Best rooftop bars in London
Discover the best of the capital's rooftop bar scene
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As the evenings get longer and the days get warmer, make the most of being outside at some of London's best spots for casual dining, family outings and fancy date nights. Like what you see? Why not check out our guides for the best afternoon teas in London and best restaurants to eat in London.
Best rooftop bars in London at a glance
Seabird - ££
Sushisamba (Heron Tower) - £££
More like this
Frank's Cafe - £
Dalston Roofpark - £
The Aviary- £££
Pergola Paddington - ££
Laurel's on the Roof - ££
Wagtail - £££
Boundary Rooftop - £££
The Nest - £££
The best rooftop bars in London
The outdoor terrace at Seabird, perched up on the 14th floor of The Hoxton Southwark is surely one of the prettiest rooftop bars in London, with incredible views of the Thames, London Eye and Big Ben. With its plush sofa-style seating, energetic soundtrack, and tall palm trees, however, you could just as easily be in Miami or LA as in south London. Initially created in conjunction with Maison Premiere in New York (itself a permanent fixture on the World’s 50 Best Bars list), the cocktails on offer are a perfect match for the tropical vibe, with drinks like the ‘Take Me to Parrotdise', a mix of gold rum, cachaça, Caribbean sugar cane liqueur, coconut, passion fruit and pineapple served in a ceramic parrot glass; or the frozen 'Palomita', – tequila, bitter aperitif, grapefruit – ideal for a hot day. The sunny holiday vibe is continued with the food, which channels Spanish and Portuguese influences into a selection of fresh seafood dishes – think octopus rolls topped with aioli, fried calamari, whole lemon sole, and London’s biggest oyster list. Best experienced when the sun is shining, there is also plenty of shade and retractable roofing, plus the whole indoor restaurant to keep cool in.
There’s no shortage of rooftop bars in the City of London, but none that can quite top Sushisamba – it’s 39th floor outdoor terrace is the highest in Europe. The main indoor restaurant has stunning views through its tall floor-to-ceiling windows, but the outdoor terrace is the place to be on a sunny London evening, looking down on the city below. The restaurant offers a blend of Japanese and South American flavours, and this extends to the drinks list, too: the bar’s Signature Serves include the 'Samba Sour' – pisco, maraschino liqueur and turmeric, with Japanese citrus and egg whites – and the wasabi margarita, made from wasabi-infused tequila, lime juice and agave. On the food menu, you’ll find fresh sushi of course, plus ceviche, salads, and seafood cooked on the Japanese robata grill. There’s usually a loud, party atmosphere at Sushisamba, with regular DJs, live music and even samba dancers, so it’s better suited to celebrations and larger groups rather than quiet catch ups or family gatherings.
If you’re looking for a child-friendly rooftop bar in London, look no further than the roof garden at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Southbank. The garden, originally a partnership with the Eden Project, is home to over 200 wild native plants and has the feeling of a secret garden with quiet, hidden corners and a luscious lawn to stretch out on. Although there’s a bar and café for refreshments, it’s not an experience totally dominated by alcohol so it’s a great choice for families. If you are indulging, however, there’s a menu of beers, wines and even a few summery cocktails from the Gin Garden bar – highlights include the 'Southbank Iced Tea', a refreshing blend of gin, chamomile tea, lemon juice, and honey; and the signature 'Purple Haze', which combines gin, lime juice, soda and a rosemary syrup made using rosemary grown on the roof garden. Located right on the Thames, the views are very special indeed, despite not being particularly high up, with the London Eye and Big Ben to the left and St Paul’s Cathedral to the right. Due to its very open nature, the roof garden is only open in spring and summer so do check it’s open before making a special journey.
Frank’s Café is one of the best rooftop bars in south London, if not the whole city. First opened in 2009, the bar is located atop a multi-story car park in Peckham and has sweeping views of the city’s skyscrapers and beyond from its concrete perch. Not the most likely of success stories you might imagine but witness the queues that snake around the ramps leading up to the top level each summer and it’s clear that Frank’s is one of the hottest spots around. Run by Frank Boxer, the brother of chef Jackson Boxer (Orasay, Brunswick House), the drinks list leans towards classic summer cocktails such as negronis, margaritas, cucumber gimlets, and a wonderful frozen palomas. If you’re with a group, there are jugs of sangria, Pimm’s and lemonade, and rum punch to share, too. The food menu keeps it simple and seasonal: think grilled chicken wings with pesto Calabrese lamb breast kebab; and fried plantain with house hot sauce. It’s fairly open to the elements, though the bar is covered if you’re in need of shelter from the rain or sun. For this reason, Frank’s is another rooftop bar that’s only open during the warmer months, so check online for the latest information.
Laying claim to be Dalston’s only rooftop bar, Dalston Roofpark could also reasonably stake a claim to be one of the best rooftop bars in all of east London. Located atop an old warehouse building (the ground floor of which houses the excellent Dusty Knuckle Bakery, Acme Fire Cult, and 40FT Brewery), Dalston Roofpark has big east London vibes, decked out with artificial grass, festoon lighting, deckchairs and walls covered in graffiti. There’s all the classic cocktails and a few signature creations on offer, such as the 'Dalston Ting' – rum, melon liqueur and sparkling grapefruit – as well as wines and beers. Music and DJs are just as important as the drinks, and there’s always a party atmosphere, as well as occasional live bands playing. A rotating line up of food pop ups changes every few months but previous offerings have included everything from pizzas by Gordo’s, to burgers by the Burger + Beer store. Although it was previously summertime-only, a refurbishment in 2022 means that the Roofpark is now covered for winter, too, making it a great choice all year round.
There are several London hotels with rooftop bars in the capital and one of the best can be found on the 10th floor of the Montcalm Hotel, located on Finsbury Square. Called The Aviary, the bar and restaurant has plenty of outdoor space and is regularly packed with after-work drinkers from the nearby City offices, creating a lively atmosphere. Being at a five-star hotel of course means that prices are a little higher, but the classy décor and sweeping views of the skyline are worth the splurge. On the drinks menu, there’s a big selection of gin and tonics, classic cocktails and signature serves that lean into the avian theme, such as the 'Flamingo' – gin, bergamot rosolio, lime, apple juice, kiwi, rhubarb bitter, champagne – or the 'Imperial Raven', made from mezcal, triple sec, lime, red wine and egg white. To accompany, there’s oysters and bar-friendly small plates such as anchovy soldiers; tuna tataki; and beef tartare with duck fat potato terrine. The Aviary is at its best in the summer, but the indoor restaurant is open all year round and there’s also the option of heated pop-up igloos on the outdoor terrace in the colder months, too.
Rooftop bars in west London are a little hard to come by, but what the area lacks in quantity is more than made up for by the quality (and size) of Pergola on the Roof in Paddington. This huge split level rooftop bar has got it all: two bars, three street food vendors, DJs, bookable daybeds, an actual pergola draped with greenery, a retractable roof, and space for a whopping 850 guests. The cocktail list is pure summertime vibes, including a spicy watermelon margarita, a roasted pineapple spritz, and a passionfruit martini. If rosé is more your summertime drink of choice, then Pergola has it by the magnum, jeroboam, and gigantic methuselah (that’s eight regular bottles) sizes – it’s just as well Pergola welcomes big groups. The food offering changes each year, but the line-up is always impeccable, featuring some of the best street food traders around. For 2023 there’s burgers from Salt Shed; bao and dumplings from Temaki Bros; and super spicy fried chicken from Lucky’s Hot Chicken.
Channelling 1970s Hollywood glamour, Laurel’s on the Roof is one of the newest rooftop bars in London, having opened atop the Mondrian Hotel in Shoreditch in 2022. Unusually, there’s a swimming pool up at Laurel’s but note it’s only for hotel guests and members of The Curtain Club, so if you’re just up there for drinks and dinner, you’ll have to suffice with lapping up the poolside atmosphere, which is still very nice. Open from breakfast through to dinner, the Laurel’s food menu draws on breezy California classics including Malibu shrimp cocktail, rainbow kale salad, and fish tacos. Drinks match the nostalgic bent of the food, with cocktails served in 70s-inspired retro glassware. Start the day right with the Laurel’s breakfast martini or bloody mary, and for late summer evenings there’s the likes of the yuzu paloma, white negroni spagliato, and mezcalita. With a sixth floor perch there’s views aplenty of the city’s skyscrapers, and DJs keep the party going over the weekends.
Another new arrival to join the ranks of London’s best rooftop cocktail bars is Wagtail. Located at the top of a beautiful 1920s building next to Monument, Wagtail features a ninth floor indoor restaurant and a 10th floor outdoor rooftop terrace. It brings you near enough eye-level with the top of the Monument column, plus views looking out to the Thames and the Shard. There’s a touch of class to Wagtail – plush sofa-style seating, low marble tables, and a lovely tiled central bar create an elegant feel that’s a cut above the wooden benches and deckchairs you’ll find at other spots. In keeping with this, the drinks list features a big selection of scotch and Japanese whisky, cognac, champagne, fine wines and even a range of cigars. And on the cocktail list you’ll find the appropriately named ‘Gold’, a blend of coconut rum, pineapple juice, chilli liqueur and bitters, and ‘Indigo’ made from vodka, beetroot & raspberry shrub, lemon sugar and raspberry liqueur. The food menu is geared towards casual outdoor snacking, with a short selection of sliders such as soft shell crab, and small plates such as whipped cod's roe with toasted pitta, and truffle parmesan fries.
The Boundary Rooftop is undoubtedly one of the most stylish rooftop bars in London – no surprise when you learn that the Boundary hotel that it sits atop was founded by the late Sir Terrance Conran. Opened in 2008 in the heart of Shoreditch, the Boundary Rooftop has become a firm favourite in east London over the years and the space was given a spruce up in spring 2022, so it’s now looking better than ever. On the outdoor portion of the terrace, there’s smart wooden decking, plush sofas and chairs, an open log fire, and two beautiful old olive trees. And for year-round rooftop action, there’s also the glass orangery where you can keep cosy and dry while still enjoying the spectacular east London views. Original cocktails include the philosophically-inclined ‘Analogy of Life’ – cognac, pear liqueur, crème de banana, caramel, whisky barrel bitters – and the ‘Life is Short’, made from gold rum, chestnut liqueur, maple and walnut bitters. To eat, there’s Mediterranean-inspired dishes like charcoal-grilled fish, fresh salads, and charcuterie in summer; and cheese fondue, raclette, and hot cocktails in the winter.
In a beautiful 1830s neo-classical building on the equally beautiful Motcomb Street in Belgravia, you’ll find the roof garden at Pantechnicon. The landmark building was recently brought back to life and converted into a Japanese and Nordic-inspired multi-purpose space featuring several restaurants, a Café Kitsune, and shops selling everything from homewares to clothing. The crowning glory is the roof garden and, with one of the prettiest settings of all the rooftop bars in central London, it makes for a brilliant escape from the crowds. The terrace is covered in green foliage, plants, and herbs, and it can be heated and covered, too, so this is one rooftop you can enjoy whatever the weather. The stylish space is backed up by a serious cocktail programme that makes the most of house infusions, botanicals, and exclusive spirits – check out the signature ‘Golden Gatsby’, sherry, fig leaf essence and saffron bitters topped with champagne. Even the classics are given a suitable upgrade, with the humble G&T lifted to new heights as the ‘Green and Tonic’: gin, green radish, tomato water liqueur, and tonic. The food menu is similarly classy, featuring the likes of honey and fennel bread with miso butter; hand-dived Orkney scallops with smoked celeriac and seaweed; and burrata with hay-baked beetroot, caramelised fig and pomegranate.
If you’re looking for a rooftop bar in north London, take the iconic red lift to the 11th floor of The Standard hotel in King’s Cross. In keeping with the hotel’s party reputation, here you’ll find a lively rooftop bar, decked out with artificial grass and bright-yellow furniture, plus a summer-long programme of live DJs, music and performances. Cocktails on tap mean you won’t be queuing at the bar for long to try the likes of the 'Sakura Spritz', made with rosé vermouth, elderflower and hibiscus, and the 'Spicy Tommy’s margarita'. New for 2023 is BUNS, offering modern Taiwanese street food including tempura nori with tagorashi; yakatori chicken meatballs; and steamed bao filled with duck confit, hoisin, cucumber and spring onion. Aside from a few umbrellas, the terrace is completely open to the elements, meaning that it’s only open during spring and summer – and even in these months, if it’s too windy or raining, the terrace will be closed so make sure you keep an eye on the weather if you’re planning a trip. On the plus side, when the sun is shining, you’ll be rewarded with glorious uninterrupted views.
There aren’t many rooftop bars in central London to choose from, but it doesn’t get much more central than The Nest. Located just north of Oxford Circus on the 16th floor of the Treehouse Hotel, this is one of the best terraces for views in all of London. From its central location, the wraparound terrace offers views in every direction, from the London eye and city skyscrapers to the south, to Hampstead and Primrose Hill in the north. There are even telescopes on the terrace allowing you zoom in to the sights (or try to spot your house). The decor runs with the treehouse theme, with exposed woodwork beams, wooden furniture, and green foliage covering the walls and ceilings. Drinks are inspired by seasonal British herbs and botanicals, underpinned by a sustainable zero-waste approach. For spring 2023, cocktails include ‘That’s Radish’ – tequila, triple sec, radish and mint cordial – and the ‘Untouchable’: gin, green chartreuse, nettle tea, apple and honey cordial. On the food menu, you’ll find salads, burgers, and fresh chargrilled vegetables, all made with fresh UK produce.
The unique menu at the bar on the seventh floor of Hotel Amano in Covent Garden combines Israeli and Spanish influences. Graze on Iberico ham with coca bread, pork croquettes, pan con tomate with anchovy, or go for Israeli meze with taboon bread (soft Levantine flatbread) and dips such as cod’s roe and green harissa. Signature cocktails like 'Intuition' (gin, sake, ginger, orange reduction, strawberry shrub, wasabi) and seasonal collaborations with vineyards ensure an interesting drink choice. One entire wall is a colourful floral display while seats facing outwards give a view of the city’s rooftops and
landmarks such as the London Eye, prettier when lit up at night. A handy awning ensures you’ll stay dry if there’s a light shower or move inside to comfy booth seating, where at weekends there’s a DJ.
Blooming lovely is an accurate description of Ten Trinity Square’s collaboration with London
florist Nikki Tibbles. Cocktails have a floral theme from the punchy 'Rosy Cheeks', a not-so-innocent blend of rosemary gin, citrus and green chartreuse to a refreshing sbagliato (like a negroni but with champagne instead of gin). Snacks include seabass tataki, burrata with heritage tomatoes, beef carpaccio with Wigmore cheese fondue. There are daily combos such as champagne with caviar and blinis (Friday) or martini and oyster (Wednesday). The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Thames vie for attention with the social media-friendly setting of floral-adorned swings and colourful floral displays with sun loungers and squashy sofas. Wednesday to Sunday only.