With great power comes great responsibility, and with multiple floors comes an albino pizza with multiple £ signs. That’s the way things tend to go with rooftops in London. But not every view of ‘the greatest city in the world’* is matched with overpriced lager and bish bash bosh food. We’re not saying there are a tonne of great rooftop options, but there are a few worth knowing about.
* If you think this is incorrect, we’re happy to debate it, just email us.
THE ROOFTOP SPOTS
Forza Wine is up on Rye Lane, and it leans more restaurant than bar. Once you see a couple happily sharing an oil-drenched panzanella in the sun, you’ll understand why. It’s all sharing plates: cauliflower fritti with aioli, a cheesestring-like Fontina toastie with hot sauce. And, as the name suggests, there’s a solid and natural-filled wine list too. You can sit inside or out, just be sure to specify when you book.
Netil360, in London Fields, is the kind of place everybody loves to hate. It’s in the heart of east London, serves excellent vegan salads, and charges a fiver plus for pints (just like everywhere else in London). That suits just fine, because hopefully it’ll be less busy. You’ll need to book entry via their website, but once there, you can order perfectly decent pizzas from Venerdi and delicious salads from Palm Greens.
Thanks to abandoned carparks and a little concept known as ‘gentrification’, Peckham is London’s hub for rooftops. That may sound flippant, but it isn’t meant to be. Frank’s is the original rooftop spot in SE15 and it’s a place everyone wants to be. The views are fantastic, the food - khobez flatbreads served with braised chicken or miso aubergine, alongside bulgar wheat, pickled red onion, and a pineapple salsa - is homemade, and the drinks are not unreasonably priced.
Pergola Paddington Central
Pergola Paddington is somewhere in-between an open food court, a Mediterranean garden, and a reality TV breakup. It’s a popular spot for groups, especially on the weekend, but come in the week and you’re more likely to find a calmer scene. There are a few food options, shawarmas and salads from Babek Brothers, burgers from Salt Shed, wings from Thunderbird, and Japanese-inspired bits from Temaki Bros. A good place for siblings, clearly.
The rooftop at The Culpeper is a serene garden ten minutes away from Liverpool Street. The usually heaving pub may be a little less busy without offices open, but you still need to book a table for the rooftop online. The menu is tasty, gastropub stuff. Start with a whopper merguez sausage roll and then for a pâté, or baguette with Jersey Royals.