Rooftop Bars in London: 10 Places to Drink with a View

Published by: Bounce28 September, 2022

If you love rooftop bars, you won’t be disappointed with the rooftop bars in the British capital. London certainly doesn't disappoint where rooftop bars are concerned. There are some absolutely amazing rooftop bars in London, and while they can range anywhere from ultra-swanky to down-to-earth, not literally, they all have one thing in common, and that's amazing views of the city skyline.

There are rooftop bars in just about every part of London, so unless you're bunking down in the boondocks to save money, you'll be able to find one a stone's throw from where you're staying. Many London rooftop bars don't just open at night. There are rooftop terraces that serve superb brunches and lunches, which are great stop-off points if you've spent the morning shopping in London.

Whether you're looking for a stunning rooftop bar that meets all the criteria to be called posh or prefer one that's set up like a roof garden, you'll find it. It doesn't matter if you're in north London, south London, east London, or west London; you'll be able to sit and sip classic cocktails while admiring the iconic London skyline.

There are rooftop bars with views of St Paul's Cathedral and others from where you can see London Bridge so you can do your sightseeing while enjoying a drink. You should be aware, though, that most of the rooftop bars in London have a strict protocol about entering with large bags for security reasons. The best way to store your bags safely is to use one of the Bounce luggage storage facilities in London. All Bounce luggage lockers have security tags and are fully insured, so even if you've spent a fortune on King's Road, your belongings will be perfectly safe.

Where Are The Best Rooftop Bars In London?

Bar Elba

What it's like:

When you're in central London and need a break from taking photos of the city's famous landmarks, head for Bar Elba. Bar Elba is in the South Bank district of the city, just across the river from Big Ben and five minutes from Waterloo station.

This London rooftop bar has an outdoor terrace and a cozy wood-paneled mezzanine level which is ideal for those drizzly days when it's too damp to sit outside. It's the perfect spot for a recuperation lunch while staring at the Shard and the London Eye. If you're considering going for the bottomless rooftop brunch that they serve on Saturdays and Sundays, make sure to book in advance, as they don't accept walk-ins on weekends.

Our Recommendation:

Has to be the pulled pork taco with a starburst boogie cocktail on the side. If you're vegetarian, swap the pork taco for a jackfruit taco. It's delicious.

Location:

Mercury House, Waterloo Road, 109-117

Radio Rooftop Bar

What it's like:

The Radio Rooftop Bar is one of the very best rooftop bars in London. The bar is located on the tenth floor of the ME Hotel, and the views of the Thames, St Paul's Cathedral, and the Shard more than make up for the comfortable but somewhat dour business-like furnishings.

At the Radio Rooftop, you can spoil yourself royally from any one of their food and drinks menus. Here, they serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, and small bites, along with a very sophisticated drinks list that will definitely have you drooling. Before you get carried away and indulge in a bottle of pink champagne to toast the London skyline, make sure to put your reading glasses on and check the prices.

Our Recommendation:

A gin and elderflower-based cocktail called Crown and Glory with a side of jalapeno pickled shrimps. They'll really get your taste buds tingling.

Location:

The Strand, 336-337

London Bridge Rooftop Bar

What it's like:

The London Bridge Rooftop Bar is one of the most popular rooftop bars in London, and not just because of its city center location or the happy hour they have every day from 2 pm to 3 pm. Drinking here is like drinking in your own backyard. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, there are astroturf, picnic-style tables, and benches, so if you don't like posh cocktail bars, you'll love this London rooftop bar.

Don't turn up with your tongue hanging out from thirst too early, though; during the week, the London Bridge Rooftop Bar doesn't open until 2 pm. On weekends you can get hydrated earlier as they're open from midday. You'll certainly work up a thirst getting to this bar as it's on the sixth floor, and there's no elevator. You'll need to climb 98 steps to get to the bar, but once you're there, it'll be worth it.

Our Recommendation:

This is the perfect rooftop terrace for a few beers and a plate of patatas bravas topped with manchego cheese.

Location:

Colechurch House, Bridge Walk

The Rooftop

What it's like:

While they might not have been overly creative in naming the rooftop bar of the Trafalgar Hotel in Trafalgar Square, they made up for it when doing the décor and creating the menus. The views of the London skyline from this seventh-floor rooftop are incredible too.

Take a seat along the balustrade of this London rooftop terrace, and you'll be able to look right down onto Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column, as well as see the London Eye and St Paul's in the distance. The Rooftop has quite a strict dress code, so make sure to go smart-casual, or you won't be allowed in. There's also an over 21 only rule in place at the weekends, so if you're younger than that, skip this rooftop bar and go somewhere else.

Our Recommendation:

Try a Tropicolada or a Cos-no-politan with some truffle and pecorino nut nibbles.

Location:

Spring Gardens, 2, St James's

Skylark Roof Garden

What it's like:

When you want a London rooftop bar with a bit of boho chic, you could do worse than drop by the Skylark Roof Garden. Located on the tenth floor of Paddington Central, a mall, leisure center, and office block, this spacious roof terrace has a lot going for it. It's just a stone's throw from Paddington Station, so if you've arrived in London by train, you won't have far to go before you get the drinks in.

While the garden here is more than just a few large pot plants scattered around the rooftop terrace, you can see out over Hyde Park, Regents Canal, and Little Venice, so there's water and greenery around. This is a great spot to sip on classic cocktails, chat with friends and just generally chill out. If you're ravenously hungry, you might need to head somewhere else to eat. They do serve food here, but they're small plates of pan-Asian food that are super tasty, although not great appetite killers.

Our Recommendation:

Go for the pitchers of cocktails if you're with friends or planning on a lengthy session. You'll get a lot more for your money than if you order individual cocktails.

Location:

Kingdom Street, 4

LSQ Rooftop

What it's like:

If you want to impress a date, then take them to the LSQ Rooftop. This rooftop bar and restaurant has a dark and very plush interior decked out with dark wood and leather banquettes, as well as a terrace with sensational skyline views.

The focus at this luscious ninth-floor location is on Mediterranean food, although they do serve breakfast too. This is fine dining and top-class mixology all the way. There's an old saying that goes – you get what you pay for – so go for the bottomless brunch on Saturday, and you'll get your money's worth.

Our Recommendation:

Sip on a Porn Star Martini while trying not to cringe at how much it cost you.

Location:

Leicester Square, 1

Garden Rooftop

What it's like:

When the inclement British weather is trying to put a dampener on you enjoying time at a London rooftop bar, or it's just too chilly to be outside, head for the Garden Rooftop on the tenth floor of the Assembly Hotel. This rooftop bar is a heated glass orangery that's ideal for the chillier months of the year.

The décor at the Garden Rooftop is quite formal but does have lots of colorful plants hanging from the ceiling to offset the staidness of the beige furnishings. You will find that the view from some tables on this roof terrace is much better than at others, so if you make a reservation before arriving, ask for one facing in the direction of the Shard.

Our Recommendation:

They have an exceptionally good tapas menu here, so choose something from there and accompany it with a glass of red or white wine.

Location:

Assembly Hotel, Charing Cross Road, 31

Jin Bo Law

What it's like:

If you like exclusivity and don't mind paying for it, then you'll probably want to give the rooftop bar at the Dorsett City Hotel a visit when you're in London. From the Jin Bo Law Skybar on the hotel's 14th floor, you can almost reach out and touch the Shard.

You won't see a great deal more from this stylish roof terrace, though, other than the Shard and part of Tower Bridge, as the hotel is surrounded by some of the tallest high rises in the city. Still, the surrounding skyline does look amazing at night while you're standing slurping down one of the bar's signature cocktail creations.

Our Recommendation:

As this rooftop bar is on the 14th floor, what better cocktail could you have than a High Life?

Location:

Aldgate High Street, 9

Bussey Rooftop Bar

What it's like:

Well out of the city center, the Bussey Rooftop Bar is in the more residential neighborhood of Peckham in East London. This laid-back roof terrace has more of a pub vibe going on than anything else, and while it does have 360-degree views, anything of interest is quite a long way away.

The Bussey can easily be defined as more of a haunt for locals than it is a draw for tourists, so if you're not staying nearby, you might find it somewhat out of the way. This location is all about beers, tropical cocktails, pizza, and pub quizzes.

Our Recommendation:

The pizzas. The pizzas here are pre-prepared by Share-a-Slice. Buy one, and another is donated free of charge to someone in need.

Location:

Roof B, Bussey Building, Rye Lane, 133

Sabine Rooftop Bar

What it's like:

While the Sabine Rooftop Bar likes to boast it's a secret getaway from the city, it's really not so secret as everyone knows where it is. Armchair comfort in a garden-style setting overlooking St Paul's Cathedral is what this spacious roof terrace is all about.

The good thing about this seventh-floor bar is its retractable roof. It gets opened when the sun shines and closed when it's not. Both the food and drink menus here are very varied, so you'll have no trouble finding something you like.

Our Recommendation:

For a tasty treat, try the asparagus bocarones accompanied by a Sabine Fling.

Location:

Godliman Street, 10

Conclusion

From the sophisticated to the more lowly, figuratively speaking, there really are rooftop bars in London to suit all tastes. There's no denying that the drinks in some rooftop bars are quite a lot more expensive than in others, especially when you're in the city center. That's London for you. When you want to drink in any of the best rooftop bars in London, it's not going to be cheap.

If you're traveling on a budget, be wise and shop around a bit, and you'll find one or two London rooftop bars that still offer amazing views of the skyline but won't leave you considering taking out a short-term mortgage when you're contemplating having a second drink.

Get the Bounce Luggage Storage App

Instantly find locations nearby to drop off your luggage wherever you go

download on androiddownload on ios