When it's hot and sunny in crowded London, there's nothing better than finding a rooftop bar where you can soak up the rays and enjoy a chilled G&T, refreshing spritz or zesty margarita. From secluded terraces to buzzy drinking spots, check our some of our favourite roof top bars in the city.
Laurel's On The Roof, Shoreditch
This rooftop bar at the Mondrian hotel in Shoreditch is inspired by 70s-era Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, with a retro, laid-back aesthetic of low-slung rattan chairs and pendant lamps, neon signage, strings of lights and bold chunky patterns. Think luxe pool party and you’re not far off (and there actually is a pool, which you can use if you’re staying at the Mondrian). The bar is mostly covered, but if it’s sunny nab a seat outside to enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Cocktails are fun and crowd-pleasing – sip on a zesty, long and refreshing Japanese Garibaldi with Campari, yuzu, agave, grapefruit and lime, or a frozen spicy margarita with an earthy, poky kick thanks to tequila, mezcal and Empirical Ayuuk. There’s also an all-day menu of snacks and bigger, retro-inspired dishes – try the OTT Malibu shrimp cocktail with fat chunky prawns, and the pleasingly hearty cobb salad.
In recent years, Peckham has become home to a clutch of renowned rooftop restaurants and bars. Skylight Peckham, on top of theatre school Mountview, is the newest in the fleet of rooftop restaurants and boasts a striking sweeping city-wide view. The impressive interiors, including a zinc-topped bar are second to their signature list of cocktails – including a super-charged South London iced tea, packed with cognac, rum, tequila, vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice. A comforting and spacious interior makes this a perfect place for warm summer evenings on the terrace or even somewhere to sit and have lunch while working. A highlight on the menu was the burrata topped with smoked aubergine and 'nduja, or visit on Sundays for a rotating BBQ menu featuring South African, Portuguese and Jamaican dishes.
Frank’s Café, Peckham
This is about as trendy and hipster as you get, but in the best possible way. On top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, there's a pithy list of on-trend drinks, from negronis, margaritas and cucumber gimlets to jug cocktails like white port and tonic, and fruity rum punch. Snacks include brown sugar hot wings, deep-fried mackerel in a bun, and lamb breast kebab with burnt chilli yogurt.
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The Culpeper Rooftop Garden, Spitalfields
It’s hard to imagine there could be a better summer spot for sipping frozen margaritas than The Culpeper's rooftop. On arrival, you’ll walk through their stylish pub-restaurant, climbing several floors to the top where you’re rewarded with breath-taking views of the London city skyline.
The restaurant here is intimate and focuses on regenerative farming. Which means many of the ingredients on the cocktail menu have been grown on the rooftop itself or come from verified sustainable producers. Our favourites include the satisfyingly bitter Sacred Spritz, made with organic rosehip cup, prosecco and soda. And the refreshing whisky smash, made with lemon and rooftop mint.
The wines, sourced from sustainable artisan growers, really hit the spot, too. The Lluerna from Penedes, Catalunys, is dry with just a touch of saltiness and stands up perfectly to the big, bold flavours of their fantastic menu.
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
Boundary Rooftop is the ideal spot to rise above the streetside hustle and sip cocktails as the sun sets over a slightly hushed, 360-degree view of London. Shelter under the pergola and a string of fairy lights with a seasonal cocktail and a sharing plates cooked on a robata grill – think grilled harissa mushroom and aubergine skewers with fregola tabbouleh and baba ghanoush. Or just head up after dinner and sit by the outdoor fireplace nursing a digestif.