Food & Drink

The Best Rooftop Bar in Every London Neighborhood

Published On 05/23/2016 Published On 05/23/2016
The Roof Gardens London
The Roof Gardens | Virgin Limited Edition
Virgin Limited Edition

Kensington

The Roof Gardens

Address and Info

One hundred feet above the busy streets of Kensington, 1.5 acres of paradise are hidden, yet filled to the brim with exotic plants and trees. Sections are devoted to specific themes, like the Spanish Quarter, the Tudor Garden, and the English Woodland, and the space also houses a flamboyance of flamingos and a flock of ducks who wander the grounds at will. While at night The Roof Gardens turn into a swank members club (which, if you plan ahead, you’ll have no issue getting into), you can rocket up any time, hang out at the bar, and take in the remarkable scenery.

Brixton

Prince of Wales

Address and Info

You would never guess how damn big this place is. Housed atop a regular old KFC, this space features multiple bars and great DJs, and -- best of all -- stays open until 3am. Recently, the guys from Duck Egg Café took over the cooking (mmm, eggs royale), so you can start with an epic brunch and power through all day long. And if you find yourself wanting a taste of something slightly more refined, nip over to hidden cocktail bar Sovereign Loss in the back of the building.

aqua london

Soho

Aqua Kyoto

Address and Info

Riding high above the insanity of Oxford Street, Aqua is about as swish as it comes, with lots of dark marble, red accents, killer light fixtures, and a massive terrace that feels a million miles away from the bustle below. The people-watching here is pretty top-notch: the glitterati come here to soak up those elusive sunbeams, so grab a drink, and enjoy the show.

Peckham

Frank’s Cafe

Address and Info

What started as a cute little secret bar has turned into the highlight of Peckham, with pop-up cinema, gigs, street food, and plenty of booze, all with the backdrop of one of the best views down south. This spot is worth the trip.

Modrian London

Blackfriars

Rumpus Room

Address and Info

So this spot may only have a tiny terrace, but the decor inside is just so pretty, and with those floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll soak in all that sunshine and be just fine. With drinks from the internationally award-winning Mr Lyan (aka Ryan Chetiyawardana) and a tendency to get a little debauched, this is one party you’ll want to be involved in.

London Fields

Netil360

Address and Info

What started as a series of pop-up parties has turned into a real-life rooftop scene and co-working space, starting early with coffee and WiFi and evolving into a full-blown bar by the end of the night. Although it closes early (10:30pm at the latest), this place throws some pretty events, and it’s a great space to spend those precious daylight hours.

Radio

The Strand

Radio

Address and Info

Welcome to a world where personal authenticity isn’t especially valued, but the drinks are perfect, the staff genuinely charming, and the view so gorgeous everything else just fades into the background. Take a deep breath, wish you had made a reservation, and just go with it.

Shoreditch

Shoreditch House

Address and Info

This member’s-only club offers the best life around with a rooftop pool, not to mention a huge restaurant with a retractable glass roof, a glorious salad bar, a garden with secluded nooks for hiding, and an entire area covered in beds for catching those much-needed afternoon naps in the sun. Throw in delicious bites, cocktails, and some of the best staff in the business, and you’ll be thinking that membership fee is suddenly totally worth it.

SushiSamba

Liverpool Street

SUSHISAMBA

Address and Info

Sitting high on the 39th floor of the Salesforce building, don’t go expecting any riveting eavesdropping -- it’s a lot of the fake tan/eyelashes/everything else set. But the drinks from cocktail mastermind Rich Woods make the remarkable view that much sweeter. Imagine sipping a Padron pepper caipirinha while staring over the better part of East London. Exactly.

The City

Coq d’Argent

Address and Info

Find a friend with an expense account and head to this city spot to rub elbows with suits while throwing back some seriously good wine. You’ll get views of all the nameworthy buildings (Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Walkie-Talkie)... not to mention a feeling of smug superiority that’ll last all day.

Flickr/Julian Walker

Dalston

Dalston Roof Park

Address and Info

Yoga, raves, street food, and garden plots await you on this co-op space in Dalston. There’s always some kind of thing happening here -- plus all the unticketed events are only £3, and when you attend four events, you can swap for a Bootstrap Friendship Card, which gets you in free for the rest of the summer.

Marble Arch

Notch

Address and Info

A cross between an industrial playground and Italian aperitivo bar, this place may look fairly bare-bones, with basic metal and wooden tables and chairs, but the energy here went straight into the drinks: along with a full bar menu, they’re also rocking pre-mixed cocktails served out of little cans. Chef Mark Morrans, previously of Kurobuta and Nobu Melbourne, is cooking drinking bites like sea bass ceviche, fried chicken with kimchee mayo, and anticucho drench short rib with pickled cucumber (yum).

No 32 The Old Town

Clapham

No. 32 The Old Town

Address and Info

It’s a little Yummy Mummy here, but once you’re situated at one of their long tables feeling the sun on your face with a drink in your hand, that’ll all fade into the background. Inspired by long summer days in New England, it's filled its space with weathered wood, olive trees, and festoon lighting.

Hammersmith

The Lyric

Address and Info

This little enchanted garden is a breath of fresh air amongst the industrial business of Hammersmith, populated by artsy types, locals, and the occasional student. Located above the theater, it’s a cosy little space filled with trees, candles, and loads of food and wine... perfect for a casual date night.

Kings Cross

Big Chill House

Address and Info

This place is kind of a dive: you can rock up in non-designer ripped jeans and yesterday’s T-shirt, smash a burger and a whole collection of beers, and then spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out listening to chilled-out tunes with a crowd of friends. It’s all pretty light up here, with cartoon-coloured furniture, easygoing people, and general fun times.
 
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1. The Roof Gardens 99 Kensington High St, London, W8 5SA (Kensington)

This members club is part of the Virgin Group, so you know it went for all the details here. It’s literally an over-the-top garden, complete with trees, flowers and… flamingos. Running with a dress code of “no effort, no entry,” it gives you an idea of what to expect. Beautiful people, gorgeous bar, and great BBQ parties.

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2. The Prince of Wales 467-468 Brixton Rd, Brixton, SW9 8HH (Brixton)

Loaded with a million bars, a huge terrace, great kitchen, DJ's live music, debauched dancing, and a mega late license, this is your one stop shop south of the river. Get stuck in for the long haul or sneak off to Sovereign Loss, the speakeasy hiding upstairs.

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3. Aqua Kyoto 240 Regent St, Soho, W1B 3BR (Soho)

Head to this massive, swank roof terrace and Japanese resto for a bit of glitz and polish. Get ready for some serious people-watching as the West End set loves this place, but with drinks from Luca Missaglia it’ll be better than the movies. Trust us.

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4. Frank’s Cafe & Campari Bar 10th Floor, Multi-Story Carpark, Peckham, SE15 4ST

Frank’s has grown from a shack on top of a multi-story car park to a full-blown summer experience filled with gigs, food, and lots of Campari. This is where the cool kids hang out, and believe us, it’s actually worth the trip south.

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5. Rumpus Room 20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD (South Bank)

As if the Mondrian wasn’t a destination in itself with that epic view and a solid restaurant, things got turned up a notch with Rumpus Room, a snazzy lounge perched high over the hotel complete with rooftop terrace. It is a MUST for enjoying a cocktail when the weather is nice.

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6. Netil360 1 Westgate St, London, E8 3RL

This rooftop space features a wide array of goings-on like hot tub parties, cinema screenings, and street food fests. Open from 10am, it's got coffee, Wi-Fi, and even yoga sessions so you can feel you totally deserve booze at the end of a hard day.

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7. Radio Rooftop Bar ME London, London, WC2R 1HA

Located on the 10th floor of ME London and accessible via an express elevator, Radio offers breathtaking panoramic views of London’s skyline including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the Thames.

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8. Shoreditch House Ebor St, Shoreditch, E1 6AW (Shoreditch)

Opened in 2007, this East London private members club offers three floors of luxurious amenities, including a rooftop pool.

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9. SUSHISAMBA 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY (The City)

Life is pretty good on the 39th floor of the Heron Tower. Beverage genius Rich Woods has done a serious number on the drinks, so grab a Kobe Cocktail (like a maple and salted caramel Old Fashioned but fat washed with real Kobe beef, obviously) and some Samba rolls and look down on the world busily turning beneath you.

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10. Coq d'Argent No. 1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ (The City)

Find a buddy with an expense account, make up an excuse for a “business meeting,” and rub elbows with city boys surrounded by views of the Cheesegrater, Gherkin, and Walkie-Talkie. Get bar snacks, have a picnic on its rooftop green, and don’t look at the bill.

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11. Dalston Roof Park 18 Ashwin St, Hackney, E 8 3

Run by the guys at the Bootstrap Company, this place wears many hats. Dalston Roof Park is a community garden, pop-up restaurant, cinema, gig venue, bar, rave hall, and more. Whatever is going down, it’s generally pretty epic and you will want to be involved. For a £12 annual fee, get access to their sky-high garden where they host regularly rotating food residencies in a chill space.

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12. Notch 535 Oxford Street, London, W1C 2QW

A cross between an industrial playground and Italian aperitivo bar, this seasonal rooftop may look fairly bare-bones, with basic metal and wooden tables and chairs, but the energy here went straight into the drinks: along with a full bar menu, they’re also rocking pre-mixed cocktails served out of little cans. Bar bites are refined, and include items like sea bass ceviche, fried chicken with kimchee mayo, and anticucho drench short rib with pickled cucumber.

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13. No. 32 The Old Town 32 The Pavement, London, SW4 0JE

Located in Clapham, this independent neighbourhood bar and resto has a quality roof terrace, breakfast and brunch menus, and craft beers and 'tails.

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14. The Lyric Lyric Square, King Street, London, W6 0QL (Hammersmith)

Over a century old, this popular theater in Hammersmith regularly holds a variety of theatrical performances along with a classes and activities for those interested in dance, music, film, TV, and, of course, theater. The enchanting (and seasonal) rooftop garden and cafe is filled with trees, candles, and loads of food and wine, and populated by artsy types, locals, and the occasional student.

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15. The Big Chill House 257-259 Pentonville Rd, London, N1 9NL (Kings Cross)

This spacious venue in Kings Cross boasts a number of casual, American-inspired eats -- like burgers and hot dogs -- along with colorful signature cocktails, such as a cherry spiced mojito, honeyed rita, and (in a very English fashion) boozy tea. The comfortable roof top terrace is known for its cartoon-coloured furniture, easygoing people, and general fun times..

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