When the sun shines in London, there is no better place to be. And venues in London are popping up and making the most of it. Here are my top picks of rooftop spaces. What kind of Citizen Femme are you?
Pergola on the Roof, Shepherd’s Bush (for the instagramming CF)
The new kid on the block. Head to the old BBC Television Centre for the ultimate summer hotspot. At 170 feet, bathe under a canopy of beautiful flowers. Designed with the Mediterranean in mind, on a sunny day, it may feel just like that. Food is provided by 4 favourite London restaurants, Salt Yard, Le Coq, Rabbit and Patty & Bun. The central bar stocks wines, bubbles, ciders, beers and cocktails, as well as a roaming drinks trolley so if you don’t want to get up, you don’t have to. Great news! They have just extended until end of September as well as their new food vendor The Rum Kitchen, London’s very own slice of the Caribbean . Be sure to book in and get there quickly!
Sushi Samba, Bishopsgate (for the sassy CF)
Hurtle up 38 stories in less than 30 seconds (outside the building!!) and you will find yourself in the Tree Bar, named so, simply because of the pretty lit up orange tree at the centre. A little attitude but a lot of flair. Some serious cocktails, superb sake list and sensational views. It does get super crowded, weekends tend to be a no-go but with spectacular views of The Gherkin, The City and the entire Thames, it’s worth the hustle to get in there. Order drinks in sets of 2 and be wary of giddiness as you hurtle back down the 38 stories in the lift post cocktails.
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch (for the cool CF)
Shoreditch is the holy grail for hipsters, and Boundary is at the heart of it. Part of the super chic 12-bedroom Boundary Hotel by Sir Terence Conran, it feels more Manhattan than East London. Watch the sunset and take in 360 degree views of London’s skyscrapers. A beautifully sculpted garden with olive and bay trees, an open fire in the centre and a long list of excellent cocktails. It’s a lovely start to the evening, you may even stay for some oysters, excellent seafood or grill.
Rumpus Room, Southbank (for the stylish CF)
Situated on the 12th Floor of London’s Mondrian Hotel, you will get some of the most striking 360 degree views of London. The room is inspired by ‘Bright Young Things’ (a group of hedonistic, bohemian young aristocrats and 1920s socialites known for their glamorous parties and their night time treasure hunts through London). Floor to ceiling windows, low glass and marble tables, blood red sofas, and dangling dandelion chandeliers are an ideal setting to sip champagne. Wednesday nights are ‘Skyline Sessions’ and they feature DJ’s every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
McQueen Shoreditch (for the party CF)
Not a rooftop but one of East London’s cooler venues. Already a chic lounge bar, McQueen Outdoor has opened for the Summer in collaboration with ‘Rockadollar’, serving gluten-free hotdogs and some thirst-quenching summer cocktails. For the ‘posher dogs’ on the terrace, try the Champagne bar where you can test out your knowledge with its selection of bottle and vintages. Exposed brickwork with quilted leather paneling and Chesterfield seating, graffiti-style street art of pop culture icons all give a glamorous flourish to this East London joint. Carry on the night at their main bar across the road and party the night away to some of London’s best DJs.
Notch, West End (for the shopper CF)
Described by the venue as “Williamsburg Warehouse meets Berlin Yard Sale”, located just behind Oxford Street, the emphasis here is on the drinks – Negroni’s, Old Fashioneds, classic mixes stored in colourful jam jars, as well as a host of summer cocktails, including the Red Pigeon (tequila, campari, lime, pink grapefruit, sugar) and the Humming Bird (gin, elderflower, lavender, apple, lemon, sugar). The food comes courtesy of a small shack manned by Mark Morrans (Kurobuta, Nobu Melbourne), who has a winning menu of seabass ceviche to steamed pork buns. The best thing about Notch? Seats have been replaced with swings!
Shoreditch House (for the boho chic CF)
The sexiest of the London Soho House chain is this one. Its member’s only, so either try to get a membership for the clubs around the world for all-year round access, or beg, borrow, steal (not literally) someone to get you in. This is a rooftop with great views. A sexy rooftop pool that you can lounge around in bathing suits (no-one really jumps in) and a chilled out, retro secret garden with a great vibe and somewhere you will while away hours with bottles of wine and pizzas. Its great for people-watching too.
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho (for the artsy CF)
The Ham Yard Hotel’s deluxe roof terrace is usually off-limits and only accessible by hotel guests, but if you want to see the water features, herbaceous borders, kitchen garden, beehives and chic sun terrace for yourself, cocktail in hand, look out for seasonal ticketed events, like the next Summer event on 5th September ‘Vermouth on the Roof’ or Summer Sunrise yoga Session on 3rd September.
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, South Bank (for the Pimm’s loving CF)
A staple on a sunny day in London. This is designed by the Eden Project (of which I’m a big fan) and is maintained by Grounded Ecotherapy gardeners, a true oasis in the heart of Southbank. Beautiful river views, this roof garden is one of London’s best kept secrets. Boasting fruit trees, wildflowers, budding allotments and a grand old bar, it is the place to head to take in the London skyline day and night. Jugs of Pimm’s and other summery beverages are on offer with light snacks. This is a place to get comfortable.
Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch (for the experimental CF)
The London birthplace of the Rooftop Film Club, this rooftop is transformed twice a year for Summer and Winter. This year’s Summer theme takes you back to 1967 with the Summer of Love and a ‘A Tribute to Dr Strange’, a nostalgic homage to one of the world’s most legendary summers, when scores of young people travelled from across America in search of a spiritual revolution. Enjoy a range of floats and slushies, and a series of curated events from The Museum of Happiness. Absolutely no reason to frown this Summer in London.
Madison, Bank (for the business CF)
One of the larger rooftops not only in London, but in Europe, this is great for post-meetings if you are working in London. Surrounded by suits and overlooking the iconic dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, come here with a group of co-workers where you are guaranteed a buzzing atmosphere and classic cocktails. I wouldn’t suggest eating here but it works perfectly if you’re looking for somewhere in the City to get some wind-down drinks at sunset before you head out for dinner.
Coq d’Argent, Bank (For the suited and booted CF)
The place to go for London City workers. A rooftop garden with neatly a trimmed lawn, trailing vines emulating a country garden, a ringed walkway, and stunning London-wide views. Mingle amongst the City high-fliers with an impressive cocktail and wine list. This is more deal maker than deal breakder.
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith (for the cultured CF)
Set up perfectly for a pre-theatre drink for lovers of the arts, the roof garden is alive with greenery and flora everywhere, sustainable decking and a six metre high pergola. Pop downstairs after your drink to watch one of the great pieces of theatre (currently ‘Bugsy Malone’ and later ‘Things I Know To Be True). It’s a favourite for locals so try to get there early enough to enjoy some cocktails and nibbles from great British bakery and café Peyton & Byrne as you won’t be able to after the show.