Lead image: The new Pergola Paddington Central
Summer in London is one of those wonderful things – a rare glimpse of the sun and everybody gets alfresco fever! The parks are full, the shorts are on and every pub garden is packed. The Resident has put together a list of 40 of the best rooftop bars and terraces for lazy outdoor pursuits…
NEW FOR 2017
WEST CENTRAL LONDON’S
1 The Roof Gardens, Kensington
Since its opening in 1938, The Roof Gardens has been a London landmark. The three gardens span 1.5 acres – there’s the Spanish Garden, the Tudor Garden and the English Woodland, each distinct and spectacular in its own way. In these gardens, which are home to ducks, fish and even flamingos, it is easy to forget the busy streets just 100 ft below. Over summer there is a whole array of events happening – jazz on Tuesdays, BBQs on Friday and Saturday nights and magicians and roasts on Sundays, just to name a few. Entrance to the gardens is free of charge, but it’s usually best to call ahead to make sure they haven’t been booked out for a wedding or event.
99 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA; virginlimitededition.com
2 Tom’s Terrace, Somerset House
With a choice between a restaurant and a more relaxed deli-style café, this terrace at Somerset House is in a great spot for summer evening drinks. Relax with some food and drink and watch the river and the general comings and goings of London. On a sunny day this spot is an absolute gem. Of course there’s always something to have a look at inside Somerset House too.
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA; tomskitchen.co.uk
3 Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, Hyde Park
When the sun comes out, Londoners take to the parks. The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen is in the middle of Hyde Park, right next to the Serpentine Lake and the views are spectacular. Not only does it offer clear views the swans and boats, but it is also a great spot for people watching – picnic makers, roller bladers and dog walkers alike. There’s a Gin Bar, great cocktails a hot dog BBQ, a wood fire pizza oven and a whole range of British classics to tuck into.
Serpentine Road, Hyde Park W2 2UH; benugo.com
4 The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
The Ivy Chelsea opened last summer and became a firm sunny favourite: Now, the new terrace has also been unveiled at the new Ivy Brasserie on High Street Kensington, so you’re spoilt for choice. The beautifully decorated terrace and orangery is as stylish as a garden could get, and being part of The Ivy family, you’re in safe hands when it comes to food and drink. Cocktails and an all-day British menu are available in the alfresco space, which is adorned with fountains, climbing ivy and beautiful antique furniture abound, this the kind of place you will want to spend several hours.
197 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ; theivychelseagarden.com
5 The Terrace at Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, Belgravia
The Terrace at Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is set to reopen on Saturday 29 April 2017 for both guests and visitors. For the second year, the alfresco restaurant and bar is partnering with Bombay Sapphire to offer a ‘ginspired’ selection of cocktails in a botanical setting. Planting for The Terrace garden will take inspiration from the gardens at Laverstoke Mill, Bombay Sapphire’s distillery in rural Hampshire, featuring juniper, almond, angelica, coriander and lemon (all ingredients in Bombay Sapphire). Executive Chef Martin Gabler’s BBQ menu offers a selection of gourmet beef burgers and sandwiches, marinated meats and fresh seafood, alongside colourful salads and summery desserts. Open until mid-September from 12noon-10pm (7pm on Sundays), weather-permitting.
21 Lowndes Street, Belgravia SW1X 9ES; 020 7858 7223; lowndesdining.co.uk/theterrace
6 Ham Yard Hotel
On the 4th floor of Ham Yard Hotel there is a large, leafy roof top garden with sweeping views over the London skyline and a lounge area scattered with Whitman benches, upholstered seating and a bar. While the roof terrace is exclusively available to in-house guests (and can also be hired for private events), the hotel often runs pop-up bars. Last summer it was Vermouth on the Roof, serving vermouth-based cocktails using handcrafted mixers from the garden, and durin the winter there was the Hot Gin Roof with Sipsmith. Who knows what it’ll be this year?
One Ham Yard, Soho W1D 7DT; firmdalehotels.com
7 Yashin Ocean House terrace, South Kensington
Housed on Old Brompton Road in South Kensington, modern Japanese restaurant Yashin Ocean House has opened its terrace for the summer months. Guests can now enjoy Yashin’s inventive head-to-tail, sharing menu alfresco, together with a refreshing range of sparkling sakes and signature cocktails.
117-119 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3RN; yashinocean.com
8 Orrery, Marylebone
This luxury French restaurant reopened last June following refurbishments on the interiors – think vintage mirrors, mahogany wood and leather upholstery. The rooftop terrace hasn’t been forgotten: diners can now expect a quaint Provençal garden with a tailored alfresco menu and wine list.
55 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5RB; orrery-restaurant.co.uk
9 Boulestin, Green Park
If French cuisine and a bit of fresh air is the order of the day, you really can’t go past Boulestin’s hidden courtyard without stopping in. Opening again soon as the weather warms up, this elegant courtyard is a great place to catch a bit of R&R and a fine-dining experience just moments away from St James’s Street. In terms of food, think seasonal menus featuring French dishes like gratin and confit duck accompanied by an excellent wine list.
5 Saint James’s Street, London SW1A 1EF; boulestin.com
10 The Terrace Grill & Bar at Le Meridien Piccadilly
The Terrace Grill & Bar at Le Meridien Piccadilly has both indoor and terrace seating – one of the only outdoor spaces on Piccadilly. Last summer, Le Meridien Piccadilly partnered with its sister hotel Le Meirdien Nice to create a French Riviera pop-up bar inspired by the 70s, decked out with a promenade lined with parasols, palm trees and deck chairs, as well as a traditional village square complete with petanque. Let’s hope it makes a return.
21 Piccadilly W1J 0BH; 020 7734 8000; lemeridienpiccadilly.co.uk
11 Frank’s Cafe, Peckham
Frank’s Café is the hottest spot south of the river come summer. Open from 19 May 2016 until September, it the country’s coolest multi-storey car park with cocktails (make it a Negroni or Aperol Spritz) and excellent sharing plates like buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese crème fraiche and smoked paprika and parmesan-roasted corn on the cob. Enjoy the Bold Tendencies installations on the way up to the top floor and buy two rounds at once – the whole of Shoreditch tends to descend on this place so the bar queue is usually huge.
10th floor, Peckham multi-storey car park, 95a Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; frankscafe.org.uk
12 Street Feast at Hawker House
Street Feast has been keeping the population of East London fed and watered for a few years now with Dinorama in Shoreditch and Dalston Yard. The opening of the Model Market at Lewisham sent south east Londoners into raptures, and then along came Hawker House. Originally opened as a warehouse venue to get us through the dark, dreary winter months, in 2016 it expanded into the great outdoors, and is now home to a huge courtyard festival of food and craft beer that those in striking distance of Canada Water station on the Overground or Jubilee. Sadly August Bank Holiday weekend is the outdoor area’s swansong as activities retreat back indoors, but you can still enjoy the alfresco vibes at Dinorama, Dalston Yard and the Model Market.
13 The Terrace at Oxo
Eight floors up at the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie is a fantastic Thames-side terrace serving cocktails and bar snacks. Last summer’s Bloom Gin Terrace @ Oxo served up a bespoke menu of six cocktails (all £13) inspired by English country gardens and created by OXO star’s mixologist Sophie Bratt. What will it be this year?
Barge House Street, South Bank SE1 9PH; harveynichols.com
14 Terrazza on the Thames, Rotherhithe
Terrazza on the Thames is an exclusive riverside pop-up on the private terrace at Columbia Restaurant in Rotherhithe. With its own bar and kitchen and a stunning view of the Canary Wharf skyline, this pop-up features authentic Venetian food from Terrazza.
Docklands Riverside, 265 Rotherhithe Street SE16 5HW; columbiarestaurant.co.uk
15 Plymouth Gin Dock, Rivington Greenwich
Where better to create a nautical-themed outdoor terrace than Maritime Greenwich? Last year, Plymouth Gin teamed up with Rivington Greenwich to do just that, and it looks like the Plymouth Gin Dock will be back this summer.
Bookings can be made online at rivingtongreenwich.co.uk
16 Brew, Putney
All-day breakfast, wood fired pizzas after 5pm, an outdoor cinema on Wednesday nights and a top notch wine list to boot – Brew in Putney is shaping up as a summer go-to. As the fourth Brew café in south west London, the Putney location is the first to open in the evenings and has a lovely outdoor terrace area – currently it’s sheltered by a retractable roof and has a heating system to keep you warm while it’s still a little chilly, but come summer the roof will be back and the terrace soaking up the sun. Sit outside for an early morning juice, a late Bloody Mary-fueled brunch, afternoon coffee and cake, or an evening of wine and pizza.
162-164 Lower Richmond Road, Putney SW15 1LY; brew-cafe.com
17 The Rumpus Room, South Bank
Rumpus Room at Mondrian London reopened on 31 March 2017 following a complete refurbishment. Located on the 12th floor of the Thames-side hotel, the bar has an innovative new look, curated by designer Jacu Strauss (previously of Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio), that encompasses the hotel’s Transatlantic essence. Taking inspiration from 1920s glamour with splashes of hot pink and peacock blue, the inclusion of foliage set against the floor-to-ceiling windows mimics the heady summers in the Hamptons. Find your way to the rooftop bar via the neon signs and hall of mirrors, and enjoy an alfresco cocktail before retreating to the safety of the indoor restaurant – still boasting those killer views – for dinner. Open till 1am Tues-Weds and 2am Thurs-Sat.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank SE1 9PD; morganshotelgroup.com
18 The Lido Café, Herne Hill
The Lido Café in Brockwell Park is one of our favourite spots in south London when the sun is out. A good-sized terrace faces the swimmers and the park’s leafy trees beyond, transporting you away from London and into a more rural environment. Modern-British food is served all-day, making this a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Dulwich Road, Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill SE24 0PA; thelidocafe.co.uk
19 Craft London, Greenwich Peninsula
Stevie Parle opened the acclaimed Dock Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove six years ago, added Rotorino in Hackney last year and now he has crossed the river, putting Greenwich Peninsula on the culinary map with his new café, restaurant and bar, Craft London. ‘It’s an amazing building and a wonderful space,’ he says. ‘I particularly love the light here and we have a fabulous view of the river and the O2 from the third floor bar. There are great new places in Peckham and Bermondsey and London Bridge and now we are putting Greenwich Peninsula on the map too,’ says Stevie.
Craft London, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0SQ; craft-london.co.uk
A photo posted by Craft London (@craftldn) on
20 The Sail Loft, Greenwich
Peaceful waterside dining is a pretty rare find in London, but you’ll find it at The Sail Loft in Greenwich. This new Fuller’s pub serves up a brilliant brunch, with the likes of black pudding hash with fried hen’s egg, plus roasted field mushroom, spinach, butternut squash and sourdough on the menu. If the weather turns, head indoors where you can still enjoy a view of the Thames from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
11 Victoria Parade Greenwich SE10 9FR; 020 8222 9310; sailloftgreenwich.co.uk
21 Roka, Canary Wharf
Roka Canary Wharf’s tasting menu is the stuff of dreams. As is the à la carte… try one of Roka’s legendary sushi and sashimi platters and hot dishes inspired by Japanese and Asian cuisine. The black miso cod is divine and you simply must sample the wagyu nigiri, it’s to die for. The sake sommelier will make sure you have something suitable to wash it down with. The terrace is a fantastic spot to dine come summer, overlooking Canada Square Park, you take in the bright lights of London’s sleekest office towers while soaking up the sounds of the Canary Wharf Summer Concerts.
4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square E14 5FW; 020 7636 5228; rokarestaurant.com
22 The Water Poet, Shoreditch
We’re not the only ones to think that The Water Poet’s beer garden is among the best in London, and with ivy-covered walls, weathered benches and a buzzing atmosphere it’s easy to see why. And we haven’t even mentioned the menu and drinks list yet! This quirky pub has something for everyone – just make sure you don’t get lost wandering through all their many rooms trying to find the deck.
9-11 Folgate Street, London E1 6BX; waterpoet.co.uk
23 Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
The Boundary rooftop combines grape producing vines and wild herbs to create a rooftop garden space that is open all year thanks to the weatherproof pergola and open fire. In terms of eating, you can expect Mediterranean hors d’oeuvres, bar snacks and steaks off the grill. When the weather’s good there may be a wait on tables, and it doesn’t take bookings on small tables so either get together a group and plan ahead or expect to join the well-dressed queue of punters. The views over the roofs of Shoreditch are worth it, though.
2-4 Boundary Street, London E2 7DD; theboundary.co.uk
24 The Culpeper, Spitalfields
Having grown most of its own herbs and vegetables on the roof for some time now, Culpeper is no stranger to making the most of its urban environment. This summer its team will be opening their rooftop garden to the public and it is set to be a great spot. Already an excellent place for the list of natural wines and the menu offerings, such as pancetta with snails, wild garlic and Jerusalem artichokes, the fact that you will soon be able to eat and drink these things in a garden above the city only makes things better.
40 Commercial Street, London E1 6LP; theculpeper.com
25 Dishoom, Shoreditch
The ever popular Dishoom, modelled off an old Irani café in Bombay, has a great verandah area perfect for sunlight, reading a book off the shelves or working your way through the delicious menu. The retractable walls and roof make this area a safe bet all year round and in any weather, but this place is popular so get in early – we suggest going for breakfast, the bacon naans are a favourite.
7 Boundary Street, London E2 7JE; dishoom.com
26 Angler, Moorgate
Michelin-starred restaurant Angler, in the South Place Hotel not only serves up some of the best seafood in London but also has a lovely, elegant outdoor terrace. Rattan chairs and green shrubs create a Provençal style in the middle of the city, so with a setting like that, it only seems right to crack into the rosé.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF; anglerrestaurant.com
27 Coq d’Argent, Bank
One of the most infamous rooftops in the City, Coq d’Argent’s covered and heated terrace takes many guises throughout the year, from winter wonderland with fur rugs and mugs of steaming cider to sun trap, where icy cocktails cool wound-up workers.
No.1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ; coqdargent.co.uk
28 Dalston Roof Park, Dalston
Described as an ‘urban utopian oasis’ with views of the London skyline, this multifaceted project will re-open on the 1 May. Membership for the season is £5, which grants you unlimited entry into the Roof Park’s events – film screenings, music, street food and more. Its Facebook page will keep you up to date with what it’s got planned.
The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL; bootstrapcompany.co.uk
29 Summer Terrace at Boisdale Canary Wharf
Iconic British restaurant Boisdale of Canary Wharf launched a brand new alfresco terrace with Gancia last year. Gancia of Italy produce some of the finest Italian sparkling wines available and pride themselves on being the first ever sparkling wine brand to come out of Italy in 1865. Will Gancia be back this year? Fingers crossed! The terrace is a great spot to wind down in the lengthy evenings overlooking the iconic city landscape.
Cabot Place, Canary Wharf E14 4QT; boisdale.co.uk
30 The Tea Merchant, Canary Wharf
After a major refurbishment, The Tea Merchant opened a few months ago, quickly establishing itself as a place to enjoy great fresh food, cask ales, wines, eclectic beers and spirits, and simply unwind. The Tea Merchant makes the most of Canary Wharf’s tranquil dockside terraces with 90 alfresco covers and heated parasols, all overlooking the North Quay. It’s a great spot to escape the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf.
25-27 Fisherman’s Walk, Canary Wharf E14 4DH; teamerchantcanarywharf.co.uk
31 Pergola on the Roof, Television Centre
Pergola on the Roof was huge hit last year. Set 170-feet-high up, underneath a beautiful canopy of evergreen ivy, wisteria and bougainvillea, set against white washed walls, it was designed as a vision of the Mediterranean. The central bar stocks an array of rose, whites, reds, bubbles, ciders, beers and cocktails, plus there’s a roaming drinks trolley should you find a trip to the bar too bothersome! The street food stalls serve up the likes of rotisserie chicken, pork belly, ribs, burgers and more. Opening 3 May 2017 until 1 October.
Multi-Storey Car Park, Television Centre, Wood Lane W12 7RJ; pergolaontheroof.co.uk
32 Dock Kitchen, Kensal Green
An old Victorian Wharf building in the Portobello Dock complex was converted into this restaurant as part of an urban regeneration project, and the results are one of the best restaurants in the area. The views out over Grand Union canal are a great accompaniment to this globe-spanning menu, featuring Sri Lankan, Indian, Korean and British cuisine.
Portobello Docks, 342-344 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU; dockkitchen.co.uk
33 No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Chiswick
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is a destination bar that pays homage to the history and community at the centre of the building, and a bar that aims to feel like a home to the locals. They’ve re-imagined the space entirely (the historic building had previously been an All Bar One) and focused on the community aspect of integrity and openness. ‘There was a little courtyard space at the back that was underused and just posed as a smoking solution, and the building previously cut off two thirds of the way down so we created an open kitchen for a sense of honesty and theatre, but it also means that when you walk in you can see from front to back and your eye is drawn to the courtyard,’ says Mel Marriott, Managing Director of the Darwin & Wallace pub group.
197 Chiswick High Road W4 2DR; 020 3857 4669; no197chiswickfirestation.com
34 SkyLounge at DoubleTree by Hilton Tower of London
SkyLounge, situated atop of the DoubleTree by Hilton London – Tower of London, has both indoor and terrace seating with views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks like The Gherkin, Tower of London and The Shard. Last year’s summer residency, Santa Monica at SkyLounge, offered a taste of laid-back Santa Monica living with a chic beach-side bar serving frozen margaritas and bespoke cocktails. What will it be this year?
7 Pepys Street EC3N 4AF; doubletree3.hilton.com
35 SushiSamba, The City
One of the coolest restaurants in town, SushiSamba offers a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, music and design. Located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, it has one of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe, offering unparalleled 360-degree views of the City. The indoor-outdoor elements featured throughout the space, most notably, the designed structural orange tree on the west terrace.
110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY; sushisamba.com
36 Proud, Camden
Boasting an impressive list of past performers, including Jessie J, Calvin Harris and The Kooks to name a few, Proud in Camden is something of an icon. Last year, it launched the Secret Garden Bar, and this year, after a huge £300,000 investment, the rooftop garden has been transformed with full decking, wooden pergolas with flower garlands, a landscaped rockery and a striking water feature to evoke the quaintness of an English country garden. While away a hazy afternoon with some of the best acoustic live sets in London, cooling cocktails and 100% Sussex beef burgers courtesy of the Burger Bear pop-up.
The Horse Hospital, The Stables Market, Camden Market, Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AH; proudcamden.com
37 The Castle, Islington
This gastro-pub offers a great menu and drinks list to be enjoyed on its spacious rooft terrace – an excellent place to catch some rays on a sunny day in the centre of busy Islington. The specials menu changes daily and it has a pub quiz on Tuesdays, which is only £1 entry.
54 Pentonville Road, Islington N1 9HF; geronimo-inns.co.uk
38 The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
This Clerkenwell staple has something for just about any time of the day – a healthy breakfast, a decadent brunch, lunch with friends, afternoon tea, dinner, or a bite to eat after the theatre. The outdoor area seats 32 people and is a great place to watch the world go by.
47-48 Saint John’s Square, Clerkenwell EC1V 4JJ; themodernpantry.co.uk
39 Big Chill House, King’s Cross
Kitsch and colourful furniture decks out this rooftop bar, which claims to bring a taste of Shoreditch to King’s Cross. Atop a Victorian pub with a quirky interior, this rooftop bar is an excellent place for an elevated drink. The menu ranges from craft beer, cider and wine to cocktails like the Big Tea Party – Absolut, Beefeater, El Jimador, Appleton white, Triple sec, apple juice, lemon juice, bitters and blackcurrant jam. It does food, too, and brunch for the morning after.
257-259 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross N1 9NL; wearebigchill.com
Bird of Smithfield, 26 Smithfield EC1A 9LB; aperolspritzsocials.com