LDNGuide

The 12 Best Rooftop Bars In London

Because sometimes you just need to drink a negroni in the sky.
The 12 Best Rooftop Bars In London image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

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 pub gardens, best outdoor restaurants and rooftops that do good food too. We've also got a guide to restaurants with the best views.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Llama Inn

Peruvian

Shoreditch

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarCatching Up With MatesDrinking Good CocktailsOutdoor Seating
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A couple of sledgehammer sips of Llama Inn’s pisco sour is all you need to happily think that this rooftop in Shoreditch isn’t far removed from Williamsburg. The Peruvian bar and restaurant comes via New York and, with its location on top of The Hoxton hotel, brings a little summer glamour from across the pond. There’s a decent range of reasonably priced wine and creative cocktails (if you’re after a classic, just ask) and the cushy, faintly Love Island-ish seating on the terrace makes for a comfortable spot for a gossip.

From the lofty heights of the Royal Opera House’s fourth-floor terrace, you can spy all the best bits of Covent Garden—the street performers, the market stalls, cobbled streets—without all the pigeons and shopping bag-related injuries. There’s a European-leaning menu at Piazza but it’s so tranquil up here—tasteful grey seating, hanging foliage, proximity to ballet dancers—that it’s a pleasant spot even if you’re just having a glass of wine. A drink here is the right way to show out-of-towners Covent Garden, without making you hate yourself.

photo credit: Allegra

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Allegra is a slick 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.

This Peckham wine bar makes you feel on top of the world, or at the very least, neck and neck with London’s finest pigeons. There are panoramic views from all angles of Forza Wine’s 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—garlic and hazelnut pesto flatbread, pork fat mussels, cauliflower fritti—and an obligatory custard and coffee caramel soft serve.

Shoreditch is a feral neighbourhood 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—although the inside bit is—and spaces are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. So clock off work early to secure your place.

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. You can grab Neapolitan pizzas too, with Cobble Lane Cured meats and vegan cheese from I’m Nut Okay, as well as other seasonal toppings. 

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 Côte 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.

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 see whatever’s showing at their rooftop cinema a few metres away, Bussey is the rooftop for you.

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 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. Just know that this small roof deck fills up quickly.

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.

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