West London’s Best Alfresco Dining & Drinking Spots
The best places in west London for alfresco drinking and dining, from waterside terraces in Ladbroke Grove to suntraps in Shepherd’s Bush and hidden rooftops in Hammersmith
Lead image: 197 Chiswick Fire Station
1 JOY, Portobello Docks
Stevie Parle and his old pal Tom Dixon have returned to their old Portobello Docks stomping ground with a new launch. Once upon a time it was the wonderful Dock Kitchen, but now it’s JOY, a new-for-2020 space with a summer pop-up restaurant, FLORA, alongside a farm shop, honey store, wine shop, flower garden and standalone bar. The alfresco restaurant, which overlooks Regent’s Canal, has been designed to make the most of the late summer with a bee and butterfly-friendly floral display and beehives floating nearby on a pontoon.
Portobello Docks, 342-344 Ladbroke Grove W10 5BU; joyatportobello.co.uk
2 The Waterway, Maida Vale
One of the loveliest terraces in west London for sure, The Waterway’s expansive alfresco space sits right next to the Grand Union Canal, making it the perfect stop-off for summer strollers (it’s just two minutes from Little Venice). A great spot for everything from brunch to Sunday roasts and cocktails, there’s even a specific terrace menu with a selection of gins, summer jugs of Pimm’s and Sangria, as well as tasty dishes like squid, steak and Ceasar salad alongside.
54 Formosa Street W9 2JU; thewaterway.co.uk
3 The Darcie & May Green Barges, Paddington
The floating restaurant and bar barges, Darcie & May Green, are right outside Paddington Station on the Grand Union Canal. The floating pieces of art, designed exclusively by the ‘godfather’ of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, provide the perfect setting for canal side dining, serving Aussie brunch, healthy lunch and relaxing dinners. The two boats share a combined 50 metre upper deck overlooking the Grand Union Canal and have been transformed with the addition of rooftops gardens.
Sheldon Square W2 6DS; daisygreenfood.com
4 The Lyric Roof Garden, Hammersmith
Coronavirus update: The Lyric is currently only open to ticket holders
If you’re looking for somewhere to pop out to for a sunny weekend thirst quencher with a helping of culture thrown in there too, then the rooftop bar at The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith is the one for you. Enjoy a cold beverage out on the terrace, while reading the programme and getting ready to watch the show of your choice – perhaps Bugsy Malone tickles your fancy.
King Street, Lyric Square W6 0QL; 020 8741 6850; lyric.co.uk
5 No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Chiswick
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is a destination bar that pays homage to the history and community, and also has a lovely walled garden out back. Set well away from the bustle of the Chiswick High Road, the white-washed garden is a lovely serene spot that’s flooded with sunlight by day, making it an ideal for a relaxed weekend brunch, while the early evening lends itself to a chic aperitif.
197 Chiswick High Road W4 2DR; no197chiswickfirestation.com
6 Julie’s Restaurant, Holland Park
Julie’s Restaurant in Holland Park, a London legend since 1969, reopened post lockdown with a leafy new alfresco terrace and revamped menus, including a new breakfast menu making this a fab all day-dining spot. Chef Patron Shay Cooper, previously awarded a Michelin star at his last two establishments (one of which was The Goring), does a sea bream ceviche that’s to die for.
7 The Eagle, Shepherd’s Bush
The Eagle in Shepherd’s Bush is great for brightening up a weekend, with daring fabrics covering the surfaces and colourful beanbags in the suntrap garden. The gastro pub serves up great food and is famed for the good selection of cask ales, making it perfect for a sunny day. You’re sure to leave here feeling very bright and summery indeed!
215 Askew Road, Shepherd’s Bush W12 9AZ; 020 8746 0046; theeaglew12.co.uk
8 The Prince Albert, Notting Hill
The alfresco space at The Prince Albert is known as one of Notting Hill’s most popular dining spots, perhaps due to its proximity to Notting Hill Gate station. This cosy garden space is perfect for a summer’s day, especially with the board games they have to play. It has heating and a shield in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
11 Pembridge Road W11 3HQ; 020 7727 7362; the-prince-albert.co.uk
9 The Metropolitan, Westbourne Grove
The Metropolitan is a gastro pub that serves things up a bit differently, with the wholesome dishes presented in stainless steel tubs and chips served in mugs. And what better way to enjoy the trendy food than sitting among the stars in the rooftop terrace, complete with heaters, fairylights, cushions and even a TV.
60 Great Western Road, Westbourne Park W11 1AB; 020 7229 9254; themetpub.co.uk
10 The Prince, West Brompton
The Prince – part pub, part street-food hub – has a retractable roof over its expansive rear pub garden. The venue, which boasts three bars and four pop-up restaurants, has a vibrant English summer garden feel with masses of seasonal flowers and foliage. The line-up of independent eateries includes Homeslice pizza, Jefferies fried and grilled chicken, Patty & Bun and Edu.
14 Lillie Road, West Brompton SW6 1TT; theprincelondon.com
11 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, rollerbladers 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
12 Bluebird Café, White City
Bluebird, a Chelsea landmark of 20 years on the Kings Road, launched Bluebird Café at Television Centre, the significant new development in White City in April 2018. The regeneration of the area following the BBC’s departure has opened up the location to residents and revellers, and Bluebird Café W12 has a lovely outdoor terrace from which to take it all in. Enjoy coffees, cocktails and the best of British all-day dining menu as you bask in the west London sunshine.
2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane W12 7RF; bluebirdcafe.co.uk