South East London’s Top 10 Rooftop Bars & Alfresco Terraces

Summer calls for alfresco eating, drinking and good times, so here’s The Resident’s pick of south east London’s best rooftop bars and alfresco terraces  

1 Frank’s Cafe, Peckham
Frank’s Café is the hottest spot in town in summer. Open from May till October, 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 SE15 4ST; frankscafe.org.uk

Frank's Cafe (photo by Oskar Proctor)

Frank’s Cafe (photo by Oskar Proctor)

2 Street Feast at Hawker House, Canada Water
We do love the Street Feast vibe. The opening of the Model Market in Lewisham sent south-east Londoners into raptures, and then along came Hawker House in Canada Water and, shortly after, the Giant Robot at Canary Wharf (if you can handle the oh-so-strenuous trip on the DLR or Jubilee Line). Hawker House is one of our favourite summer hangouts, with an expansive courtyard area that’s home to plenty of top-notch street food and craft beer offerings. It’s just a short walk from Canada Water station on the Overground or Jubilee Line, and a particularly pleasant one if you take the canal-side route.
Canada Street, Canada Water SE16 7PJ; streetfeast.com

South east London's best alfresco hangouts: Street Feast at Hawker House in Canada Water is a great spot in summer

Hawker House is a great spot in summer

3  Craft, Greenwich Peninsula
Acclaimed chef Stevie Parle’s Craft London has a second floor roof terrace with spectacular views of the O2 Arena and beyond to Canary Wharf. There’s not a lot of seating, but there’s plenty standing room so you can pop an elbow on the balcony railing, sip a cocktail and take it all in (watching people climb over the roof of the O2 is quite mesmerising). Craft London was created in partnership with the Tom Dixon Design Research Studio, so it looks super cool, with a restaurant on the first floor and cafe on the ground floor.
Peninsula Square, Greenwich SE10 0SQ; craft-london.co.uk

The bar at Stevie Parle's Craft London

The bar and terrace (to the left) at Craft London (photo by Peer Lindgreen)

4 Lewisham Model Market
Lewisham Model Market opens from 27 April 2018 for another summer of street food, drinks and dancing with new food, booze, local DJs and late-night vibes. six bars (including a rum shack!) and 10 micro diners. New traders for 2018 include Sodo Pizza Café, Frankie Goes to Bollywood, What the Fattoush (which serves vegan Middle Eastern cuisine) and Pocho, alongside Model Market veterans Mama’s Jerk, Up In My Grill, Mother Clucker, Yum Bun (also serving YUMPLINGS) and SE Cakery, which serves an excellent ‘bronut’ (where donut meets brownie). Get there early and head for the roof terrace – the Lewisham High Line – with room for about 50 people. Open every Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 1am. Entry is free from 5pm-7pm, £3 after.
196 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham SE13 6LS; streetfeastlondon.com

London's best alfresco terraces: Lewisham Model Market serves great street food and craft beer

Lewisham Model Market

5 Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
Most South Bank amblers don’t even know it’s there, but The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, designed by the Eden Project and maintained by Grounded Ecotherapy gardeners, is an excellent find. With plenty of leafy greenery including a wildflower meadow, mini allotments and a woodland garden, alongside awesome riverside views and a cafe bar run by Company of Cooks, it’s one a great spot to catch up with family and friends. Open until late September from 10am-10pm daily, depending on the weather.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX; southbankcentre.co.uk

Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden (photo by Belinda Lawley)

6 The Railway Telegraph, Forest Hill
The Railway Telegraph in Forest Hill was established in 1853 and reopened in 2014 after an extensive refurb, and has already becoming a local institution in its new guise. As well as a gorgeous interior and dining room serving up the likes of grilled sea bass with spicy crayfish and clams, juniper chicken legs with rosemary and garlic and warm mushroom salad, the pub also has a great beer garden and a dining terrace.
112 Stanstead Road, Forest Hill SE23 1BS; railwaytelegraph.co.uk

South east London's best alfresco terraces and beer gardens: The Railway Telegraph, Forest Hill

The Railway Telegraph, Forest Hill

8 The Bussey Building, Peckham
The huge roof terrace of the Bussey Building in Peckham, the scene of many a party and even the odd yoga class, will again host the Rooftop Film Club this summer. The 5,000 sq ft terrace, which boasts panoramic views of London, has been furnished with astroturf, deck chairs, a cocktail bar and street food shacks for a quintessentially British summertime experience. Grab a blanket, park your bottom, pop on your wireless headphones and enjoy the show. From May. Tickets £15.
Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; rooftopfilmclub.com

The Rooftop Film Club at the Bussey Building

The Rooftop Film Club at the Bussey Building

9 The Railway, Blackheath
The Railway in Blackheath has just had a huge refurb, reopening in March with slick new interior, a more formal dining area to the rear and a revamped food offering. It’s just what the pub needed, and those alfresco spaces we know and love are still there, just better. There’s the non-smoking garden out back (wonderful non-smokers and families), plus a roof terrace with heaters and, now, added cushions!
16 Blackheath Village SE3 9LE; therailwayblackheath.co.uk

South east London's best alfresco terraces: The Railway, Blackheath, has a non-smoking garden

The Railway, Blackheath

10 The Tankard, Kennington
Formerly a Grand Union venue, this great pub on the corner of Kennington Road and Brook Drive by Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park now belongs to the expanding Draft House craft beer chain. They have a good range of strange and wonderful brews, as well as hearty food to match (snacks include Foot Long Pork Scratchings, Jalapeno Mac ‘n’ Cheese Balls and even Veggie Scotch Egg, as well as the likes of Beer Battered Cod, Chicken Schnitzel and Veggie Burgers). Draft House decided to regift the pub its original, Victorian era name – The Tankard – and it has has an awesome roof terrace with picnic benches and pergolas.
111 Kennington Road SE11 6SF; 020 7582 6685; grandunionbars.com

South east London's best alfresco terraces and beer gardens: The Tankard, Kennington

The Tankard, Kennington


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