In London this summer? One of the best ways to experience the city is from a bar with a bird’s eye view. Scroll down for our pick of London’s most spectacular sky-high venues, whether you want to see all the landmarks from a pop-up atop a multi-storey car park, look out over the River Thames from a wild rooftop garden or take in East London while listening to the freshest DJs at an open-air bar.
1. Pergola on the Roof
Pergola on the Roof returns to the top of the old BBC Television Centre in White City again this summer, this time as a picturesque vision of New York’s The Hamptons. White-washed wood and palm trees combine with the gorgeous canopy of vines and hanging flowers, and the unique dining experience is better than ever with food from 8 Hoxton Square, Patty & Bun and Breddos Tacos. There are also two bars and seating for 400 people, including daybeds you can book for bigger groups. And if that wasn’t quite enough, there’s now a sister venue open in Paddington.
2. Frank’s Cafe
Frank’s Café is responsible for drawing crowds of people from all over the city to Peckham every summer. Part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project, it’s a pop-up bar and restaurant on a multi-storey car park that also showcases the work of international artists – the bright pink staircase by Simon Whybray is the height of Instagram-worthy. It also offers arguably some of the best sunset views of the city, with a panorama of the Gherkin, London Eye and the Shard.
Close to Broadway Market and London Fields, Netil360 is one of the coolest open-air bars in East London. It hosts a series of events both day and night, with yoga classes, one-off workshops, outdoor film screenings and live DJ sets. Enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the city’s skyline and try to track down Tres, the rooftop dog.
4. Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
Originally designed in partnership with the Eden Project, the rooftop garden on top of the South Bank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. There’s an abundance of fruit trees and wildflowers that offers the perfect counterpoint to the gritty Brutalist architecture, as well as a café bar and beautiful views of London landmarks along the River Thames.
5. The Culpeper
The Culpeper on Commercial Street is home to a beautiful rooftop garden and greenhouse that are used to grow the vegetables and herbs on the pub’s menu. There are a few rustic tables and benches nestled amongst climbing vines and planters, as well as a cocktail bar under the glass atrium and a huge wood-fired grill for those all-important summer barbecues.
6. The Roof Gardens
High above Kensington High Street, The Roof Gardens is a truly iconic London venue, dating all the way back to 1936. It has stunning panoramic views of Battersea Power Station, the London Eye and Wembley, but the real draw is, unsurprisingly, the gardens. There’s a Spanish garden, a Tudor-style garden and an English woodland area, complete with a pair of flamingos…