The 4th of July has become the UK’s ‘Covid Independence Day’, and with bars and restaurants taking their first tentative steps to reopening, we pick out the best COVID-secure rooftop bars and terraces
Lead image: Pergola Paddington (photo: Pasco Photography)
1 Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury
One of London’s most favourite indoor/outdoor dining terraces is reopening for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Dalloway Terrace’s whimsical garden setting and retractable roof and walls offers you a stylish and weather-proof way to catch up with friends. McQueens Flowers is responsible for the latest incarnation of this Bloomsbury hotspot, creating an overgrown English Garden vine with cascading roses, sweet peas and tulips entwined around terracotta pots. The all-day dining menu features dishes like Grilled Organic Scottish Salmon, Grilled Tiger Prawns with Green Mango & Chilli and Black Coconut Profiteroles, while afternoon tea is served from 3pm-5pm each day. New health and safety protocols include a minimum of one metre between tables, clear signage guiding guests around the space, menus available on personal devices, hand sanitiser and the thorough cleaning of tables and tableware before every sitting. Open daily from midday to 9pm.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 3NN; dallowayterrace.com
2 The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The legendary Ivy Chelsea Garden has refurbished its beautiful outdoor space ready for its 4th of July reopening. The vast, leafy summer garden is a lovely spot to enjoy cocktails, all-day dining options like Yellowfin tuna carpaccio, blackened cod fillet and steak tartare, as well as weekend brunches. While service will remain a priority, the restaurant will be implementing the highest standards of health and safety including air filtration units, professional deep cleaning and disinfecting on a daily basis, daily temperature logging and tracking software for all employees, and staff dedicated to ensuring all health and safety measures are met. Open from 11.30am daily.
197 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5ED; theivychelseagarden.com
3 The Laundry, Brixton
The Laundry, which opened with aplomb last autumn, is set to launch its vast terrace on 4 July. The Laundry, which has been operating as a grocery store in recent weeks will open its beautiful south-facing terrace all day, every day, serving Caravan coffees with pastries, brunch until 3pm, alfresco lunches and sundowner cocktails. Tables will be physically distanced, offering plenty of space as we all find our post-lockdown feet. The all-day menu includes a selection of sharing charcuterie, cheese and antipasti plates as well as larger dishes like Caesar salad, roast chicken and The Laundry beef burger. The wine list has plenty of fresh summer whites and rosés, too.
Walton Lodge, 374 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8PL; thelaundrybrixton.com
Pergola Paddington is one of London’s larger rooftop venues, meaning there’s plenty of space for social distancing. Its two huge bars will be open for alfresco sundowners with friends, alongside four food traders open to grab a bite to eat. Back for another summer residency are Babek Brothers, serving juicy kebabs and Temaki Bros, offering fresh sushi rolls and bowls. New traders include Thunderbird, known for their fried chicken, and Salt Shed, who like to BBQ up a storm. Open evenings on weekdays and all day 12pm-11pm from Friday to Sunday.
5 Kingdom Street, Paddington Central W2 6PY; pergolapaddington.com
5 Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith
Sam Harrison is reopening Sam’s Riverside on 4 July complete with a new alfresco Seafood Terrace. The 32-seat space, located adjacent to the main entrance of the restaurant on Crisp Walk, will offer a menu of fish, salads and light dishes like the Shuckers platter (Maldon Rock and Carlingford oysters, crevettes and half a lobster), grilled native lobster with mayo and chips, a shrimp cocktail salad and lobster roll and chips. Summer cocktails, including the favoured Bridge Negroni and a couple of frozen Casamigos margaritas, will also be available, alongside a well curated wine list. Staff will be wearing masks and will be sensitive to guests’ preferences in terms of service options to the table, guests can order beforehand if they prefer, and all transactions will be contactless. Open Weds-Sun from 9am until last orders at 9pm.
Crisp Walk, Hammersmith W6 9DN; samsriverside.co.uk
6 Covent Garden’s Picnic Area
Govent Garden was ahead of the curve, launching an alfresco picnic area in the East Piazza on 22 June. The new rainbow-coloured socially-distanced outdoor seating area is open daily from 11am-8pm for visitors to enjoy a takeaway meal from a nearby restaurant or just take a break from shopping. Restaurants open for takeaway include SUSHISAMBA, Frenchie, Laduree, Buns & Buns, Oystermen, Din Tai Fung and Venchi. There’s a one-way system, all tables are spaced two metres apart and will be cleaned after every use, and there are hand sanitiser stations at the entry and exit points.
7 Lost in Brixton
Lost in Brixton, which launched just last year, returns for its second summer session complete with live music and summer cocktails. The roof is coming off, so you can relax in the fresh air and do your socially distanced thing. As well as summer spritzes and classic cocktails, you can also order extra fresh beer pumped straight from Brixton Brewery, as well as Corona (lols) on tap. Plus, the Tablesnapper app is up and running again so you can order food from selected local food vendors. To get ‘lost’, head to the rear corner of Brixton Village market near the loos, and head up the stairs to find a secret paradise filled with exotic flowers and vibrant wall murals. Open seven days a week throughout the summer from 12pm till late.
Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8PS; lostinbrixton.com
8 Skylight Rooftop at Tobacco Dock
Skylight Rooftop, known for its panoramic and uninterrupted views across London’s skyline, offers plenty of outdoor space to meet your friends in a COVID-secure environment. Set atop an unused multi-story carpark and spread across three floors, Skylight has three bars, plenty of seating, street food and lawn games spread across its 12,500 sq ft. There’s also a new tropical beer terrace by Mexican pale lager brand Corona, with lush green foliage, cushioned seating areas, garden booths and an Instagrammable swing-set. Plus, there are new food offerings from Hikari, offering fresh Asian dishes, and State Side, serving up American-inspired indulgence. All tables must now be booked in advance, with reservations from £10 per table. Full table service is now available, with drinks collection points located at the end of each table and contactless payment throughout the venue. Further safeguards include a one-way system throughout the venue, a controlled stairway and additional cleaning. Open Thurs-Sun 12noon-11pm.
Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping E1W 2SF; skylightlondon.com
This all-day bar and cocktail lounge on the top floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Tower of London is one of our favourites for summer. Boasts a brilliant 360-degree vista of the city, taking in the Tower of London, The Shard, The Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral, the vast bar and terrace has plenty for space for physical distancing. The team is gearing up for a July 4th reopening with a brand new look for the south terrace – the Lillet South Terrace will offer up thirst quenching Lillet Spritzes alongside its spectacular views. It’s the perfect spot to quaff bubbles in your social bubble.
Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street EC3N 4AF; savagegarden.co.uk
10 The Mandrake Cabanas, Fitzrovia
Set to launch on the 4th of July, The Mandrake Cabanas are exclusive drinking and dining spaces set on the Fitzrovia hotel’s hidden terrace. There will be 10 private cabanas, themed in line with cultural activations at the hotel, complete with a TV screen to stream wellness workshops or artistic programmes, or the guest’s own choice of music or entertainment. There will also be table service for drinking and dining, with a menu of South American-inspired dishes from YOPO – the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant – and cocktails from Waeska bar. Dishes will include grilled lamb-shoulder tacos with raw pea, jalapeno and tomatillo salsa, fried fish tacos with spring cabbage, sour cream and pumpkin seed salsa, and snacks of courgette flowers and smoked cheese quesadillas. The Mandrake Cabana packages start from £300 and are available to book from midday until 10.30pm. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3146 7770.
20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia W1T 1PG; themandrake.com
11 Pub Tropicana, Greenwich
Pub Tropicana, which first popped up at Studio 338 on Greenwich Peninsula in 2017, returns with some cracking new concepts this year, including Pubstonbury, Underground Bingo and a Late Summer Solstice. The giant music venue, which operated as a food bank at the beginning of lockdown, is turning its attentions to its vast outdoor space to offer a pub garden with a difference. One of London’s largest pop-ups, there will be plenty of room for social distancing, as well as Resident DJs (and some very special guests) playing disco, house garage and more, open-air comedy, Mr Ted’s Apocalyptic Pub Quiz, Underground Bingo, Premiership football on the big screen, plenty of seating and table service. There will also be a super long bar with space markers serving cocktails and frozen drinks, as well as street food and ice cream. Open seven days a week throughout July and August. Tickets are £20-£30 (click here to book).
338 Boord Street, North Greenwich SE10 0PF; studio338.co.uk