There’s nothing Londoners love more than flocking to the tops of the city’s tallest buildings on some of the hottest days of the year. From the chic rooftops of the West End to the quirky bars of the East End, there’s a rooftop for every occasion (and appetite). These places take al fresco to the next level with their sprawling 360 views of the iconic London skyline, imaginative cocktails, creative decor, and unique dishes. Looking to escape the street and sip cocktails in the sky? Here are our 11 favorite rooftop bars in London:
Jin Bo Law
Popular with the 9-5ers of the city, Jin Bo Law is a classic cocktail bar with a close-up view of London’s most popular skyscrapers. Located atop the elegant Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate, Jin Bo Law is decorated in gold and marble accents. The indoor and outdoor establishment features a long sky bar that sits at eye level with The Walkie Talkie building, The Gherkin, and The Shard. Try one of their signature cocktails like the Pickled tink for a true taste of high-quality mixology.
Pro Tip: Visiting on a weekday? Try to get here just before 5 as it gets packed with the after-work crowd.
Dalston Roof Park
Located in East London, Dalston is Shoreditch’s edgier, yet super laid-back, sister neighborhood. Dalston Roof Park, the only rooftop in town, is a go-to spot for many Londoners on a sunny day. Head there on Mondays for a buzzing happy hour, and on Tuesdays, you’ll find quiz nights, dinner clubs, or even cocktail masterclasses. When the weekend rolls around, the Roof Park is brimming with various music events from hip hop to disco. All of the profits here go to empowering young people and businesses in the community. Talk about partying with a purpose!
Open all-year-round, this rooftop bar is just as sleek and stylish as the hotel lobby beneath it. Upon walking into Boundary London, you’ll be greeted by a concierge who may or may not tell you there’s a wait for a table. No fear, once you’ve gotten in, the vibes here on a hot summer day cannot be matched. There’s a heated glass restaurant area lined with greenery for the days with unpredictable London weather and a cozy garden dotted in string lights for those balmy summer evenings. Boundary London’s cocktail menu ranges from classics to imaginative seasonal drinks, too. Whatever you do, don’t leave without taking in the view that overlooks the streets of Shoreditch.
Pro Tip: Be prepared to wait. The first time I came here, it was a sunny Saturday and the wait was about 30 minutes before we were sipping cocktails on the rooftop.
On any given Saturday, the lobby of the Ace Hotel is buzzing with locals and travelers alike. A DJ will be spinning amongst the crowd and the cocktail menu includes innovative sips and classics done well. Most party-goers just stop here, not realizing that the hotel has an amazing rooftop just above the lobby’s dancefloor. Night Light is Ace’s re-occurring rooftop event. With sweeping 7th floor views over Shoreditch, stellar cocktails, and on occasion, a BBQ, the rooftop at Ace is not to be missed.
Pro Tip: This is one of my favorite places in London because it’s always buzzing with creative and interesting people. If you visit on a weekend, have pre-drinks in the lobby, hang out on the rooftop, and end the night in their basement club, Miranda.
Each summer for the past 11 years, Frank’s Cafe opens to the public as the go-to rooftop in South London’s Peckham neighborhood. This year, Frank’s is open atop a former car park (or parking garage) and has 360 views worth seeing. The cafe serves up simple, classic cocktails, so if you’re an Aperol Spritz or Moscow Mule kind of person, this is the place for you. To top it off, visitors should indulge in their rooftop brunch too. Some stand out brunch dishes include the sausage pitta and pesto eggs on toast.
One of the most iconic rooftop venues in London, Radio Rooftop sits on the 10th floor of the ME Hotel in the West End. While the food and drinks here are great, the views are really what will keep you coming back. Whether you come at sunrise (they’re open from 7 AM) or sunset, you’ll be met with striking views of the River Thames and London’s famous skyline. If you fancy a cocktail or even food, the menu at Radio Rooftop has something for everyone’s taste buds. We recommend coming with friends because this one is just too good not to share.
Madison Terrace Bar and Lounge
There’s no place better than the Madison to snap an iconic London picture for your Instagram feed. Madison Terrace Bar and Lounge is located just above the One New Change shopping center. The bar is neighbors with London’s most famous church, St. Paul’s Cathedral. The 6th-floor lounge has an accompanying restaurant that serves tapas perfect for sharing. While the bar at Madison puts a modern twist on classic cocktails like the Negroni and Gin & Tonic. The best time to come here is at nighttime, just as the sun is setting over London’s East End with St. Paul’s hovering in the background.
Queen of Hoxton
The Queen indeed. This Shoreditch-based bar has a cult-like following and rightfully so. Twice every year, the Queen of Hoxton team transforms their rooftop bar into a cozy, wintery bliss and then a summer, sun-soaking haven. This summer’s theme, Las Mexicans, is a loving ode to the lady Lucha Libre wrestlers of Mexico. From full-on Mariachi bands to giant margaritas big enough to share with your mates, Queen of Hoxton knows how to keep things exciting. If you decide to stick around beyond the rooftop’s opening hours, head to the Queen’s basement for a stellar DJ line up and all the rave vibes you didn’t know you needed.
Skylight is open year round in East London’s Tobacco Dock area. In the winter, visit to experience the only rooftop ice rink in Europe, cheesy food, and ice hockey games. By summer, the rooftop is transformed into an urban oasis in the sky. There are daybeds, lush garden booths, street food, and summer cocktails. Skylight is the perfect place to hang with friends or network with new people over lawn games and a spritz.
The Trafalgar St. James – The Rooftop
Located atop the famous London hotel, The Trafalgar St. James, The Rooftop has one of the best views in the city. Decorated in emerald green, gold, and lined with plants, The Rooftop strikes the perfect balance between modern and being effortlessly chic. The cocktails here are well crafted, including signature drinks like the Aperol-based Under The Tuscan Sun. The food menu includes traditional Italian dishes from Focaccia to Tiramisu. Grab a glass, a plate, and head to the terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square where you’ll get inimitable views of the London Eye.
Sushisamba is one of the tallest rooftop bars in the city. Located atop the Heron Tower building, Sushi Samba sits on the 38th and 39th floors serving up dramatic views of the city’s skyline. Inside, the restaurant cooks up a fusion of Japanese-Brazilian cuisine with creative cocktails, too. The glass-enclosed rooftop is dotted with string lights giving it the perfect ambiance for an evening with friends or a date night. Head to the terrace for incredible sunsets and a 360 circle bar that’s always buzzing with Londoners.
Pro Tip: If you want an even crazier view of the city, head to the 44th floor of the Heron Tower.