As summer is quickly coming round (although it may not feel like it in London at the moment) we thought it was about time we compiled a list of the best rooftop bars and restaurants in London for you to try out when the warm weather hits.
We thought as it’s summertime now, we’d curate a list of the best London rooftop bars and restaurants for you to venture to over the next few months. Head to one of these venues to enjoy some of the best restaurants and bars with a view in London.
Situated atop the 1 New Change shopping centre, Madison boasts one of the best views in London. If you’re lucky enough to get a roof terrace spot at the rooftop eatery (and if the weather is nice enough for it of course) you’ll be spoiled with uninterrupted views of St. Pauls Cathedral and beyond.
The award-winning restaurant itself takes on a Manhattan style approach to dining – think plenty of glass, silver walls and slouchy sofas. The menu follows this idea and most things are cooked on a Josper open grill, while in-house DJs create a buzzing atmosphere for an overall extremely enjoyable experience.
At Madison you get what you pay for, and while a lot of places with higher price points then to scrimp on the amount of food you get, you won’t find that here. We recommend sharing a few starters between two – there’s simply too many to be too selective with, so go for a range. We suggest going for the potted crab and crayfish, tuna tataki and scallops baked in their shell.
The bar itself is one of the best rooftop bars in London, stocking some of the best and most exclusive drinks out there. Think sipping on Sancerre, Condrieu ‘Les Grandes Chailées’ and Meursault 1er Cru to quench your thirst.
With regards to mains, the whole lobster and chateaubriand really is the best option on the menu and comes with a selection of sides, all being cooked on the indoor Josper grill.
If you have room for mains (don’t forget that portions are generous), then a dessert is essential. The yeast parfait is an interesting and unique take on a traditional pudding and is a must-try. For a lighter option, the trio of banana and coconut is an excellent choice and won’t leave you feeling stuffed.
What To Wear
Madison has quite a strict dress code, not surprising seeing as it is slap-bang in the centre of the City Of London. We suggest getting your best shirt and trousers out if you’re going for dinner, perhaps opting for a jacket too. For casual post-work drinks however, a jacket isn’t necessary, especially if it’s a hot day on that rooftop (it’s one of the best sun captures in London).
Radio Rooftop sits on the tenth floor of the ME London hotel on the Strand and comes with unrivalled views across the Thames towards Southbank, Elephant and Castle and beyond. Having recently undergone a complete refurb, the interior now boasts an Art Deco theme throughout.
While the setting is impressive, the food and drink on offer is more than a match. With themed cocktails like the Waterloo Sunset, London Horizon and Thames River iced ME to more traditional mixes like a French martini and a Grey Goose Le Fizz, you won’t be hard done by when it comes to choosing a drink. Enjoy one (or two) of these as you look out towards the London Eye and the Shard.
The food menu is intended to be shared, much like tapas. Pick a few of the dishes to share between two or three and explore what the menu has to offer. We recommend Radio’s fried chicken, the wagyu beef sliders and to finish off the cheese board is a must.
What To Wear
Again Radio Rooftop prefers to have a strict dress-code – this means no sportswear, no hats and no trainers. We suggest opting for the same sort of outfit as what you would wear to Madison – smart trousers and a formal shirt will do perfectly.
The best thing about the Culpeper is that there’s a high chance you won’t know that it holds a secret gem on it’s highest floor. From the outside, albeit a nice looking pub, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Culpeper is just another pub. On the inside the venue is so much more than that. Floors and hidden rooms with a décor that would please any Instagram fan. Get to the top of the building and you reach the rooftop, where you’ll find the greenhouse.
With views across East London and towards the looming skyscrapers of the city, the rooftop is a pleasant suntrap that not many appear to have discovered. Within the greenhouse sits an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill and bar, as well as an abundance of homegrown plants. Even on a rainy day you can dine inside the greenhouse as it features a full length kitchen table and roof bar so need to wait for London to finally be sunny.
Enjoy a cocktail from the bar and indulge in some of the best food out there – octopus, cote de boeuf and Wye Valley asparagus. We recommend sharing a few dishes between two to really sample what the Culpeper has to offer.
The rooftop also plays host to a number of events. Perhaps edible botanical drawing takes your fancy? Or maybe you want to take a masterclass in the medicinal properties of herbs and flowers? The Culpeper even hosts summer Astronomy nights!
What To Wear
The Culpeper is pretty relaxed when it comes to its dress-code. We recommend that if you go for dinner in the Kitchen on the first floor, you dress a little smarter than if you were just going for a drink in the bar or on the rooftop. We suggest a casual shirt and a pair of jeans for either of those.
Located in the heart of the banking district in Moorgate on the illustrious Finsbury Square, Aviary boasts incredible views and food that’s just as good. Situated on the 10th floor of the Montcalm Royal House Hotel, Aviary is one of the hottest spots in London at the moment. Inconspicuous from the outside, you’re greeted at the front entrance by a doorman in a top hat who directs you to the lift to take you up to the 10th floor.
After the extremely quick ride, the doors open to a marble staircase encased in glass and an elongated bird-cage with fake birds strewn across it. An instant statement to where you are. Once seated in the, what can only be described as modern art deco interior dining room, you’re greeted by the impressive menu.
Depending on when you want to visit determines the menu. Experiencing the brunch menu was all we needed to sample to garner a taste of the rest of the food. With longhorn steaks, cottage pie and an array of brunch classics such as eggs Benedict and Florentine and salmon and scrambled eggs to oysters and fish & chips available, it’s no wonder why people flock to Aviary, not only for the views but for the food as well.
Enjoy a bottle of wine or sample some of their expertly crafted cocktails to accompany their beautifully presented food. The menu differs from breakfast to dinner, but you can guarantee that the food will be on top form with views of London to match.
£6-90 (Menu Dependent)
What to Wear
Albeit an incredible location, don’t feel the need to go dressed to the nines, especially when you’re there for brunch. A classic shirt and a pair of tailored chinos will work perfectly in this environment, however, if you are there for dinner I would suggest a suit. In terms of footwear don’t be afraid to sport a pair of smart trainers (make sure they’re clean), otherwise a good pair of loafers will see you through.
Kensington Roof Gardens
If you’re looking for somewhere to go out this weekend, then Kensington Roof Gardens should definitely be high up on your list of possible venues. Located 7 floors above Kensington High Street, this is one of London’s finest spots and is most definitely the place to see and be seen. Covering 6000 square feet, the Gardens sit at the top of the old Derry & Toms building (it is now a grade II listed site), and since the 1980s has played host to a restaurant and nightclub.
The Gardens themselves consist of three differing and specially cultivated gardens: a Spanish garden, A Tudor garden and an English garden. They make for the perfect setting for your weekend plans, whether you just pop in for a quick Saturday afternoon drink or a full-blown night out on Friday.
During the summer, the Roof Gardens opens its doors with a whole host of events and special arrangements. From afternoon tea parties and rooftop BBQs to exclusive private parties, theres no reason why the Gardens can’t cater to your needs.
When the weather is warmer, while away your weekends in the Tudor garden – groups of ten can rent out one of the lawns and have the experts cook up a proper English BBQ for them. Tickets for these cost £55 per person, but guarantee you entry to the award winning club from 10pm onwards – something not to be missed.
The club itself is the real highlight of the Roof Gardens. We recommend getting yourself one of the VIP areas, which will get you a table and drinks at a set price. The club has become one of London’s best, but it hasn’t garnered a reputation for being overhyped nor does it look like that will be the case anytime soon. Instead you’ll find that its home to some of the best DJs in town. The likes of Joshua Roberts, Jed Pearson, Guy Laurie, Dan Healey and Ollie Humphreys stand as some of London’s finest DJs and you’ll find them providing guests and party-goers with some of the best in live music entertainment in the capital. it sits 100 feet above Kensington High Street and is without a doubt one of the finer places to drink the night away in London.
The club itself is split into separate areas, each with its own benefits. If you’re seeking a more exclusive evening, then head to the Spanish Hideaway, situated within the Spanish Gardens and modelled on the Alhambra castle in Spain. The hideaway is perfect for a private affair, and can house up to 40 people – you’ll even get your own personal waitress.
For larger groups, we recommend heading to the Silver Bar. Here you can rent the space for anything from 80-400 people – perfect for a summer party! This gives all guests access to the main nightclub too, so the evening doesn’t have to be cut short.
For the warmer summer months, we really think the best thing to do is rent out one of the Spanish Veranda spots. The stylish and comfortable area sits over looking the Spanish Garden and you can rent out a bed for up to six people, or even the whole area for a group of 40. There is a minimum spend per bed, which currently stands at £375.
What To Wear
Kensington Roof Gardens prides itself on being one of the more exclusive and higher end venues in London and the dress code reflects this. No trainers, no hats and a shirt are essential if you want to get in (as is a valid ID of course) so leave the sportswear at home and get your best outfit out – this is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after all.
Feature image from Pinterest