There’s nothing quite like summer in London. Sweltering tubes, packed parks and boiling office blocks may seem like hell to some, but even though it can get as warm as the devil’s playground, the real rewards of a city summer come in the evenings.
Soft, balmy and beautiful, the cityscape at sunset is one of the real rewards of living in London – and is no better enjoyed than with a drink in your hand atop one of the city’s varied rooftop bars. Dreaming of Pimms and a view already? Here’s where to best sate your thirst.
Casa Havana, Tower Hill
Skylounge, situated at the top of the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tower of London, and boasts panoramic views of some of London’s most iconic buildings including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard and The Gherkin. And, this summer, a new residency has brought the intoxicating flavours of Cuba to the rooftop in the form of Casa Havana.
Iconic rum brand Havana Rum has remodelled the chic Skylounge rooftop bar terrace into a Cuban retreat, allowing guests to immerse themselves within the relaxed Cuban vibe and feel as though they have travelled to Old Havana. Guests will be able to indulge in a series of ‘Cuban Classic’ and ‘Future Classic’ cocktails, as imagined by HavanaClub Rum’s Brand Ambassadors – from Mojitos to Cuba Libres.
The Roof Deck, Selfridges
Perched upon Selfridges’ iconic rooftop, the newly-opened Roof Deck Restaurant & Bar is the seventh rooftop collaboration between the iconic department store and restaurateur Des McDonald. Inspired by the relaxed, cool living of the West American coast, this California-tinged bar offers a perfect hideaway this summer – you’d never know you were on Oxford Street.
If you decide to check it out, you’ll enter via ‘the boardwalk’ – lined with timber beams and tropical palms. Low hanging wicker lighting and sanded parquet flooring evoke beach bar vibes, and green succulents and palms decorate the bar – which offers cocktails ranging from a Green Cucumber and Chilli Margarita to a Watermelon Martini.
Golden Bee Rooftop, Shoreditch
It may not be brand new like The Roof Deck, but the Golden Bee in Shoreditch has just revamped its outdoor space, doubling the floor space in time for summer. The terrace now features a U-shaped bar, luxurious VIP section and its own bar. Available to be hired, and boasting rooftop cinema sessions in the coming months, this is cool Shoreditch living at its best.
The views are unrivalled, the sushi platters impeccable and even if the weather takes a turn, the Bee team have you covered – quite literally, they’ll hand out blankets and pull across the retractable roof should the clouds roll in.
Rumpus Room, South Bank
If its lighthearted nature wasn’t evident enough in its name, the riverside Rumpus Room describes itself as ‘an elegant rooftop playground’. Recently refurbished, just in time for summer 2017, the venue has been reimagined as a bright and verdant riverside rooftop bar – the best of places to watch the sun set over the glittering Thames.
Expect lush greenery, plush sofas and comfortable lounge spaces in a bar that harnesses the youth and energy of the South Bank, whilst projecting the glamour of modern London. Plus, it’s a rooftop bar with a dress code – smart casual – to ensure a stylish time for all.
Pergola on the Roof, Paddington
Their White City branch may be popular, but the new Paddington digs claim to one-up the original. Pergola on the Roof isn’t necessarily a rooftop bar, it’s a two-floor, canal-side selection of 5 restaurants and 2 bars with seating for over 850 patrons – plenty of room for those summer nights.
An urban paradise, Pergola fuses contemporary design with lush green landscaping, and has the look of a festival/pub/restaurant. You have to see it to understand. And, if that wasn’t impressive enough already, it is the largest outdoor restaurant and bar that you can book in the whole of London. Sign us up.
The Culpeper, Spitalfields
Switching gears to a more intimate locale, The Culpeper is a cheerful and cosy London pub. With a pub, kitchen and lodging rooms inside, the rooftop plays host to not only The Greenhouse – a decked area playing home to a bar, large dining table and wood-fired grill – but also The Garden.
The Garden, where The Culpeper grow as many herbs and vegetables for their kitchen as they possible can, features a bar and some stunning views over London. Swing by on a summer’s night for a barbecue, some fine beers and unrivalled views of Spitalfields.
The Roof Gardens, Kensington
A true hidden gem, the Roof Gardens in Kensington are the most spectacular during summer. Split in various diverse sections – from a Spanish Alhambra to a walled English rose garden. Mediterranean trees, a striking colourful design and even flamingos wandering around make this a real escape – despite sitting just off one of the busiest high streets in the Capital.
The Club – open on Friday and Saturday nights – is the only rooftop private member’s club, and the wide range of cocktails to sample include the champagne-based Agrodolce Symphony, gin-soaked Skye High and decadent Chocolate Martini trio. It may sound hedonistic – but this is Kensington, after all…