When we first composed this list, it was mid May. In theory, researching the top 10 London rooftop bars seemed idyllic, a chance to relax in the sun whilst we passed our judgement over the city’s very best outside drinking attractions.

It rained, and it rained, and it rained. It rained more than it had done since the frosty weeks of January and seemingly without warning. One second, it would be glorious. The next, the sky would darken and a downpour would fall with seemingly endless fury. The phenomenon is best known as April Showers and it’s one that sadly has left London’s rooftop bar scene a little sparse compared to other cities. After all, 3 months of reliable sun is a perilous business venture and, when even that can’t be counted on, anyone looking to set up an open bar would need to have something truly special in mind.

Thankfully, a handful of clever designers did indeed have something have something clever in mind. They’ve come up with some of the most innovative, stylish and visually stunning joints in London, working with our historic skyline to create atmospheric little haunts that delight during those summer months.

Sushisamba

sushisamba

A chain with branches in many of the world’s most fashionable city, it was only a matter of time until Sushisamba brought its unique atmosphere to the English capital. One of the best rooftop bars in London in terms of architecture, it pairs wooden terracing with a very special centrepiece in order to create an ordered and peaceful oasis of calm in the centre of one of the city’s areas. The focal point in question is a stunning cherry blossom tree, lit by a dozen hanging lanterns worked into its crimson foliage.

Sushisamba  is located at: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

To find out more please visit: http://sushisamba.com/location/london/menu

Madison

madison_inside

There’s one reason why people come to Madison. Sure the drinks are excellent, and the service prompt. The building is cleanly styled and rather beautiful in its own way. It’s the view that blows most away though, as you’ll see if you take a quick look at the picture that we’ve posted. Looking out through the slanted windows, with the city below you, it’s easy to see why this place has so many loyal regulars.

Madison is located at: 1 New Change, London EC4M 9AF

To find out more please visit: http://www.onenewchange.com/roof-terrace

Vista Bar

vista_bar

There are plenty of bars in London that have great views (we’ve just mentioned one ourselves!) There are few however, that offer the same look over central. In fact, there are none better than Vista. An easy inclusion in list of top 10 rooftop bars in London purely on the strength of its gorgeous skyline (Trafalgar Square in particular, looks fantastic from up here) it also offers an excellent range of drinks at a (relatively) sensible price.

To find out more please visit: http://www.thetrafalgar.com/vista-homepage/

Frank’s Cafe

frank cafe

Yes, we do have the location for this particular bar: it really is in a car park in Peckham. Refreshingly enough, it isn’t a hipster hang out or a barefaced attempt to part you from your money either through force or through the much more malicious front of “mixology”. It’s just a local business that comes and sets up on the highest available building whenever the summer sun shines. A good pint at a good price, with the added bonus of getting to drink outside on a balmy evening, it’s a winner in our eyes.

Frank’s Cafe is located at: 10th floor, Peckham multi-storey car park, 95a Rye Lane, London

SE15 4ST

To find out more please visit: http://frankscafe.org.uk/

Rooftop Garden at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

rooftop

Look at a picture of the Rooftop Garden a few years ago and you would call us mad if we said that it would soon be making our list of the top 10 London rooftop bars. A solid block of grey, unrelenting concrete, it looked more like an advertisement for the dangers of city life than it did a little oasis on the south-bank. Now though, through hard work and diligence, it has been reclaimed and reinvented. Gone are the odd steel drums and rubble, in comes soft lighting, gorgeous greenery and a healthy dose of joy. The staff are happy and attentive, the prices reasonable and the drinks good.

To find out more please visit: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/visitor-info/shop-eat-drink/restaurants/roof-garden-cafe/bar

Boundary

boundary

A Shoreditch haunt tha- no come back! It’s not what you think: this isn’t some hipsters’ paradise. It’s unashamedly bourgeois, with the olive lined terraces evoking memories of trips to the tuscan coast and a wine list that most restaurants would kill for, but it somehow managed to pull it off without seeming pretentious.

Boundary is located at: 2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD

To find out more please visit: http://www.theboundary.co.uk/

Radio Rooftop

A stunning building, all sharp angles, glass and steel, Radio Rooftop is an atmospheric setting that makes a good case for its inclusion through its aesthetics alone. If the best rooftop bars in London were decided purely on such matters, it would be top. Alas, the drinks are a little expensive and the staff a little brusque. As you stare out at the city from your cream sofa however, it will all melt into insignificance, hence its inclusion here.

Radio Rooftop is located at: 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA

To find out more please visit: http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/london/me-london/radio-rooftop-bar.html

Dalston Roof Park  

dalston

 

Hipsterish almost to the point of being painful, it’s simplistic design is a winner with us after all the embellished little jewelry boxes we’ve been visiting to write this list. If you’re willing to overlook the subtext and the “ironic” approach, it’s actually a nice little bar.

Dalston Roof Park is located at: The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL

To find out more please visit: http://www.bootstrapcompany.co.uk/13_dalston_roof_park

Queen of Hoxton

 

queen hoxton

The place buzzes with energy and passion that’s so often missing in central. There are more than a fair share of bankers here, and east London fashionistas. There are butchers, and bakers and maybe even a few candlestick makers. It’s this diversity that makes the QoH such a solid venture: almost anyone would be happy to drink here.

Queen of Hoxton is located at: 1-5 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3JX

To find out more please visit: http://www.queenofhoxton.com/

Aqua Spirit

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A cultural mixing pot, Aqua spirit blends the east with the west in a style that few can pull off successfully. The fact that they seem to do it so effortlessly is a testament to the skill of the designers and responsible for this excellent bar.

Aqua Spirit  is located at: 5th Floor, 240 Regent St, London, W1B 3BR

To find out more please visit: http://aqua.com.hk/flash/#/eng/global