In a city like London, with the bustling metropolitan streets packed with skyscrapers, there are always incredible rooftop bars in London to explore and enjoy the view from. Whether you are after a cheeky cocktail or a hearty pub experience, the options are seemingly never-ending. But rather than leave you to wade through this never-ending stream, we have narrowed it down to some of London’s best.
Combine modern European pub-chic, dizzying views of the London skyline and smashing cocktails and you have got yourself Bokan’s rooftop bar. Drinking cocktail expert Danilo Tersigni’s show-stopping concoctions in the sky has a pretty incredible feel to it, as does eating head chef Aurélie Altemaire’s exquisite European fine dining dishes. Summer nights from Thursday to Saturday mean international DJ sets adding to the electric feel pulsing through this classy spot.
Must-try cocktail: The Chaos On The River
Address: 40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9TP
2. Mercer Roof Terrace
Cloud gazing is never so sweet as when on the Mercer Roof Terrace, sipping on one of their famously delicious cocktails and overlooking awe-inspiring landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard in all its sparkling wonder. The glass-look is not just reserved for The Shard, though, and you will find the Mercer Roof Terrace’s windows are floor-to-ceiling glass, making the view that much more tangible.
Must-try cocktail: The Twisted Daiquiri
Address: 20 Garlick Hill, London EC4V 2AU
3. The Aviary
The Aviary was designed by Russell Sage Studio and it’s safe to say the interior is almost as eye-catching as the views – but not quite, because it’s a 10th floor ogling perch. The central bar splits the space in two – one side is the impeccable restaurant by head chef Dan Loftin, the other side is a luxurious lounge best enjoyed with a botanical themed cocktail in hand. If you are not looking for a proper sit-down meal, the bar menu offers some delightful options that achieve more of an opulent-pub vibe.
Must-try cocktail: Flamingo Riff
Address: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
4. The Garden at 120
This rooftop garden come coffee bar is the biggest public rooftop space in London and is sat on the 15th floor of the Fen Court offices. There are 360 degree views of many of London’s great sights, such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and The Shard (not to mention the sweeping views of the river from up there!) Most noteworthy about The Garden at 120 is not the view, however beautiful, but rather its incredible greenery at such a height in such an industrial area. Between the Italian wisteria, water feature and fruit trees, you would hardly believe you are a part of the epic city skyline.
Address: 120 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 5BA
5. Dalston Roof Park
So much is happening in the city center that it can be easy to forget how many exciting bars there are in east London and surrounds. Dalston Roof Park is a prime example of the fact that you don’t need skyscrapers to have a great rooftop party. Brought to London by the Bootstraps Charity, the venue runs like a great big outdoor pub. There are quiz nights, live music performances and even cocktail masterclasses for those who want to replicate the delicious drinks they are sampling at home. This highly Instagrammable rooftop is covered in sensational cherry blossom replicas, grassy carpets and is a quirky, lively destination well-worth visiting.
Address: The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin St, Dalston, London E8 3DL
The internationally acclaimed landscape designer Bureau Bas Smets poured his expertise in Jurema, which won the best outdoor space award at this year’s Global Head Awards. Jurema’s bar is now filled with palm trees, a relaxed courtyard aesthetic, an evergreen sanctuary of passion flower and jasmine plants, and shack-style furniture that makes the whole place reminiscent of Babylon. If you can drag yourself away from the exotic plant varieties, you will find the cabana-style bar has plenty to shout about too.
Must-try cocktail: Jalapeno
Address: 20-21 Newman St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1PG
7. Rooftop at The Trafalgar St James
Between the rooftop view of the iconic Nelson’s Column and the delicious al fresco or small plate food that is on offer, you feel lighter than air when towering above central London in The Trafalgar St James’ Rooftop. Each cocktail is made with the utmost care and skill by bartenders who can make you anything you fancy. Just chat to them about your favourite flavours and they will rustle you up the perfect concoction. Every sip is enhanced by the cityscape views, putting all the bars in London without a view in the backseat.
Contact: 020 7870 2904
Address: 7th Floor, 2 Spring Gardens, St. James’s, London SW1A 2TS
8. 12th Knot
Inspired by the hedonistic, bohemian ideals of London’s 1920s young aristocrats called the Bright Young Things, 12th Knot in Battersea’s Sea Containers London is the perfect spot on the river for drinks and food with a 12th floor view. The view includes vistas of the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the city at large. Sit yourself on a plush terrace sofa and lounge about whilst enjoying the British-Amerian cuisine and cocktails.
Must-try cocktail: Milky Whey Colada
Contact: 020 3747 1063
Address: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD
9. B&H Garden Room
Just by the National Portrait Gallery in London’s West End you will find the Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room, offering a rustic, pub-come-brasserie charm with 180-degree panoramic views from floor-to-ceiling glass windows and signature cocktails. The room is decorated with Aztec-style patterns, rattan furniture and enough organic greenery that you feel like you are getting a piece of the outdoors from up in the sky. The food is seasonal and European-inspired.
Contact: 020 3962 7275
Address: 10th floor, above Assembly Hotel, 31 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0LS
If there is one thing you can be sure about, it is that cool bars in London will never run out – new spots pop up every day with exciting menus and mesmerising cocktails. So head to any of these and know you are in for a great night of cocktails, wine lists, pub food and nibbles.