As much as we love our city’s weird and wonderful pubs and boozers, just because it’s now bitterly cold outside doesn’t mean that you have to curl up in some stuffy public house for drinks this Christmas. For an al fresco night of inebriation, make a beeline for one of London’s heated terrace bars. Here you can enjoy beautiful hanging gardens, wigwams, mini ski chalets and priceless views of our capital’s sexy skyline.
Queen of Hoxton
What: Once Upon a Wigwam
Why: This year, the Queen of Hoxton is offering revellers a Grimm’s fairy-tale-themed winter extravaganza. As is tradition, Shoreditch’s most popular hangout has erected a wigwam on its roof. Serving classic Christmas drinks as well as more off the wall concoctions like hot buttered rum, this giant heated tipi with its cosy, rustic interior complete with candle-filled lanterns and twinkling fairy lights will be keeping visiting hipsters snug during these long, winter months. This year, they’ve also added open fire pits where you can toast marshmallows while gazing at the skyscrapers that line Bishopsgate. Don’t miss it.
Where: 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
Kensington Roof Gardens
What: Babylon at the Roof Gardens in Kensington
Why: For a beautiful outdoor drinking space, Kensington Roof Gardens certainly sets the bar very high. One hundred feet above the high street lurks 1.5acres of gorgeous, themed parkland, complete with flamingos and a fleet of resident ducks. Wrapped up in a toasty blanket, you can sip a festive cocktail and nibble on Christmas snacks, including fine cheeses and warm fresh bread, while enjoying the spectacular views of the fabulous English Woodland. (Word to the wise – don’t come expecting not to spend a few quid as Sir Richard Branson’s Roof Gardens can be just a tad pricey!)
Where: 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA
The Parlour Bar
What: Pop a cork in Canada Square
Why: Located in the Park Pavilion on Canada Square and flanked by the dizzyingly tall skyscrapers of Canary Wharf is the Parlour. Serving food and drink all day long as well as live music at night, al fresco drinks are sheltered by huge umbrellas and warmed with woollen blankets, heaters and fire pits (FYI – your hair and clothes will stink of smoke the next day). Throughout December, their serving some incredible drinks including hot butter and lavender rum punch, ginger mulled wine, Hot Toddies and Winter Juleps, the latter a mixture of Makers Mark, Golden Syrup, mint and house bitters. Bottoms up!
Where: 40 Canada Square Park, E14 5FW
What: Seasonal beverages and great food
Why: Back in the day, having a sheaf of wheat on your pub door was the sign of a decent pub. Well, the Victorian Wheatsheaf in Borough Market certainly lives up to its name having recently been given a makeover to include a covered terrace. Inside this heated winter garden, you’ll find a converted VW campervan serving not only a fine selection of whiskey and your favourite seasonal beverages, but also ribs, burgers and steaks so you don’t have to stumble very far in your quest for late night drunk food. (If you’re one of those poor sods who has to commute to and from London Bridge every day, they’ve even got a big screen showing live departure information.)
Where: 6 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
Want more Christmas inspiration? Check out our Christmas page for everything going on in London!