See London and Dine
The sun has finally remembered that London exists and has graced us with a few scorching days (by London standards) which means it’s time to start dining and drinking al fresco. London may be famous for its old, dark, historical pubs but that’s not to say Londoners don’t enjoy the high life too. After all, this is home to a fairly spectacular skyline.
When the sun comes out the rooftops start to open. With hundreds of rooftop places scattered around the city we have highlighted 4 of the best rooftop restaurants/bars to post up for an afternoon in the sun.
1. For a relaxing day in the sun: Pergola on the Roof
On the top floor of a car park opposite Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush, you’ll find a Mediterranean getaway so perfect you’ll definitely want to go the extra step and book ahead to ensure you get a spot on the sun beds. White washed walls, huge comfy sun beds and grape vines transport you from a W12 postcode right to an island in the sun. If you decide to visit on a whim and the sun beds are all fully booked you can still sit under the pergola, look out towards the Thames and over Hammersmith and enjoy fantastic food and drink on one of a few dozen communal tables.
Regardless as to where you end up sitting, if the sun is out and you’re in good company you are guaranteed to have an amazing time.
“I couldn’t afford to fly to Italy with flatmates this year but coming out to Pergola certainly makes me feel as though I’m there” - Patron
To eat: Pergola is catered by 4 fantastic restaurants: Patty&Bun (Memorable Burgers), Salt Yard (Carcutterie), Rabbit and LeCoq (Brasserie). A little something for everyone!
To drink: if you “register” online you get a free drink upon arrival and from then on the fully stocked bar awaits your every imbibing desire.
Price: Expect to pay around £15 for a round food and drink. Not bad given you also get a free drink by simply providing them with an email address.
2. For a fancier time out: OXO Tower
There are not too many rooftops in London that offer a better view. Located on the Southbank just opposite Blackfriars Bridge this rooftop bar and restaurants lets you wine and dine whilst looking out to St Paul’s Cathedral, Temple and Charing Cross. Going at sunset is a truly magical moment as the skies light up and the colours reflect off the glass exterior of the buildings opposite and behind you.
“I used to come here all the time growing up. The first time I came was when I was 5 or 6 with my parents, it was a standard Sunday afternoon for us - OXO Tower to meet up with friends from all over town. It’s been over 15 years since I was last here and it still feels like coming home.” - Patron
To eat and drink: OXO is home to a bar, restaurant and brasserie so whether you are stopping off for a drink and a snack or for a full 3 course meal (or maybe even both), there is something on the menu for everyone.
Price: Standard London Prices for drinks (£5-6 for a pint, £7-11 for a glass of wine and £10+ for a cocktail). A full meal and drinks will be slightly pricier and will set you back £40-50 depending on how many courses you have. However, given the view and environment it’s a very fair price to pay.
3. For an East London Foodie Scene: Boundary Rooftop and Bar
Although open year round thanks to outdoor heating elements, the beauty of this East London rooftop lies in the spectacular summer vibe it gives off when the sun comes out to play. The rooftop is also an orangery filled with citrus trees and offers panoramic views of East London. It opens daily from 10am and has an amazingly affordable all day dining menu as well as a more than appealing wine and cocktail list. Reserve a table in the sun in the morning and stay as long as you can - you won’t want to leave!
“With this view, the trees and the wine list you really can’t go wrong!” - waiter
To eat: I’d highly recommend the chilled tomato soup to start - perfect for a hot summer’s day and fantastically fresh!
To drink: With a very knowledgable waitstaff - ask their advice for a wine and you won’t be disappointed.
Price: £30 for a drink, few starters to share and a main.
4. Shoreditch at it's finest: Queen of Hoxton
Realistically East London does have some of the best rooftop experiences and no list of outdoor rooftops would be complete without mentioning Queen of Hoxton. Even on a Monday evening at 6pm the line to go upstairs is long and buzzing with energy. Once you make it up the never-ending stairs to the rooftop the experience becomes oh so Shoreditch. Colourfully painted picnic tables, art installations you can climb up, a make shift beach bar, astroturf floor and flower pots turn a concrete rooftop into an East London haven. And we haven’t even mentioned the rooftop cinema yet! Let’s just say they are fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Spice World among others.
Open 7 days a week this rooftop establishment is certainly not one to miss. Worth the wait, worth the hype and definitely worth the sun exposure.
“Once you get up there don’t ever give up your spot - it’s a place you won’t ever want to leave. Unless of course we’re closing and we tell you to.” - Bouncer
Price: £4-5 for a pint, £5-7 for a glass of wine, £8 for a cocktail
Now when you’re out and about in the sun and really fancy a rooftop view you’ll have somewhere to post up, rehydrate and continue soaking up more rays. Whether you’re looking out over East London, St. Pauls, the Thames or sitting in a Shoreditch rooftop garden you’re guaranteed a good time in any of the above spots - let us know how you get on!