There’s a heat wave coming! No, really! A year on from Beast From The East and we’re now talking about a hot spell that will take us into May. So how are you going to spend it? Stock-piling Magnum Classics and working on an epic tan? Working in the garden on the mother of all topiaries? No, like the rest of us you’ll be making a bee-line for the closest rooftop bar. So here’s where we’ll be hanging out this summer.
You asked for rooftop, SUSHISAMBA gives you rooftop. A rooftop that’s 37 storeys high and has a massive great tree in the middle! The bar at SUSHISAMBA really does fulfil the rooftop brief with style, and is the perfect place for city drinks toasting the view, or as a premable before a nikkei nosh.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Billed as London’s ‘best kept secret’, The Century Club is a calm oasis from the frenzy of central London, acting as a haven for the discerning drinker, offering delectable cocktails, and gastronomic delights, all wrapped up in a chic, voguish setting. And, for those in the know, there’s a lavish rooftop sitting snug on top, which is in fact the largest in Soho, with views taking in the heart of the West End. It won’t take you centuries to get there and we suggest you go!
Where: 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, Westminster, W1D 6LQ
East London’s carpark rooftop will flip from being one of the best places to head for ice stating and curling, and morph into summer-mode with a whole new vibeSkylight returns to summer mode on 2nd May this year with rooftop croquet pétanque. They’re introducing day beds for the first time, as well as garden booths and a summer of screenings (FA Cup final included) throughout the season.
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine's and Wapping, E1W 2SF
It’s the rooftop bar that’s going to really make you ‘go’. And, no, not because it’s a former public lavatory, but because it’s London’s first chiringuito. This all-day ‘beachfront’ bar and restaurant serves tapas, snacks and refreshing drinks all summer long, and there’s not even a beachfront. That’s how good they are! Peruvian Head Chef, Marco Padilla, brings the food, a Hispanic and Latin American combo while a long list of Cavas and Spanish wines await the casual or serious drinker.
Where: Bethnal Green, Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA
Due to its coveted rooftop, you definitely need to give The Ned a nod. Taking London by storm, The Ned sits right in the centre of The City. The pool at The Ned is small but perfectly formed, allowing you to bathe while looking out toward St Paul’s, or bask in the sun poolside before heading downstairs to graze in one of the myriad restaurants available. The Roof Bar features a retractable roof and heaters coupled with your fill of London views with gazing ability over the City and St Paul’s Cathedral.
The wonderful image used comes from Little Miss Notting Hill, who you can follow here
Where: 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
Michelin starred Angler, atop the city’s South Place Hotel might be a hot restaurant right now (some of London’s best fishes end up on plates here) but let’s not forget their sun-drenched (well, in summer) rooftop terrace. A go-to for discerning city workers, the 7th floor bar is perfect for either soaking up the rays, or eating them (geddit?).
Where: South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
The soaring towers of the city are best viewed from a height, and if that height is the 14th floor then Jin Bo Law is the place to head. The bar at the Dorsett City London hotel opened last year and sports a balcony as well as a bar that’s shaped like an actual pineapple (true story).
Where: 14th Floor Dorsett City, 9 Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1AH
Nearest station: Aldgate (0.1 miles)
Roof East in, you guessed it, east London will is reopen this Easter weekend. The Stratford rooftop is another former carpark upper floor and is handily opposite Stratford Station and Westfield shopping centre, which makes it ideal for summer partying. Themed thanks to SFG Club (Social Fun and Games), last year it was in a circus theme, the rooftop also plays host to street-fooders and a mini-golf course.
Where: Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE
Forget Alto, they should’ve called it soprano, it’s so high up! Selfridge’s star turn, Brasserie of Light, might be getting all the attention at Selfridge’s, someone shine a light this way because we mustn’t overlook Alto by San Carlo. The Italian restaurant and roof terrace bar is ideal winter and summer (here’s looking at you, retractable roof) for anyone looking for authentic Italian fare.
Where: Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
If, like me, you can’t help sing Pergola on the roof to the dulcet tones of Topol, every time you year it, then you’ll be longing for the return of White City’s wonderful Pergola venue. Sadly it’s not to be, but in its vacuum some two Pergola alternatives, Pergola Olympia and Pergola Paddington. To Paddington in a sec, but Pergola Olympia is well worth a look. Right on top of the famous Olympia complex the venue boasts 3 restaurants and a bar and, it goes without saying, more pergolas than your granny’s garden.
Where: Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way, Kensington, W14 8UX
Aqua Shard takes the prize for restaurant called Aqua with the best view: but quantity isn’t always quality and while you might not be able to see all the way to the South Downs on a sunny day, at Aqua Nueva you can see in detail what’s going on on Regent Street below, and on balance perhaps that’s more interesting. As are the cocktails and drinks on what it the West End’s busiest bar come Thursdays and Fridays. The restaurant itself would make an ideal stop off too, it really is rather good.
Where: 30 Argyll Street, London W1F 7EB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)
We’re still pergolating, this time in Paddington. Yes, the home of Peru’s favourite export (at least legally), is also host to another venue from the people who do all the pergolas. Pergola Paddington is set over two floors with the top floor open to the elements there are 4 self-service restaurants and two bars to choose from.
Where: 5 Kingdom Street, London W2 6PY
Nothing signifies quality quite like a silver chicken, or so say the folks over at Coq d’Argent. They also have one of the coolest roof gardens in the square mile, which of course comes into its own in the summer months. Overlooking Bank, Cheapside and Poultry like a grassy ship setting sail for the Walkie Talkie, the rooftop is best enjoyed with a Pimm’s in-hand.
Where: No 1 Poultry, Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Cannon Street (0.1 miles)
Savage Garden refers, perhaps surprisingly, not to the 90’s Aussie band but the new-ish rooftop bar at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London. The London Bridge 12th floor restaurant and bar includes a large north facing terrace and is basically made for post-work drinks and rooftop fun. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a pink gin terrace.
Where: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0 miles)
The Culpeper has it all, it’s a pub, it’s a hotel and, most importantly for the purposes of this feature, it’s got a rooftop restaurant and bar. With perfect views of the city, without the drag of being in the city. And geography isn’t all that The Culpeper’s got going for it, with a restaurant serving a grill menu and an outide space that’s yearning to be opened up for the summer.
Where: 40 Commercial Street, Shoreditch, E1 6LP
Anyone who has ever tried to book a table at Radio Rooftop Bar at ME London will know just how popular it is. And there’s a reason for that. The bar is endlessly sophisticated, coupled with the fact it’s overlooking The Strand, giving it one of the best looking views in town.
Where: ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
Nearest station: Temple (0.3 miles)
Aviary, a bird house, is a very apt description. Not because there’s seed on the ground or bars on the windows, there’s neither, but it is up in bird high territory. Moorgate’s Aviary is another city rooftop restaurant and bar with style. Located on Finsbury Square, it’s got boast-worthy views, but it’s also good for city dining and cocktails, an advantage point that proves it’s more than just vantage point.
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
Any roof’ll do in the rooftop bar business, even above the visitor centre of HMS Belfast. And being right on The Thames it’s a very good call. Previously run by Handbook favourite Tom’s Kitchen, this spring sees it reopen under the auspices of another of our beloved names, River Cottage. Adopting the River Cottage ethos of using only the finest ingredients, the cocktails promise to be as buzzing as we are about this new opening.
Where: HMS Belfast, The Queen's Walk, Borough, SE1 2JH
One member of the Handbook team reckons the views from Madison are the best in London. And if you’re a Christopher Wren fan that’s probably about right because it looks directly out onto the giant rotunda of St Paul’s cathedral. The ultimate brunch spot recently got itself a new bar manager and mixologist in the guise of Eduard Balan, so watch out for some impressive new menus this summer.
Where: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Pauls, London, EC4M 9AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Mansion House (0.2 miles)
The artist formerly known as Rumpus Room is now 12th Knot but remains one of the coolest venues in town. The terrace has some of the best views in London. Overlooking the Thames as well as the city and St Paul’s, it’s impressive inside and out, with live DJs, cocktails and fun guaranteed all summer long.
Where: 20 Upper Ground, London, UK
Nearest station: London Waterloo East (0.3 miles)
One of the most iconic views in London, Trafalgar Square. There are only two people with a view this good, and the other’s made of stone and only has one arm. Looming above the frenetic action below is the refined rooftop that is The Rooftop.
Where: 2 Spring Gardens, St. James's, SW1A 2TS
By winter there’s a massive great wigwam on this East London rooftop, by summer expect installations and coolness. Downstairs there’s dancing and nightclubbery, but on the roof it’s drinks, live music and the stars. Ever picturesque and constantly cool, this is exactly what a non-Londoner would expect from a Shoreditch experience.
Where: 1 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3JX
Don’t get your bs and ps mixed up when directing the cab here… The Golden Bee, in Shoreditch, is set over three levels and, of course, a rooftop terrace. The whole club is as hip and elegant as you’d expect, but it’s all about the rooftop bar and The Golden Bee delivers. Specifically it delivers Sushi platters to your table when you pre-book.
Where: Singer Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9DD
If you’re clawing for holiday days but are instead having to spend the summer in Britain then fear not, it’s actually rather beautiful! Especially when you have rooftops like Boundary London’s to enjoy. This pretty little balcony in Shoreditch is a equipped with everything you need to celebrate a summer at home. You’ll find flora and fauna galore alongside Instagrammable rose bushes and Henricks cocktails. It’s everything you need to put a spring in your step this season!
Where: 2-4 Boundary Street, Hackney, E2 7DD
Hotel Indigo at 1 Leicester Square is quite the staple and most certainly a place-to-go. As the only rooftop terrace in Leicester Square, it most provide the best film premiere celeb-spotting from up-high, or provide some respite from bumping into people with shopping bag, in desperate search of a cocktail. The view will see guests enjoying a sweeping panorama of London, enjoy a range of sundowners and late-night drinking, and a menu of modern dishes with a seasonal focus.
Hotel Indigo itself is very Gatsby-esque, mirroring the 1920s glamour of its theatrical surroundings. So, for those who like to shake a tail-feather or two, get yourself a seat at Leicester Square’s first ever rooftop terrace.
Where: 1 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA