The best rooftop bars in London (we ? you summer!)
Bar/Pub: Pergola Where: Paddington The rooftop was: Bustling! A sunny, summery, secret hideaway in the heart of West London. Adorned with heavy green foliage this vibrant space is a botanical alfresco dining destination like no other. Drink with: A frozen Margarita and eat from one of their fantastic outside eateries. This summer, the food line-up will see the return of burger legends Patty & Bun and Mexican fast food specialists DF Mexico, as well as new additions including shredded duck restaurant Canard and Vietnamese barbecue masters MAM. The crowd: In West London’s busiest business district this place is perfect for post-work de-stressing drinks with colleagues and/or friends. You should also know: Bookings for big groups (up to 199 people) are encouraged, so grab your besties, colleagues and neighbours. For the first 500 bookings, EVERY member of the booking party will get a FREE PERONI AMBRA!!
Bar/Pub: The Roof Deck Where: Selfridges The rooftop was: SO COOL. Seriously, if you can’t afford to go to California on holiday, this is like a little carefree Cali hideaway with major beach bar vibes. With timber benches and little cabanas, this is the perfect place for a post-shopping (or pre-shopping!) drink. Drink with: A green cucumber and chilli margarita – a blend of Tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, cucumber, Habanero chilli and chilli salt. The crowd: Guys and gals who’ve shopped until they’ve dropped, but it also had a relaxed after-work crowd, too. With views of London’s beautiful skyline, decorated with twinkling lights, you can why people flock to it at sunset. You should also know: You don’t need to book for drinks on the terrace – perfect for a spontaneous visit.
Thinking of dining there? Read our review of the Roof Deck restaurant.
Restaurant/Bar: Coq d’Argent Where: The City, London The rooftop was… Pretty. Darn. Great. If you want a killer view of London’s most impressive and iconic architectural skyline, you’d better plop yourself down for a beautifully crisp glass of wine at Coq d’Argent. An institution as much as a bolthole in The City, the top of 1 Poultry really takes some beating. Drink with…. with such a comprehensive wine list, there’s something for all price points here. Once you’ve bedded in with a glass of vino though, you’d be best advised to assess the à la carte menu for an unrivaled selection that incorporates new daily recipes and seasonal produce, as a standard. The crowd: Despite its City locale, the post-work drinking crowd wasn’t so much suits but more couples, families and groups of friends catching up. Anything else I should know: Keeping it seasonal, there’s even something on the rooftop in the chillier months, too; this month sees the launch of the apres-ski inspired Lodge d’Argent for a few winter warming cocktails.
Restaurant/Bar: Tom’s Terrace Where: Somerset House, London The rooftop was… Well, it’s more a terrace than a rooftop, but you get exactly the same vibe at Tom’s Terrace – sunshine, great views, pounding music and great cocktails – I felt like I was on holiday in a chic European bar. Drink with…. Once you’ve had a few ‘Maleficent’ cocktails (bourbon, almond syrup, lime juice, strawberry liquor), and you’ll want several, they are delish, indulge in a slap up meal to soak up your drinks. We devoured a tasty all-day brunch feast of truffle chips, eggs benedict and an amazing sharer sundae with peanut butter brownies inside. Yes, that’s right, PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES. A must-try. The crowd: Couples and in-the-know groups of friends having a drink before seeing an outdoor film/music at Somerset House (Sam Smith was playing when we went), friends having a quick catch-up in the sunshine – and very few tourists given the central location. Anything else I should know: If the British Summer does its usual disappearing act, head inside to Tom’s Kitchen for similarly great views and excellent food.
Restaurant/Bar: Boundary Where: 2-4 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch The rooftop was… Tres stylish, but cute! It’s perched atop the Terence Conran-designed Boundary Project, which also contains a boutique hotel, a restaurant (Boundary), a café (Albion) and a deli. We think it’s best to go in the evening as it’s all very pretty with candles everywhere and you have the impressive panoramic view of London. Drink with… I could be wrong, but drinks definitely taste better on a rooftop – the Boundary has a very New York-esque vibe. I can recommend the Blackberry Mojito (summer in a glass), and the Blueberry & Ginger Caipirinha. If you get peckish, they do food – and it’s available all day. From olives and almonds, to the full lunch and evening menu, so it depends how hungry you are. We opted for the Selection of Mediterranean hors d’œuvres (£17) which is basically a fancy selection of Mediterranean breads with sweet peppers, houmous, spiced aubergine, tapenade, and anchoïade. Tasty! The crowd: Hipsters and couples that belong in The Kooples adverts. You should also know… The rooftop bar is open every day and all year – whatever the weather, from midday until last orders at 11pm. If it gets a bit chilly, the super attentive staff hand out blankets, which is a nice touch.
Bar/Restaurant: The Orrery Where: Marylebone High Street, London The rooftop was: Chic, stylish, secluded; a little spot of quiet sunshine in the middle of Marylebone. Drink with: The roof terrace is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink, but when the food comes, the real magic happens. The three course dinner a la carte menu is truly amazing. From the potato ravioli with butter and truffle to the herb crusted salmon, the food was some of the best we’ve tasted; ever. For a real indulgence ask one of the brilliant waiters to wine-match your meal; it really is worth it. The crowd: High-flyers and special-occasion celebrators. We’ll be back the next time we have something to toast. Like a birthday. Or a Friday. You should also know: Try to save room for pudding; we tried the Manfari chocolate crémeux with orange sorbet and the Blackberry bavarois, and both were completely scrumptious. This really is the best French fare you’ll find in W1.
Bar/Pub: The Castle Where: Pentonville Road, London The rooftop was: Spacious. A fair few tables, and it’s first come first served – you can’t book them out. We sat in the sun for quite a long time, and it went in at about 4 o’clock. Drink with: BBQ food. We had a few bar nibbles, but it’s the BBQ where the magic happens. At certain hours of the day the barbecue gets fired up serving delish piri piri chicken. The crowd: Locals. I’ve lived nearby for about five years and I didn’t know The Castle had a rooftop area. I’m glad I know now, though. You should also know: Well, it was a really sunny day, so of course we opted for a big jug of Pimm’s – made to perfection, BTW. Then we moved on to Prosecco. What can we say, it was a boozy afternoon. Hell, we didn’t leave until 10.30pm. Sore head for me the next day.
Bar/Restaurant: The Fifth Floor Terrace Where: 5th floor Harvey Nichols, London The rooftop was: Beautiful. Taking inspiration from the Chelsea Flower Show, the terrace looks like a magical garden that you want to stumble across on a hot summer’s day and while away the afternoon. Drink with: Cloudy Bay wines take centre stage here. A special 3 course a la carte tasting menu has been created and each course comes with a recommended wine suggestion to complement each dish. For example the delicious and invigorating cornish crab starter is matched with a light and fresh Sauvignon Blanc whereas the more sweet and tangy goats cheese parfait is served with a more powerful acidic yet creamy Chardonnay. It works. The mains are south coast seabass with artichokes and truffle red wine jus (with Chardonnay again) and poached and roast poussin with new season peas, mint and baby gem salad – this one comes with a delicate and very moreish Pinot Noir. On to the third and final course! At this point we are feeling very refreshed but happily tuck into the ricotta cheesecake with is served with a lovely and sweet Riesling and floating islands which are washed down with a glass of sparkling Pelorus Brut. Each dish is married with a delicious wine suggestion and to pick a favourite would be akin to name one’s favourite child. The service is excellent and our waiter Paulius looked after us, we loved it.