu (including gluten-free and vegan options), and a lavish wine list. Wander through the garden and bask in the sun, taking in the views of St Paul’s, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Address: 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ
3. Lyric, Hammersmith
If you’re heading to the theatre, Lyric has its very own rooftop garden bar so you can enjoy a pre-or post-theatre drink.
The trendy space doesn’t compromise on foliage and big plants, offering a relaxing haven away from the streets of Hammersmith below. You may find you end up staying here during the whole interval too.
Address: Lyric Square, London W6 0QL
4. Prince of Wales, Hammersmith
Heading to Brixton’s Prince of Wales is the perfect way to kickstart the weekend. With just the right balance of party atmosphere and socialising, the rooftop terrace is always buzzing with people.
Weekdays are more chilled but the bar really thrives come Friday with its weekend DJ sets. If you can’t get to a festival over the summer, this may be your next best choice.
Address: 14 Lillie Rd, London SW6 1TT
5. Radio Rooftop Bar At Me London, The Strand
Located ten floors up at the ME London hotel, Radio Rooftop Bar has an effortlessly stylish aura that’s a nod to the clubbing scene of Ibiza
Enjoy a selection of classic tapas dishes, each of which comes with a twist (such as black olive and bitter chocolate tapenade), and toast to the evening with one of their speciality gin and tonics. If it wasn’t for the stunning panoramic views across the city, you might just forget you’re in London.
Address: 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA
6. Rumpus Room, Mondrian Hotel
Although it may be small in size, the outdoor area of Rumpus Room more than makes up for that with its panoramic views over the London skyline and its delicious drinks menu. Due to its Southbank location, the bar is an idyllic spot to look out across the Thames and escape the everyday bustle of the streets below.
Address: Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD
7. Sushisamba, Bishopgate
The Heron Tower in Bishopsgate may not look the most stylish of skyscrapers, but located thirty-nine stories up is the terrace bar for SUSHISAMBA – a Japanese, Brazilian, Peruvian fusion bar.
The glamorous decor and glorious views over London make the restaurant-bar a popular choice around the clock. With an impressive cocktail list crafted by star bartender Richard Woods, you can experience creative flavour combinations that perfectly complement the cuisine.
Address: Heron Tower, London EC2N 4AY
8. The Culpeper, Spitalfields
This chilled pub is the number-one choice for locals and people working in the area alike, due to its expansive collection of beers on tap and its menu of no-nonsense pub food. But it’s the upstairs terrace that makes it particularly special.
Venture to the top of the Victorian building to find a greenhouse and garden dining area, complete with a well-stocked bar and wood-fired grill. Since it’s named after Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th-century herbalist, you can expect plenty of plant-based cocktail concoctions at The Culpeper. The rooftop also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including astronomy classes and gardening workshops.
Address: 40 Commercial St, London E1 6LP
9. Vista at the Trafalgar Hotel, Trafalgar Square
There’s no better way to experience the heart of London from above than at Vista. At the top of Trafalgar Hotel, the rooftop bar overlooks the bustling Trafalgar Square, with views right from the Horse Guards Parade to the National Gallery.
Famed for its quintessential Britishness, the bar serves plenty of Pimm’s cocktails and speciality G&Ts, with a dash of everyone’s favourite summer berries.
Address: 2 Spring Gardens Trafalgar Square, London SW1A 2TS
10. Bussey Rooftop Bar, The Bussey Building
Transforming into a colourful oasis for summer, Bussey Rooftop Bar offers a unique drinking and dining experience in the heart of South London.
Perched at the top of the iconic Bussey Building, Bussey Rooftop Bar literally stands above the rest as the highest drinking hot spot in Peckham, offering delicious cocktails, seasonal bites and unrivalled 360-degree views of London’s dazzling skyline.
Address: Roof B Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST