We spend all day writing about London’s vibrant culinary scene, from the best places for bao to the finest afternoon tea experiences. But come the summer time, like everyone in London, we long to find that one perfect alfresco spot that’s buzzy and brilliant, and there are several spots that keep the Handbook team coming back for more. 

From the hottest new rooftop in East London to unfussy multi storey car parks-turned-rooftop-bars, these are the spots you’ll find the Handbook office reclining at, cocktail in hand.


Alfresco dining doesn’t come much better than Seabird. Hidden above The Hoxton Southwark, this rooftop serves up seafood delights and is home to London’s longest oyster list, marble raw bar and views that look out over the city. 

Head here for cocktail memories or book in for a dinner to sample a few of their legendary oysters and delicious sharing boards of whole boneless sea bass with smoked honey butter and mojo verde or whole lobster rice with manchego and porto blanco.



The Lighterman

If anywhere in London screams summer it’s Coal Drops Yard. Tucked away in King’s Cross, the space is home to so much vibrance and activity in the summer months, from the giant cinema screen on the canal to the flurry of alfresco dining spots. Our favourite? The Lighterman, the three floor restaurant-turned-bar that’s handily located on the riverside.

Here you’ll find multiple alfresco dining areas, each serving up great food and drinks for all to enjoy. Order something fresh from their British influenced menu, from salads to artisan cured meats, hot smoked salmon flatbreads to char-grilled Castlemead chicken breast, before spending the evening sipping cocktails at sunset. 


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3 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH 


The Rooftop at One Hundred Shoreditch

New kid on the block, The Rooftop at One Hundred Shoreditch recently opened its doors and it already has East Londoners queuing round the corner. The venue serves up immaculate alfresco vibes, from dreamy baby pink interiors to the best views this side of the capital. 

Grab a table and sit back as you relax to the sound of Latin dance music filling up the space, order a round of their signature margaritas and soak up the sunset at this special spot.

100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JQ


Lost in Brixton

Lose yourself in the magic of Brixton’s hidden rooftop terrace this summer. Lost in Brixton is a giant alfresco venue that serves up some of the best buzzy vibes in the capital, from Latin American inspired cocktails and local craft beers to boot to DJ sets and live music to fuel you into the early hours of the morning. 

Wash your cocktails down with food from Brixton market’s street food vendors, including dishes such as vegi roti with chickpeas, potatoes, string beans, pumpkin and kuchela; smoked bay back ribs; brisket burger with cheese, pink pickled onions and garlic mayo; and salmon panache with creme fraiche, salmon, rocker, egg and horseradish.

Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS 


Somerset House Terrace Bar

Riverside views? Check. Summer vibes? Check. Great beer? Triple check. Somerset House has welcomed the return of the Terrace Bar with San Miguel, offering Londoners a space to feel like they’ve been whisked off to the Spanish isles without the epic journey. 

While away your sunny day under the giant canopy tent, sipping refreshing beer and tucking into tapas. They’ve even got great cocktails on offer too, including the San Miguel Sundown Spritz – perfect for enjoying at sunset.

South Wing at Somerset Terrace, Strand, WC2R 1LA 



The dining experience everyone needs to try, Chameleon is a Tel Avivian inspired restaurant serving up sharing style dishes and beautiful interiors. Outside you’ll find their garden terrace named God’s Garden, home to cosy vibes and heaters and blankets for when the weather turns cool. As well as their nine Greenhouses, each individually-styled and offering some of the best Instagram moments you’ll want to snap up. 

1 Marylebone Road, NW1 4AQ


Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

If you can’t make it over to their stunning Richmond venue, look to Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden restaurant instead. The outdoor terrace is truly sensational. In keeping with their outdoorsy ethos, expect plenty of greenery and plants to lose yourself in – close your eyes and you can even imagine you’re in the countryside rather than London’s centre… 

Great for lunch time catch-ups when Mum is in town or for a pre-theatre dinner before heading to your favourite show.

27 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DS



East Londoners will already know about this hidden gem but D&D’s Haugen is the ultimate alpine-inspired restaurant we love. 

From live music every Thursday through to Sunday to their legendary off piste brunch on Saturdays, there’s something for everyone. Grab a seat, sip cocktails and look out over Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

9 Endeavour Square, E20 1JN 



Fancy being whisked off to the Med in an instant? Now you can thanks to AllBright and their latest summer terrace makeover.

The female members’ club is home to two secluded rooftop terraces. They’ve partnered with Malfy Gin and Petra Palumbo homemade to bring the Mediterranean to the heart of Mayfair.

Spend your weekend sipping on refreshing cocktails complete with an Italian twist and pair them with AllBright’s resident head chef Carlos Pinerez’s dishes.




Sabine became an instant favourite when it opened its doors last summer, and it’s hardly surprising when it’s a rooftop that looks out over St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Home to a sky high dining and a glass domed roof, the bar is filled with botanical inspired plants and interiors, and this theme leaks into the cocktail menu too.

You’ll find them serving up a selection of small plates, from butternut and sage arancini with spiced pumpkin puree to chipotle and garlic chicken with spring onion and cilantro, as well as seriously good cocktails to pair alongside.




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Merging beautiful British seasonal ingredients with Italian flavours and techniques, Luca is a prime spot in Clerkenwell for laidback dining. Their terrace though is where the magic happens. Seating up to 18 guests, dine alfresco in their foliage-filled space, abrim with olive trees and jasmine for a night to remember. 

If the weather isn’t holding out, the terrace roof retracts, easily keeping you dry and warm from the drizzle going on overhead. 

Look forward to dishes of agnolotti carbonara with speck and puffed quinoa; Hereford beef fillet with white asparagus, confit garlic, mustard leaf and parmesan; and pickled Italian cucumbers with tropea onion, lemon and mint.



Darcy & May Green

As colourful as they come, Darcie & May Green is the canalside venture from brunch specialists Daisy Green. Located in Sheldon Square, this multi-coloured boat is covered in bespoke artwork by British pop artist, Sir Peter Blake.

With seats inside and aboard the top deck, they serve up some of the best Aussie brunch staples in the city,  from their award-winning banana bread sandwich with honey mascarpone cream, fresh berries and flaked almonds to The Bondi, a mix of back bacon, poached eggs, chilli and fennel sausage, mushrooms, avo and house chilli pesto on cold fermented activities charcoal sourdough.



The Fifth Floor Terrace at Harvey Nichols

Head up to the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols and you’ll find their terrace that’s been given a tropical makeover. Think hanging vines, exotic plants and festoon lights ferrying above you.

The terrace has been created in partnership with Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin so you can expect plenty of great cocktails to go around while you catch up with friends in a super fun setting.

Harvey Nichols, 109 – 124 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ


Bar Elba

For the best summer vibes atop London, look to Bar Elba. Located just a stone’s throw from Waterloo station, this rooftop is the ultimate place to go whether you’re ringing in your birthday, celebrating a promotion or just cheersing to the end of another working week. 

Expect festoon lighting dangling above head, neon signs, hanging plants and colourful cocktails that you won’t want to miss.

Rooftop, Mercury House, 109 – 117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL



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Frank’s Cafe

Sometimes all we need is a cocktail in hand to have a good time, and at Frank’s Cafe in Peckham that’s what you’ll find served up. Situated at the top of a multi story car park, the drinking spot has been popular since it opened up in 2009, with London residents from all over coming here to sip into the sunset. 

On the menu you’ll find brunch, lunch and dinner served up, all focusing on simplicity and seasonality. As well as plenty of booze to go around too, from beers to spritz.

Unfussy drinking and dining at its finest.

Bold Tendencies, 7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, peckham, SE15 4ST


Jones Family Kitchen

One of our favourite spots for the summer has to be Eccleston Yards thanks to its plethora of events, restaurants and terraces. At the top of our list for a sundowner though is Jones Family Kitchen thanks to its sunny situated terrace. 

Grab a cocktail from their long list, from the Bubbles & Squeak, made with Absolut vanilla vodka, Passoã, passion fruit liqueur,  orgeat, lime and Prosecco, to the Honey Go Brightly, a mix of Beefeater Gin, honey, basil egg white and lemon. 

7-8 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ 



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Dalston Roof Park

It might not look like much from the outside but hidden away atop the old Victorian building you’ll find Dalston Roof Park, a pop-up bar that’s destined for summer drinks. Head up and the space makes way for big tables perfect for groups, bottomless brunch and even sunrise yoga sessions. 

Kick off your weekend with their Friday night party vibes or book in for their Saturday bottomless brunch inspired by all things disco.

The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL


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