DINING CLUB • April 2021
Want to revive your social life somewhere bright, breezy and boozy? Then it’s time to look up and check out London’s most view-tastic rooftops. Adopted Londoner and Club editor Hannah Ralph shortlists the sky-high bars that will give you London’s best sights and sips this summer
For views of the Gherkin
In what feels like mere touching distance from The Gherkin, SushiSamba lies at the top of a daring panoramic elevator in the heart of London’s business district. A global get-together of Asian and South American influences, SushiSamba’s delectable cocktail menu will take you from the zing of Japanese citrus trees to the sugarcane creaminess of cachaça (Brazil’s most popular spirit). Try the Lychee Cooler (pina colada’s younger, fresher spin-off) out on the terrace where the restaurant’s famous incandescent tree awaits.
For views of Tower Bridge
With three-storey-high windows framing London’s midnight-blue skies, Aqua Shard is where business drinks meets date-night decadence. Above the pulsating train lines of London Bridge Station on The Shard’s 31st floor, rooftop bar evangelists will appreciate the 360° views of the city’s twinkling skyline while sipping on a Peter Pan-inspired cocktail thanks to the bar’s current afternoon tea. Try the Fairy Dust with apple liqueur and a kick of absinthe.
For views of the financial district’s St Botolph’s Church
Flaunting marbled floors, buttercup-yellow bar stools and Asian-inspired design, Jin Bo Law shows off London’s olde-world past and hypermodern present in one vibrant vista. The bar’s terrace, wood-panelled and punctuated with potted plant life, stands adjacent to the centuries-old St Botolph’s Church, great for those who enjoy some history with their hedonism. From the Hong Kong-style hospitality to the jasmine tea-infused creations, honour the menu’s East meets West sensibility with a Milk & Cookies cocktail, made with sweet daiginjo sake and vanilla milk.
For views of St Paul’s Cathedral
A geometric medley of plump white sofas and verdant accents, Madison combines European café culture with a luxe London edge, suspended on one of the city’s best selfie-snapping rooftops. Against a backdrop of Sir Christopher Wren’s architectural tour de force, lounge the night away under the balmy overhead heaters with an order of crisp Garden City cocktail (featuring elderflower-infused gin and apple juice) and a side of generously truffled fries. When you’re done? Leave the bar for the neighbouring public terrace, where you can pap St Paul’s until your heart (and Instagram) is content.
For views of Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout
A converted warehouse on the corner of Redchurch Street, one of east London’s coolest hotspots, The Boundary Project is a year-round, all-weather affair, serving classy cocktails and picky bites to the city’s cosmopolitan elite. Offsetting the warm breeze of any summer evening, the crisp Hugo cocktail – a gin and prosecco pairing served with fizzy soda and fresh mint – goes down a treat, as does the selection of gourmet grilled skewers. This place is more vibes than views, but that doesn’t stop you being able to spot Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout – the epicentre of east London’s tech city – from one of its comfy wicker sofas.
For views of the London Eye
Decked out with cushioned loungers and standing patio heaters, Radio Rooftop Bar is a glassy and marbled terrace on the tenth-floor rooftop of Meliá’s Me London hotel – a triangular building on showbizzy Strand that smacks of New York’s iconic Flatiron Building. Views of the Thames reach as far as Tower Bridge to the east and Battersea to the west – but visit at dusk for spine-tingling sights of Somerset House and the London Eye lit by the setting sun. The cocktails are a trendy mix of stalwarts and bold originals, while the food is filling and fun – don’t miss the salt-speckled, black-truffle arancini and mushroom beignets with porcini emulsion, washed down with a refreshing lychee mojito.