The 14 Best Rooftop Bars In London guide image


The 14 Best Rooftop Bars In London

Because sometimes you just need to drink a negroni in the sky.

Rooftop bars are a funny thing in London. They should, in theory, be one of the best things in the city. Unfortunately they’re often not. Glorious views aren’t a given, drinks ascend in price the higher you go, and there will often be a tonne of people standing around just to take a picture, post it, and move on.

That said, there are a few bars that are 100% worth your precious time, and you’ll find all of them in this guide. When the weather's playing ball, check out London's best outdoor restaurants and rooftops that do good food too.




Allegra is a flashy rooftop restaurant on the 7th floor of The Stratford Hotel. One part warm and two parts classy, this sky terrace is from the people behind Chiltern Firehouse. It’s perfect for a special occasion or business situation over fried oysters with ginger and nori. It’ll also work for a high-end golden hour date night involving Oklahoma-style burgers and expert cocktails.

Peckham is home to some pretty epic sunsets. We know this because Peckham is also home to a lot of rooftop bars. Skylight Peckham is one of them, and importantly, it’s probably the fanciest. Less industrial, low-key cool and more swanky private beach club, they have an all-day menu that takes you from crushed avocado and smoked salmon, to crab and chilli tagliatelle, and Darjeeling tea panna cotta. There are also weekend bottomless brunches, live music events throughout the week, and a spritz-heavy cocktail menu.

A Peckham wine bar that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world, or at the very least, neck and neck with London’s finest pigeons, Forza Wine is arguably one of London’s best rooftops. There are panoramic views from all angles of the pretty terrace. This place avoids any of the 2-4-1 on pitchers of woo woo overpriced hype, and instead is all about frozen negronis and a natural-filled wine list. They also serve great little sharing plates—rabbit and mustard flatbread, lemony bream, harissa roast potatoes—and an obligatory custard and coffee caramel soft serve.

Shoreditch is a feral neighbourhood at the best of times, not least when the sun’s out and everyone’s clambering for any and all outside space. While we can’t promise the rooftop bar at One Hundred Shoreditch won’t get chaotic, it’s a fun, sceney, pastel pink spot for spicy margaritas and taking photos of your white negroni with skyline views. Know that the alfresco, heated terrace isn’t bookable and spaces are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. So clock off work early to secure your place. It’s open from 5pm until midnight.

There are approximately four days a year where you can feasibly get away with drinking several frozen piña coladas without risking immediate hypothermia. And on one of those days, you should go to Bar Elba. A huge rooftop bar in Waterloo, this place is a strictly boozy affair that really comes into its own when the weather is glorious, thanks to the spritzes, massive group tables, and summer-ready colourful aesthetic. When it comes to food you can expect your classic stomach-liners like sharing nachos, buttermilk chicken burgers, and jackfruit taquitos. But really you’re here for the drinks.

The trendy person’s rooftop of choice, the bar at the top of the Netil360 building in London Fields is a good call for when you can’t be arsed to venture west of Bethnal Green tube at the weekend. There’s a 360-degree view of London’s skyline and also the City in the distance. It’s got a bit of a DIY vibe going on, but that fits the area perfectly. There are regular guest DJ sets and local draft beers. And Izakaya, the pub-like restaurant, serves light Japanese salads, Korean buffalo wings, and a spicy tuna and prawn platter.

There are London rooftops and then there’s Seabird. If you’re currently having a very physical reaction to this picture of their Riviera-eat-your-heart-out rooftop terrace then, same. It’s an excellent seafood spot on the 14th floor of The Hoxton hotel in Southwark, and their outdoor space feels distinctly New York rooftop meets Cote d’Azur vacation. Although you can just hit Seabird up for one of their fun, creative cocktails, we’d suggest going all out for a special occasion featuring their whole lobster combined with oysters, champagne, and at least 80 candid photos with that view across the river.

Otherwise known as “the one at the top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham”, Frank’s is still the best place to gather a group of friends together for a hang in the evening and glorious, uninterrupted skyline views. The queues can be brutal depending on when you get there, but put it this way—if you’re going to skive off work early, save it for this.

If you’re looking for a rooftop so high that it gives you vertigo and the ability to point in the distance and say “I think that might be... Kent” then move along. But if you’re after a nice icy cold pint on a sunny Shoreditch Sunday, then we have a feeling you’ll love this polished pub. Although the view from the Marksman’s second-storey terrace is mostly of local rooftops and buses plodding along Hackney Road, this place is a great shout if you want to do the whole open-air suntrap thing in a casual way.

The Pantechnicon is the sort of building you’d expect to be a huge movie set. But no, this grand building in Belgravia, with huge columns and PANTECHNICON written in all caps at the top, is very real. And the roof garden and terrace on the fourth floor—with all its foliage, light wood, and glass ceilings—is where you’ll find a seasonal cocktail menu, as well as a food menu that’s keen on telling you where things are from: Scottish lobster, Cornish monkfish, rare breed beef. It’s the perfect hidden rooftop for a date or an intimate catch-up over pretty dishes.

Otherwise known as “the rooftop bar in Peckham that isn’t Frank’s”, the Bussey Rooftop Bar is, nonetheless, still an excellent and grown-up place to grab a drink, plus it’s usually less crowded than its neighbour. If you like a conventional bar (as opposed to drinking in a car park), with a proper sound system, a bigger choice of drinks, and a chance to grab whatever’s showing at their rooftop cinema a few metres away, Bussey’s is the rooftop for you.

The rooftop at The Culpeper is like the sound one in your friend group—super easygoing and always a good time. The gastropub downstairs provides very fancy food that approaches actual value for money. And there’s a pretty roof garden where the restaurant grows some of their veg and herbs—it’s all very Secret Garden in the sky vibes. Just know that this small roof deck fills up quickly.

Mercer Roof Terrace

Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend Vintry and Mercer’s rooftop for big party vibes, we would recommend it for anyone who’s looking for a sophisticated cocktail with a view, or just anyone who really has a thing for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. At the top of this classy-meets-cool City hotel, is a lovely space for a date night cocktail with someone you’re looking to impress. Or for drinks with an out-of-towner who can take infinite pictures of the Shard while you merrily sip on a gin-packed cocktail. Plus, for those that feel the cold, it’s worth knowing that their heaters are supersonic.

Ah, Pergola. Chances are you’ve probably been here at some point for a big group birthday or for a date with someone who just so happens to live right around the corner from Paddington—what are the chances! More Pimm’s? But in case you haven’t, we’ll break it down for you. Pergola is a high-energy, good times adult take on your school canteen setup. The cocktail deals are great for the area, the changing rota of street food vendors are always top crowd-pleasers, and the bookable day beds might just convince you you’re on VACAY BABY—if the weather permits.

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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The 14 Best Rooftop Bars In London guide image