London’s best rooftop bars for summer 2018

Where to drink in the capital when the sun comes out

With the summer well and truly upon us, here are some of the best rooftops and terraces at venues in London to enjoy some alfresco boozing…

Bar Elba, Waterloo

This is one of London’s most Instagram-friendly bars and is a fantastic place to drink while soaking up the sun. It’s named after the island of Napoleon’s exile (its sister bar is called Tonight, Josephine) and its walls are daubed with slogans such as ‘Egalité, Fraternité, Rosé.’ The bar menu is a quirky one with jugs of Sex on an Elban Beach and Skittles-infused vodka on offer. www.bar-elba.co.uk

Dalston Roof Park

This rooftop in the heart of Hackney boasts two bars, an extensive food menu and, best of all, a retractable roof for when British summer time does its usual wet weather routine. www.bootstrapcompany.co.uk

The Rumpus Room’s punch bowl

Rumpus Room, South Bank

A spectacular view across the Thames is part of the appeal of the Rumpus Room at the Mondrian Hotel on the South Bank. The cocktail menu boasts an impressive array of boozy treats, including an ‘improved’ whisky cobbler, made with whisky, sherry, maple syrup, lemon and lime, and a Thanks A Tot! punch bowl for eight people to share. Booking ahead is essential. www.rumpusroomlondon.com 

The Culpeper, Aldgate

This popular pub in E1 is home to bustling roof terrace and this summer the humble cucumber has been made an unlikely star of the show. The Gherkin building is visible from the pub’s roof – and The Culpeper has erected its very own version. A large model of a pickled cucumber is resplendent in the corner of the terrace (see the main photo above). This gherkin is the symbol of Piculpeper, a series of events, drinks and dishes that celebrate the cucumber. From pickling workshops to dishes stuffed with them, the cucumbers are all grown onsite in the Culpeper’s rooftop kitchen garden. Beer is also available, of course, if the idea of an abundance of pickles doesn’t quite do it for you. www.theculpeper.com

Frank’s Cafe, Peckham

Summer stalwart Frank’s Cafe, situated at the top of a Peckham car park, is now open for its 10th year running. Along with a well-stocked bar, the food menu includes roasted cauliflower with pitta, brown sugar hot wings and barbecue pork neck with coleslaw. There’s a no booking policy so arrive early to ensure you make it to the roof. boldtendencies.com

One of the ‘paradise pods’ at the Coppa Club

Coppa Club, Tower Hill

This Tower Hill venue is made up of a large restaurant, cafe and central brass bar. The south-facing terrace catches the sun all day, blessed with stunning views, its own ‘beach bar’ and covered ‘paradise pods’ that can be booked in advance (although these are currently reserved through to August).  www.coppaclub.co.uk

Coq D’Argent, Bank

This restaurant in Bank boasts a sprawling landscaped terrace, which offers a surprising burst of greenery in the heart of the city. A grill menu is available on the roof at lunch times (booking required), with bar snacks available for evening drinkers to order (no bookings required). www.coqdargent.co.uk

Selfridges, Oxford Street

This summer the rooftop of Selfridges is home to Italian restaurant alto by San Carlo, with a menu packed with pasta, seafood and specialities from the grill. There’s also a bar serving up fancy cocktails that are best enjoyed on the open-air sun terrace that has been done up like an Italian garden. www.selfridges.com

Pergola Paddington

Pergola Paddington

Pergola Paddington has returned after the success of its 2017 opening. There’s seating for more than 800 people across two levels, and some of the best street food stalls around, including burger masters Patty & Bun and Canard, who put a twist on French classics. pergolalondon.com 

Omeara Terrace, London Bridge

With views of The Shard, this terrace bar in London Bridge is a great place for a sunny lunch or leisurely drinks in the evening. The attached indoor bar and gig venue mean those who want to keep going into the early hours are well catered for, too. www.omearalondon.com


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