London’s restaurant and bar scene is always evolving and this summer sees the return of some old favourites along with some new kids on the block so get dressed up or dressed down and follow my definitive guide to this seasons best outdoor eating and drinking places.
Frank’s Cafe – 10th Floor, Peckham Multi Story Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Now in it’s 8th successful year, Frank’s Cafe sits on the 10th floor of this rather non descript car park. However, a simple and daily changing menu along with a range of excellent cocktails and craft beers, a view to the north and a laid back vibe make this place well worth a visit. There are no reservations accepted here so arrive early!
Vintage Salt – On The Roof, Selfridges & Co., 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Des MacDonald transforms the roof at Selfridges in to a Cornish inspired fishing village offering a menu of delicious grills, light salads and grains. There’s even afternoon tea if you prefer. For those who prefer to drink and admire the view there’s the Drift Bar serving British cocktails, craft beers and a selection of English sparkling wines.
Summer Tales – Red Market, 288 Old Street, EC1V 9PD
How about rope swing chairs, hammocks, multi level jungle hut hangouts and adventure trails and if that’s not enough there’s a sun drenched twenty metre dance floor as well. With street food and summer themed cocktails in the heart of trendy Shoreditch it’s gonna be a blast.
Dalston Roof Park – Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL
Inspired by New York’s High Line Park the Dalston Roof Park started life as a collection of allotments and a pop up bar today it’s one of East London’s best rooftop spaces. There’s a resident chef, a new micro brewery, late night parties, films, master classes and all sorts of other good stuff. Get on their website, see what’s going on and get down there.
Smokin’ Graceila’s – Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
This year the Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop bar has been transformed into Smokin’ Graceila’s dedicated to the infamous cigar smoking Cuban diva, 80 year old Graceila. Suspended in the 50’s, the rich culture and colours of Cuba feature throughout the rooftop. Sip Cuban inspired cocktails or try some of the classic Cuban eats. Check their website for socials, workshops and the popular rooftop film club.
Bloom Gin Rooftop Bar – Vista Bar, The Trafalgar, 2 Spring Gardens, SW1A 2TS
With one of the best rooftop views in London overlooking Trafalgar Square the Bloom Gin sponsored Rooftop Bar just oozes glamour. But if it’s glamour you want be prepared to pay with a £5 entry fee and typically high central London bar prices.
London Riviera – Queens Walk, SE1 2DB (adjacent to City Hall & Tower Bridge)
A beach on the Thames in London? Weird? Well not quite as weird as you might think. With live music, immersive theatre, sport screenings and a middle eastern pop up restaurant this riverside beach has a lot going for it, pull up a sun lounger, grab a cocktail and enjoy (weather permitting of course).
The Culpeper Rooftop – 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP
The Culpeper’s Rooftop is four floors up in an old Victorian property in Spitalfields. The garden is used for growing the restaurants herbs and vegetables but this year they’re opening it up to the public with a small bar and eating space and the opportunity to learn a little about sustainability.
Roof East – Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Story Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E1 1XE
For a fun and friendly evening out head over to Stratford and to Roof East. Situated on top of the old Stratford shopping centre car park you’ll find a great place that serves British cocktails and BBQ food accompanied by classic films. Check the website for details of what’s on when.
Model Market – 196 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LS
Formerly an abandoned 1950’s indoor and outdoor market that’s been transformed into South East London’s capital of street food, booze and vinyl only grooves. You’ll find well over 60 eating and drinking places in this Lewisham hot spot.
Roofnic – 535 Oxford Street, W1C 2QW
Roofnic is a new roof top pop up located in the heart of central London, offering a peaceful retreat from the crowds of Oxford Street below. Serving a great selection of cocktails, subs and salads against a backdrop of the city’s rooftops. Take a fun break from shopping while resting on an assortment of reclaimed furnishings all set on a bright astroturf setting.
Flamingo Pier – The Counter Cafe, 7 Roach Road, E3 2PA
With its neon signage, palm trees, plenty of tropical tunes and lots of partying going on the Counter Cafe pontoon and canal boat are transformed into a thumping heavenly oasis once again this summer. Expect some excellent street food, classic cocktails and top DJ’s.
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden – Belvedere Road, Waterloo, SE1 8XX
If your idea of heaven is to lie back on a patch of grass with an ice cool drink watching the sun set on the river then this is the place for you. The cafe bar is run by Company of Cooks and the area incorporates a wildflower meadow, mini allotments and a woodland garden.
Peroni Bar at The Parlour – The Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square Park, E14 5FW
This secret garden inspired lounge is a must for cocktail lovers and perfect for pre or post dinner drinks. The stunning alfesco terrace is perfect for those wanting to soak up the sun in a Mediterranean style atmosphere.
Festival at Archer Street Soho – 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7AP
This summer Archer Street is bringing festival season to Soho without the mud and the rain. You can get the true glamping experience in luxurious tents, or a tour bus while enjoying a great selection of cocktails, top DJ’s and live music.