London does drinking holes better than most, and come summer, when competition is fierce for a coveted spot outside, those in the know head upwards to the city’s ever-growing repertoire of sky-high bars. The most happening hubs often make the most of the ever-changing face of the capital, perching themselves on everything from the sleek lines of the City to the Victorian architecture of Smithfield’s. Some of the best are strictly pop-up, so make the most of the inventive spaces while you can.
Dotted in a few locations around the city, Pergola on the Roof know how to do a rooftop bar. There are cocktails aplenty, pop-up food stalls and, of course, incredible views. Time it right and there may also be DJs to provide a soundtrack to proceedings.
One of Covent Garden’s best kept secrets, The Royal Opera House is home to an array of eateries and bars. Adorned with bright and beautiful hanging baskets, it’s Piazza Terrace Bar is the ideal spot for a pre-show tipple. But even if you’ve not got tickets, head up to their incredible bar for a drink with a view.
When cocktail hour comes calling, here is where you'll find the best alfresco spots.
"When competition is fierce for a coveted spot outside, those in the know head upwards to the city’s ever-growing repertoire of sky-high bars"
What the Bird lacks in size, it more than makes up for in colour. Complete with a living wall, lots of shrubbery and a grass-like floor, the overall theme is a healthy green. And, overlooking the emerald skyline of Smithfield’s, there’s plenty to admire from the barstools. Visit this clubby Georgian townhouse for the best combination of formality and fun.
Renowned for its buzzing atmosphere and killer cocktails, Madison’s Terrace Bar has the best views of St Paul’s cathedral in the capital. It also hosts some of the bigger names on the DJ circuit, as well as live acoustic acts, so try to keep abreast of its events calendar. Partygoers chat deep into the night here thanks to heaters that keep temperatures summery, even when the sun’s gone down.
Put your sunglasses on because few London venues have quite the colourful, reggae vibe that spills out of the Magic Roundabout. Selling artisanal coffee, craft beer and street food, Old Street’s best-kept secret makes its guests feel especially in-the-know, as the space can only be accessed via a staircase in the local tube station, which only the well-briefed know about.
Sky Garden is Instagram-famous thanks mainly to its sunrise yoga sessions and spectacular views. Sitting right at the centre of it all, with a panorama that includes the Cheese Grater, Gherkin and Shard, punters adore its dining options and evergreen surroundings. From the Skypod bar with its extensive cocktail list, to the Darwin Brasserie and its seasonal menu, visitors will never go hungry in this minimalist masterpiece.