At the first sign of cloud break Londoners are straight on the “suns out, guns out” booze bandwagon, flashing the flesh with abandon and racing to the nearest watering hole. Ploughing through Pimm’s, juggling pints and glugging rosé are as characteristic of British summertime as Wimbledon – but as good weather often comes as a surprise, you no doubt up jostling for space on the edge of a pub pavement.

This year, be ready for those rays with our round up of the best alfresco bars in London.

Frank's Café Peckham

You haven’t truly visited this rooftop right of passage unless you take a picture on the stairwell, which is London’s version of LA’s pink wall. Set atop a multi-storey car park in Peckham, expect cold craft beer and cocktails, ox-heart kebabs and brown-sugar hot wings. The dusk skyline views rival that of Manhattan, so get down early because this place has South London cool kids queuing round the block.

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  • 10th Floor, Peckham Multi-Storey Carpark
    95A Rye Lane
    SE15 4ST

Netil360 Hackney

A regular on the summer scene, Netil360 offers more than just a place to kick back with your friends. Adopt their blue-sky policy with a visit to their co-working space during the day; by night, get ready for heady beats, a hip crew and a revolving pizza menu. No bookings.

Rumpus Room Southbank

Plush velvet sofas in jewel colours fill this adult lair at the top of the Mondrian Hotel and, in a nod to the nautical theme that runs throughout Sea Containers House, the rooftop resembles a glamorous cruise ship ballroom. Nestled alongside neighbours such as the Tate Modern and Southwark Festival Hall, this 12th-floor bar boasts majestic floor-to-ceiling views of the river. Who needs the viewing platform at The Shard when you can swing on the rattan chairs overlooking St Pauls Cathedral, cocktail in hand?

Golden Bee Shoreditch

When a bar as stylish as this one graces Shoreditch‘s Singer Street it’s bound to cause a stir. Subtle hints to its name come in the form of octagon-shaped mirrors and honey pots lining the walls – this is a hive where the hip and happening come to play. The setting sun burns the terrace amber then the outdoor fire pits are lit and DJs kick things off with house, R‘n’B and soul.

Ace Hotel Shoreditch

A reliable fixture on the East London party circuit,  stripped-back Scandi meets NY loft at Ace, attracting a young urban crowd. But it’s not all about booze – the rooftop hosts sunrise yoga sessions and sundown dance classes, so get your exercise fix in before peering through their giant purple telescope and ordering an Old Fashioned while you wait for the DJs to start.

Sisu Mayfair

If you can navigate the hordes outside Selfridges, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a rooftop oasis just a stone’s throw from the madness of Oxford Street. Sandwiched between Pizza Hut and a naff souvenir shop, the concealed entrance helps keeps this place a secret among in-the-know Londoners. California-cool foliage, whitewashed tables and beach huts are the perfect surroundings in which to sip negronis (poured out of tuna-style cans) and stuff your face with fish tacos.

Queen of Hoxton Shoreditch

It’s a bit of a slog up the stairwell but that doesn’t stop lost boys and girls making their way to this Neverland hideaway, which is one of East London’s most popular party spots. With rooftop cinema clubs, ukulele lessons and dance workouts, it’s easy to abide by their “always up for it” motto. Visit in winter to sip mulled cider in a woodland wigwam grotto.

The Jam Tree Chelsea

Often jam-packed (particularly when their hog-roast is in rotation) this King’s Road gastropub is decked in out in pop art and entices a West London set to its very British beer garden. Whether it’s post-work drinks or a Sunday session, rub shoulders with pretty boys and girls as you tuck into boutique bloody Marys and aperol spritzes. Their bottomless prosecco brunch is particularly popular.

Hope & Anchor Brixton

Formerly known as The Grand Union, every summer the fairy lights draw us like a moths to a flame and the floral garlands that adorn the cosy huts seal the deal. The Thai-inspired beer garden will keep you amused for hours with its hammocks, fire pits, outdoor projector and ping-pong tables. Nicknamed “the pleasure garden”, you’ll find us squeezed into the novelty tuk-tuk reminiscing about our first ever full moon party.

Dalston Roof Park Dalston

Dalston’s only rooftop venue is not the place if you’re after a quiet one – whether it’s the strength of the cocktails, the thumping audio system or the chiselled hipsters, an evening here always ends in mischief. Originally a community allotment, the astroturf-clad venue has recently installed a retractable roof meaning you can pull up a deckchair and have a pint whatever the weather.

The Garden Gate Hampstead Heath

After Sunday strolls across Hampstead Heath, a pub lunch is always in order. This spacious beer garden conveniently backs onto the heath itself, offering Pimm’s on tap and a huge selection of craft ales. If you don’t own a dog, borrow one so you don’t feel left out in this countryside-esque institution.

Dalloway Terrace Fitzrovia

Named after Virginia Woolf’s character, Mrs Dalloway, dreamy interiors channel all the elegance and charm that the eponymous character lacked. Perfect come rain or shine thanks to weather-protecting foliage and heaters, attentive staff ensure five-star service making it a pretty good spot for a breakfast meeting. Set in the literary heart of London, your parents would love it too.

Frank's Cafe

Netil360

Dalloway Terrace

Queen of Hoxton

Ace Hotel

The Jam Tree

The Garden Gate

Hope & Anchor

Dalston Roof Park

Sisu

Golden Bee

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