The sun is shining and the weather is starting to warm up so it’s time to check out the best outdoor drinking spots to enjoy an ice-cold G&T, share a pitcher of Pimm’s or perhaps sip on an iced coffee. Whether you’re looking for a roof garden in Kensington, a traditional pub garden or a rooftop bar in Brixton, we’ve got an ideal outdoor drinking spot for anyone to while away a sunny afternoon.
12 Hay Hill, Mayfair
A stunning new terrace has opened on the 2nd floor at luxury private members business club 12 Hay Hill in Mayfair. Although Mayfair is one of the cities most fabulous locations it has limited outside space for entertaining. This makes 12 Hay Hill one of the areas most sought after clubs to entertain business guests with its superb office facilities, restaurant, and bar serving high-quality fresh ingredients, either in the club or at your desk if you really can’t take a break from the day-to-day.
San Carlo at Selfridges, West End
The rooftop restaurant and bar at Oxford Streets fashion emporium is a must visit. San Carlo has brought its world-renowned, chic Italian style to Selfridges London’s roof. This spectacular Italian hideaway has a morning-to-night menu of seasonal Italian dishes, from the finest seafood and pasta to grilled specialties, seasonal salads, and authentic gelato desserts. Open Thursday to Sunday for breakfast, you’ll find classics like pancakes, as well as healthier (but equally delicious) dishes on the menu. Set high above the hustle and bustle, escape the city and enjoy drinks at the bar on the alfresco sun terrace, in a stunning Italian garden setting, or dinner in the restaurant – whatever the weather.
Pergola, Paddington Central
Pergola is one of the largest scale outdoor drinking spaces in London, offering seating for a whopping 850 guests, as well as two bars and food offerings from the likes of Patty & Bun and DF Mexico. It’s a flower-filled, two-floor fun palace. The top deck is fully exposed to the elements and sunshine also pours through to part of the downstairs floor. Pergola’s theme is an Ibiza-influenced club style and you’re best off bringing a load of friends to enjoy the party atmosphere.
Chapel Down Gin Works, King’s Cross
This canal-facing terrace in King’s Cross is spread across two tiers and is primed for drinking gin and wine from the Chapel Down range. Head here for classy summer sipping, plus a taste of Kent right in the capital.
High on the Boundary rooftop sits the enchanting Rooftop Bar & Grill. Boasting one of the best views of London’s skyline, the bar is now sporting a newly designed garden. Including a canopy of grape producing vines, together with a subtle garrigue and wild herb theme, this is the perfect place to escape the busy streets below.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
This serene garden was created by Anthony Challis and Dan Curran of Ginkgo Gardens. Trailing wisteria and climbing roses adorn the garden’s pergolas, stone clad fountains and leafy trellises. The garden is part of the restaurant, so guests will need to order food in order to have a table or seat at the bar.
The Magic Garden, Battersea
Often described as a ‘festival in a pub’, The Magic Garden is quietly nestled in the heart of south-west London. With DJs from London and beyond, expect to hear everything from funk, Balkan and reggae to hip-hop, ska and Latin. But it’s not all feathers and glow paint. Weekdays involve cosy cappuccinos, newspapers in the garden, a delicious lunch menu, and vintage armchairs to sit and enjoy the laidback atmosphere.
Hope & Anchor, Brixton
This is not your average pub garden. Newly refurbished, the Thai-inspired garden promises the ultimate summer holiday experience. Hope & Anchor goers are able to hire a tree hut, relax in a hammock, and warm themselves by a giant fire pit. Not forgetting the ping pong tables, outdoor stadium, giant outdoor projector screen, and full-size tuk-tuk.
Coq d’ Argent, Bank
Located in the heart of the City, Coq d’Argent’s rooftop garden is accessed via a private glass lift. Complete with its own lawn, trailing vines and ringed walkway it boasts stunning views of the London skyline. The walkway is peppered with inviting small tables that are shadowed with rows of wisteria. High above the city’s bustling streets, this is a place for escaping the maddening crowds of the city in a relaxed yet buzzy atmosphere.
Peckish? The Bar & Grill has an excellent selection of crustaceans (go for half-a-dozen of No. 3 native oysters if in season) and a glass or two of wine. If you’re staying for dinner, the joyously tender Dorset spring lamb rack and saddle from the smart restaurant is highly recommended (and the Granny Smith apple parfait pudding is a staff favourite).
Dalston Roof Park, Dalston
The only Dalston rooftop garden, the DRP offers a tasty collection of food and drink set amid the stunning backdrop of the City’s skyline. Brimming with herbs and hops, this once forgotten oasis was inspired by the High Line in New York and began as a collection of allotments cared for by a group of local volunteer gardeners. Sit back, relax, eat, drink, dance and see the London landscape with a different view.
On the borders of Spitalfields market, Blixen’s light-filled interiors are impressive: high ceilings, blue banquettes, and a long walnut cocktail bar. But we recommend taking this party outside, where you can get everything from blueberry pancakes with whipped Crème Fraiche to late-night drinks. Garden tables are only available for those ordering food, but trust us, that won’t be a problem.
No 32 The Old Town, Clapham
Boasting a roof terrace and off the beaten track from the myriad of Clapham bars, No 32 The Old Town is the place to head for excellent alfresco cocktails and an equally delicious menu. The roof terrace is full to the brim with umbrellas, tables and chairs, perfect to take in some summer cocktails. Get in there quick, as you can’t reserve a spot outside – first come, first served. With friendly staff on-hand and a hidden rooftop terrace, No 32 is a suntrap waiting to be discovered.
Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar and Cafe, The Southbank
Known for its concrete wash walls and lack of green space, the South Bank is screaming out for a place to take in the beautiful London sunset. Well, have we got a treat for you. Hidden away in a terrace attached to part of the Queen Elizabeth Hall’s cafe lies the Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar and Cafe. 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.
Garden Lounge, Whitehall Place
Designed by David Collins Studio the Garden Lounge at the iconic Corinthia Hotel is one alfresco drinking spot you need to seek out. Despite being in walking distance to the rumbles of Embankment tube station the Garden Lounge is a secluded escape. With more than just a well-stocked bar with a substantial spirits and wine menu, there is plenty to enjoy when it comes to the decoration. A dazzling array of gold, cream, red, terracotta and grey handcrafted mosaics by leading French artist Mathilde Jonquiere adorns columns and plinths, while an elegant glass canopy provides cover from those unwelcomed rainy afternoons. If it gets chilly two fireplaces make for cosy fire-side chats.
Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury
Tucked away in the heart of Bloomsbury this beautifully designed indoor-outdoor restaurant is a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, but feels completely at a remove from London’s frenetic centre. Quiet, chic with very nice food and cocktails, we’d suggest this as a perfect location for romantic dinner on a balmy night. But don’t worry if the weather is slightly inclement – there’s a retractable roof, heating, and blankets on chairs (always a nice touch).