Cart is empty
The sun has made its debut and Londoners are swarming parks and beer gardens en masse. While there’s nothing quite like having a tipple in your local, sometimes a swish cocktail and views over the Thames are just what the doctor ordered. These are London’s best rooftop bars for when things get classy.
Who doesn’t love a bit of friendly competition? Head to Flight Club for classic cocktails and dart games all night. Once you’ve proven yourself king or queen of the boards, head upstairs to the Magic Gardens to reconcile friendships amid vibrant lighting and kitsch decor.
2. Bar Elba
This rooftop oasis sits just across the road from The Old Vic. After battling your way through commuters at Waterloo station and climbing a series of staircases, you’ll find Bar Elba’s refreshing frosé (frozen rosé, duh) is a worthy reward.
3. 12th Knot
Make a beeline for this 12th-floor terrace of the Sea Containers hotel on the South Bank for champagne cocktails and sunset punctuated by London’s iconic buildings and skyscrapers. On chillier days, sink into 12th Knot’s plush velvet sofas inside.
4. Frank’s Café
Don’t let this multi-storey car park in Peckham put you off. Follow the bright pink stairwell onwards and upwards for sunset negronis and G&Ts. Only open during the summer months, Frank’s is a real holiday-esque treat.
While London’s East End is gradually moving away from the gritty vibe it’s known for, the timber beams and exposed brickwork of the Grade I Listed Tobacco Docks stands resolute. Located in Wapping, Skylight London offers a pared back, urban retreat for weekday night sanctuary.
It’s not hard to see why Culpeper is a hotspot for trendy millennials. An overgrown rooftop garden with a strong focus on sustainability, this bar uses home-grown herbs and vegetables in its innovative cocktails. If wine is your poison, browse the menu for a selection of English, biodynamic and natural options.
Despite its basic reputation, Pergola on the Roof is still going strong as one of London’s most popular summertime terraces, serving finger-licking burgers and kebabs alongside poké and dumplings. Best for a bottomless Sunday brunch, followed by afternoon snoozing on the daybeds.
Also known as the Rooftop Film Club, the Bussey Building’s canopied terrace oozes holiday vibes come summer with vines, flowers and 360° views of London’s skyline. Herald the warm weather here by washing down seasonal bites with craft beer and creative cocktails.
Sat atop an old legal courthouse, this rooftop bar has glass balconies and views across the East End. During the summer months, the kitchen whips up some delicious barbecue dishes – pair with tropical cocktails and you’ve got edible sunshine.
10. Jin Bo Law
Come to the 14th floor of Aldgate’s Dorsett City Hotel for views of Tower Bridge, the Shard and the Gherkin – and stay for pineapple-themed interiors and Asian-inspired cocktails. Play it safe a Ki No Bi gin and tonic, or be bold with a Milk & Cookies cocktail – sake, vanilla milk, cinnamon syrup and fortune cookies.
You May Also Like
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
Embrace the adventurous appetite of the next generation with an annual subscription. SUITCASE Magazine challenges travel perceptions with thought-provoking photo journals, city guides and articles by award-winning international writers.
We'll tell you where you can find the perfect boutique hotel in Paris for under £150, if you tell us about the best dive bar in your city. Deal? Share your stories and photos with #SUITCASEtravels.