La Dolce Vita at The Berkeley

Food & Drink

The best rooftop bars in London

Summer is upon us, but how best to celebrate? With a cocktail in one of London’s best rooftop bars, obviously. Sky-high bars with panoramic views of the city are popping up everywhere. But where is worth your time? Thankfully for you, GQ has scoured the capital to bring you a list of the best rooftop bars in London to visit this summer. Whether you’re after an indulgent cocktail with a side of sashimi for your next date night or a range of draft beers accompanied with live music or even a game of croquet on a chilled Saturday afternoon (yes, really), we have all your outdoor drinking needs covered this summer. Cheers to perfect afternoons of sun-soaked drinking with dazzling views as your backdrop.

114

Bar Elba

Inspired by the tiny island of Elba, where Napoleon was exiled to in 1814 (hence the Napoleon quotes dotted around the bar), Bar Elba is the perfect spot to unwind after a hard day at work. It is a fair climb up a brightly coloured staircase, but GQ can confirm the views – and buzzing atmosphere – are absolutely worth it once you get to the top. From the Shard to the London Eye, enjoy unparalleled views of the city alongside an impressive cocktail menu. Sex On The Elban Beach and Long Island Iced Tea are available in sharing jugs, the frosé with grapefruit and agave nectar is fresh and fruity, but it’s the Clockwork Orange with blood orange gin is easily the stand-out cocktail on the menu. It’s not just about the cocktails, though. With the likes of burgers and buffalo hot wings from London’s beloved Dip & Flip and slow-roasted shawarma spiced lamb with tzatziki hot sauce from Flatbreddas, there is a mouth-watering selection of food available. GQ’s favourite? It has to be Dip & Flip’s Patty Melt grilled sandwich. Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Road, London SE1. bar-elba.co.uk

214

Mercer Roof Terrace

Seek sanctuary from the City at this chilled-out 35th-floor rooftop spot, where skyline views from St Paul’s to the Shard make for the stuff of sun-scorched dreams. The Vintry & Mercer Hotel is a new opening, so the City hordes have yet to discover this quiet but super chic space, making it all the more appealing. Order an English Spritz (vodka or gin, Kamm & Sons, English sparkling wine) and, if it's bar snacks and not a full meal you're after, order a selection of the mighty fine starters. GQ's favourite is the asparagus with champagne butter. Vintry & Mercer Hotel, 20 Garlick Hill, London EC4. 020 3908 8099. vintryandmercer.com

314

Bōkan 38 Bar & 39 Rooftop

If you’re wanting to escape the busy streets of the City, head to Bōkan’s easy-going rooftop, featuring a specialist gin bar (try The Red Seal, you won’t regret it we promise), creative cocktails inspired by London’s Docklands, rooftop daybeds for lounging and, of course, sensational views of London. GQ recommends paying a visit on a Sunday so you can sit back and enjoy its Sunday jazz sessions. Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, E14. bokanlondon.co.uk

414

Skylight

Less of a rooftop and more an urban lawn club in the sky, Skylight ticks all the boxes for a summer day out. Located in a former car park with a 360-degree backdrop of the London skyline there is croquet and pétanque to be enjoyed, street food to be consumed and jugs of cocktails (get the Sky Tai) to be sipped. Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street, E1W. skylightlondon.com

514

Spirit Of Summer at Radio Rooftop

This summer the north- and south-facing terraces at Radio Rooftop have been transformed into a botanical garden and Mexican hacienda. Located on the tenth floor of ME London, enjoy the views from St Paul’s to Big Ben while sipping on a tequila cocktail (we suggest your try the Patrón Reposado) and feasting on a Mexican tapas board. Open until 31 October. Strand, WC2R. radiorooftop.com/spiritofsummer

614

Netil360

Looking for something a little more laid-back for a sunny Saturday afternoon? Netil 360 has everything you could possibly need. What was once a members-only space in 2013, it has been transformed into an open space that is a hotspot for hipsters and creatives alike. As well as wines from around the world, you’ll find a variety of draft beers to be enjoyed while watching the panoramic views of London. Plus, it has an all-weather heated indoors for the unpredictable English summer. 1 Westgate Street, London Fields, E8. netil360.com

714

Pergola Olympia

Following the success of its flagship Pergola on the Roof, Pergola has opened a new sky-high bar in Olympia. A year-round spot in Kensington with a glass roof, floor-to-ceiling windows and an abundance of luscious greenery, this rooftop has seating for more than 500 people, giant day beds, stunning views of West London and an impressive Spritz selection (we counted seven in total), plus food offerings from the likes of Marmalam, Salt Shed and Jefferies. What more could you want? Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, W14. pergolalondon.com

814

La Dolce Vita at The Berkeley

Calling all sunseekers, this summer an Italian heaven has arrived at The Berkeley. Pay a visit to the rooftop, which is usually only reserved for hotel guests, and take a dip, indulge in a spa treatment, feast on poolside arancini and limoncello sorbet, all finished off with an Aperol Spritz. Bliss. Four hours’ access to La Dolce Vita from £75. Open 1 June until September 2019. Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X. theberkeley.co.uk

914

Sushisamba

Step inside the glass elevator (for less than 30 seconds) and head to the famous 38th floor of Heron Tower, home to the impressive Sushisamba rooftop bar. Perfect for impressing your date, it is the ideal spot for an indulgent evening drink while you watch the sun go down – the Sesame Old Fashioned is a GQ favourite. Peckish? Its Samba Snacks go down a treat, from lobster taquitos to classic pink shrimp sashimi. 110 Bishopsgate, ED2N. sushisamba.com

1014

Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

With beautiful views of the Thames, atop Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre sits a stunning rooftop bar and café that is well worth a visit this summer. The space is home to more than 100 varieties of fruit trees, wild flowers and more, which is maintained by Grounded Eco Therapy, who help people who have experienced homelessness, addiction and mental health problems. A blissful spot for an after-work Spritz or pre-theatre Pimm’s. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1. southbankcentre.co.uk

1114

Aviary

Head up to the tenth floor of the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel for Aviary: a smart, sky-high celebration of all things ornithological. The grand roof terrace has a marble outdoor bar with views of Finsbury Square, The Gherkin and beyond. Take in that city view with a Not A Cosmopolitan (Tanqueray gin, St-Germain elderflower, Mondino amaro and lime) in hand. For food, you can go unashamedly Seventies: choose a king prawn cocktail and Longhorn flat-iron steak with whipped blue cheese followed by a minty “After Eight” Arctic roll. 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2. aviarylondon.com

1214

Madison

The perfect place for a Friday evening to spend in a buzzing atmosphere, delicious drinks, great music and a view across the city of London skyline. Head up to the top floor of the One New Change, where the terrace offers everything a night out should have. We recommend going for the truffle fries and the potted crab and crayfish washed down with a Pornstar Martini or Mexican Smoked Negroni . Rooftop Terrace, One New Change, St Paul’s, EC4M. madisonlondon.net

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