September 17, 2020

10 top rooftop bars in London

Rooftop bars in London is not the first thing you think of when you’re planning your visit! Or at least I don’t. I’m usually all about getting my fix of shopping on Oxford Street or which of the hotels I will go to for a decadent high tea.

But London actually has a great rooftop bar scene that could keep you bar hopping for days! Being up high they give you that sense of escaping the claustrophobic city feeling and also provide an amazing skyline backdrop for sipping a delicious cocktail or a chilled wine.

And another plus, especially in times of the pandemic: the outdoor rooftop bar is the ideal place to go for safer socialising than indoor spaces. If you needed an excuse to grab a drink, that is!

London aerial view at night
Ah, good old London town!

I’ve rounded up my favourite rooftop bars in London, many of them open year round, so you can enjoy the best views and even feel like you’re saving the world. Cheers to that!

Bar Elba

Bar Elba is a hidden gem close to Waterloo station and one of the newest rooftop bars in London.

On the way up you will find motivational quotes to keep you going (as if the thought of a refreshing drink wouldn’t be motivational enough).

The bar has a big outdoor space, a relaxed atmosphere and food and drinks at reasonable prices. It also has the very first rooftop ice rink which means that in winter, the bar is being transformed from a tropical paradise into a winter wonderland with fairy lights and soft furnishing. Bring your skates!

Bar Elba rooftop bar London
You can catch a glimpse of the London Eye from Bar Elba

Forza Wine         

This one is for the wine lovers. The Italian restaurant team Forza Win (yes, the “e” is missing on purpose) created a lovely outdoor drinking terrace on the 5th floor of Rye Lane’s work space Market.

You will be able to order from a 36-strong bottle menu and enjoy some truly delicious Italian dishes. Can it get any better than that?!

wine garden at Forza Wine London
The wine garden at Forza Wine

Duck & Waffle

In Duck & Waffle, located by Liverpool Street Station, you can soak up panoramic views from the 40th floor while sipping on a cocktail or eating a renowned dish.

The venue is the highest restaurant in the UK and the only skyline restaurant in England that boasts a 24/7 menu!

From the comfort of your table inside and 175 m above ground, you can see the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge and many more of the famous London buildings. Even the glass lift journey is iconic and going up at great speed taking in the incredible views is an unforgettable experience.

Duck and Waffle London view
Duck & Waffle is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Boundary Rooftop       

The popular Boundary Rooftop bar in the heart of Shoreditch is perched atop the Boundary project, which also contains a boutique hotel, a restaurant, a café and a deli.

It has a weatherproof pergola allowing the bar and dining area to be open in all weathers. Enjoy a drink and the impressive panoramic views while being surrounded by heaters and the smoky scent of cigars and wood-burning fire. Cosy!

Boundary rooftop bar and grill London
Mimosa on the Boundary rooftop!

Dalston Roof Park

Dalston Roof Park is nestled amongst Hackney’s Victorian buildings and overlooks London’s skyscrapers. It feels a bit like you found a well-kept secret, especially because it’s not that easy to get there.

You will have to navigate through the hallways and elevators and cross some fire escapes to make it to the roof. However, it will be totally worth it!

Here you will find a bit of everything, from refreshing cocktails to live music, film programmes and even mini golf courses. All profits go back into empowering young professionals and businesses which means you’ll be drinking cocktails for a great cause!

Frank’s Cafe

This popular summer-only Frank’s Cafe and Bar in Peckham is perched on a multi-storey car park.

The roof terrace is spacious and furnished with wooden benches and tables and it makes the perfect place to go for sunset spritzes and the popular Campari-based cocktails or street food, while admiring the view.

The place combines drinking with art installations as it’s part of Bold Tendencies, a not-for-profit arts organisation which adds to the unique and lively atmosphere. Be aware that you can’t book a table in advance, so try to go at less busy times to get a good spot.

Frank's Cafe and Bar London
Frank’s Cafe – equipped for all weather!

Bussey Rooftop Bar     

Bussey Rooftop Bar is located in Peckham close to the train station Peckham Rye and its décor is stunning – palm trees, fairy lights and pastel-coloured decking give the place a beach bar feel.

Lean back, listen to the laid-back tunes and enjoy the 360 view from the 5th floor of an old industrial building, or get tickets for one of the popular comedy nights.

In winter, the bar transforms into a winter wonderland. So, even though most Christmas markets will get cancelled this year, you can still try and get some happy x-mas vibes here!

Bussey rooftop bar London

Sky Garden

This top attraction Sky Garden is not a rooftop bar but is in fact the highest garden in London and you will get a spectacular 360 view of the city while walking around in the glass building, which is especially perfect when the weather is not at its best.

The Sky Garden is located at 20 Fenchurch Street on the 35th floor of the famous “Walkie Talkie” building.

Go to the City Garden Bar or Sky Pod Bar, pick your drink and enjoy the fantastic views. When the sky is clear you will be able to see everything from Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral, The Shard, the London Eye and more – the whole London experience!

Tickets are released three weeks in advance, so your visit involves a bit of planning but you won’t be disappointed!

Sky Garden at sunset
The Sky Garden at sunset

Golden Bee

Golden Bee rooftop bar between the Financial district and Shoreditch has got you covered… literally! Its giant canopy covers the terrace, so you can even enjoy a drink on a rainy day (London has few of these, remember).

The bar is known for its delicious cocktails and it’s also a great place for watching people from above as there’s always something unique going on down below in trendy Shoreditch!

Golden Bee rooftop bar London
Golden Bee rooftop

Netil 360

Netil 360 in Hackney is located within walking distance from Broadway Market and London Fields and often hosts parties once the sun has set.

There are DJ takeovers on the weekends, film nights during the week and even some cool stargazing events from time to time.

Even though the artificial grass flooring might not look that appealing, it’s the atmosphere that makes this place special, and the panoramic, full-circle views of London. It’s a bit of a walk before you get to the top but it will be worth it!

Chilling at Netil 360
Chilling at Netil 360 on dusk. Pic @swabeyjules

Below are a few things you might like to do between drinks from Get Your Guide:

About Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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