While London may not be the tallest city in the world, it’s got its fair share of hidden rooftop bars waiting for savvy locals and travellers to discover them. With a diverse range of options from traditional British pubs to sophisticated cocktail specialists, we’ve gathered our favourite London rooftop bars below.
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While Madison isn’t necessarily the highest rooftop establishment around, its atmospheric terrace and charming touches of greenery make it one of the best places to be when summer rolls around. Once you’ve finished chowing down on New York-inspired menu, move to a table outside and sip on one of their cheeky cocktails (Sex on the Roof, anyone?). Be warned though, you’ll have to dress up for this one.
Nearby tourist attractions: St Paul’s
Be posh for a day and head to Kensington, where you’ll find an oasis of calm at the Roof Gardens and Babylon. Combining the exuberance of a Mediterranean summer with the best that a blue British spring has to offer, this hidden themed gardens are lush with unexpected greenery and are popular wedding venues. Book a table at Babylon, their restaurant which oversees the skyline, and make time for after-dinner drinks on the terrace.
Slip into the Double Tree Hilton and take the lift to The SkyLounge on the twelfth floor, where you’ll be able to drink in the London skyline (and a couple of sophisticated cocktails). Serving modern British cuisine and classic cocktails, it’s worth booking a table outside for dinner and drinks on a warm spring night. You’ll be able to watch the city come to life and illuminate sights like the Shard, Tower Bridge, Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Hailed by publications all over the world as one of the best rooftop bars in London, Vista has a lot to live up to and delights every time. Situated in Trafalgar Square at the aptly named Trafalgar Hotel, it’s a popular choice with tourists frequenting the area and serves a mean cocktail (try their signature vodka concoction Midnight at Vista). You’ll be able to watch the passersby below in Trafalgar Square as well as see all the way out to the London Eye and the imposing Houses of Parliament.
Vista is closed for renovations until late summer 2017.
You never quite know what you’re going to get at the Queen of Hoxton. One day, the rooftop is a gigantic tipi filled with woodchips. The next, there’s an out of this world rainbow treehouse accompanied by graffitied cars. Regardless of the theme, this trendy bar is a favourite with young professionals and creative types looking to spend warm London nights sipping on cocktails. If you’re keen on making a night of it, they regularly hold dance nights and transform the ground bar into a dance floor.
Nearby tourist attractions: Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Spitalfields Market
Relax by the water of the River Thames at Rumpus Room, the Mondrian Hotel’s queen jewel. Located on South Bank, it’s a classy joint with couches perfect for curling up on with your friends. Try to make it there on a Wednesday when live music adds a current of creative energy to the atmosphere but be careful, if you show up with trainers, sportswear or flip-flops you’ll be turned away at the door.
As one of the tallest rooftop bars on the list, SushiSamba is located on the 38th and 39th floor of Heron Tower (where Duck and Waffle is also situated – a must-visit for any foodie visiting London). Go at night when its gigantic tree with its autumn coloured leaves is lit with twinkling fairy lights and be bold – the cocktail list is an adventurous one full of experimentation.
Nearby tourist attractions: The Gherkin
Make your way to Covent Garden’s Radio Rooftop Bar, where grabbing a table is always a mission but oh so worth it. While a night of cocktails at Radio Rooftop Bar comes with a hefty price tag, its unbeatable 360 degree view is worth it with views out to the Shard, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the London Eye.
Nearby tourist attractions: Covent Garden, the West End
Once you’ve wrapped up your shopping for the day on Oxford Street, take to its rooftops at Aqua Kyoto and unwind with a Japanese-inspired cocktail. Serving both food and an delightfully unexpected cocktail list, it’s always busy in the hotter months. At night, they light up their terrace with golden lanterns and cast an utterly romantic mood over every experience.
Nearby tourist attractions: Oxford Street, Soho
Looking for something a little more classically British? The Lock Tavern in Camden is a fantastic pub that has mixes tradition with the contagious rebellious spirit of the neighbourhood and if you get there early enough, you may be able to swing a table on its modest rooftop terrace. It’s perfect for escaping the Camden crowds and sneakily observing the antics of its colourful residents below – don’t worry if you can’t get a seat upstairs however, as there’s a fantastic beer garden as well.
April 13, 2018 by Megan Hills
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