5 Rooftop Bars in London | Anoushka Probyn (2023)


5 Rooftop Bars in London | Anoushka Probyn (1)

In my (admittedly, extremely biased) opinion, London is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And its beauty is best enjoyed from way up high, ideally with a cocktail in hand, maybe even a small plate or two to pick on, while you watch the sun set over The Thames. Sounds pretty dreamy, am I right?

Luckily, if you're looking for a spot to do just that, you're spoilt for choice. The city is home to countless rooftop bars and restaurants. There's the chic, city slicker ones, that'll set you back a pretty penny for the privilege. There's the grungy hipster ones in South and East London, where the amenities are minimal but the atmosphere is buzzing. Or if you're looking for somewhere oh so aesthetic to get that gram snap, yep, we've got those too.

I had previously written a guide to some of my favourite rooftops in London, way back in 2018. Whilst the recommendations stand strong, the photography is a bit dodgy to say the least. Plus London life moves fast, and numerous new rooftops have sprung up in the city since then. So I decided it was time for an update, with five fresh London rooftop bars worth checking out. There's aesthetics, some banging cocktails, and of course, incredible London views.

Some of these reviews are press visits, however all inclusions are at my discretion, and all opinions my own.

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Florattica, Aldgate

There was a period in London when every venue was floral-themed. Restaurants and cafes decked out with flower walls, every dish served with liberal helpings of edible flowers, the lot. It's nothing new, and yet the latest of London's rooftop openings, Florattica, has managed to find a fresh take.

I say fresh, but in fact they've looked to the past for inspiration. To be precise, the floral designs of the local 17th century French Huguenots, interpreted through colourful patterned furniture and a dramatic floral ceiling installation.

The drinks also have elements of florals, without being overtly on the nose. Presentation is simple, highlighting top quality ingredients. Serena Carrino, the mixologist who created the menu, honed her skills at London institution Nightjar, so you know it's going to be good.

(Video) Buddha Lounge & Bar Decebal

There's also a menu of small plates, including dishes like a lobster roll and sushi selection. They're decent, but this is ultimately a cocktail bar and the food doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of the drinks.

Service is friendly and attentive, with Serena taking the time to guide us through the cocktails and recommending drinks based off our tastes. My recommendation, the Rose Mule, was right on the money. A heady mix of floral (but not too sweet!) notes with a spicy galangal afterkick, it was exactly what I look for in a cocktail.

Whilst Florattica doesn't boast such incredible London views as some of the other venues on this list, the distinctive cocktails, thoughtfully curated theme and oh so aesthetic interiors make it well worth a visit.

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Florattica Rooftop Bar
11-15 Minories

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Sabine, St Paul's

Previously Madison was the be all and end all when it came to views of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Not any more (which as someone who thinks Madison is fairly overrated, I'm pretty pleased about). New kid on the block Sabine, sitting pretty atop Leonardo Hotel, is situated mere yards from the famous monument, with top notch views.

It's an ample space, with two outdoor terraces and plenty of indoor seating for the colder months. The bar is garden themed, with foliage and floral detailing. It's chic, but doesn't feel pretentious.

The cocktail menu is adventurous, with weird and wonderful ingredients such as wild herb liquor and cinnamon liquor orgeat syrup. If the sound of that fills you with trepidation, never fear - they're all very drinkable. What really stood out to me though, was the food offering. I was expecting your average bar bites, but was pleasantly surprised by a varied menu. There's a selection of tostadas, skewers, and several veggie options.

I tried the BBQ jackfruit tostadas, poached lobster, tandoori prawn skewers, and mac and cheese bon bons. The latter is a must, perfectly crispy and creamy, with a decadent truffle mayo dip. For dessert, the mini dessert platter is a no brainer, because why have one dessert when you could have six?

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Sabine Rooftop Bar
10 Godliman St

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(Video) Trip to Bucharest may 2016

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The Rooftop, Charing Cross

The sheer number of high rises in East London means that, unsurprisingly, most of London's rooftops are concentrated in the area. That said, central London has a few secrets up its sleeve. One such secret is The Rooftop, about as centrally located as you can get just off Trafalgar Square.

What makes The Rooftop so special is undoubtedly its view. It's a pretty amazing place to while away an afternoon overlooking the hustle and bustle of the square below. Whilst the indoor space is nice enough, you really want to nab a table on the terrace to enjoy it at its best. I visited in January when it was nippy to say the least (made bearable with blankets and heaters), but in Summer I can imagine this being the place to be!

Drinks-wise, there's a bit of something for everyone. Of the two cocktails I tried, the Black Forest was pleasant, if mild, whilst Winter in Oaxaca packed a real punch. The food menu offers small plates at a somewhat eye-watering £14 apiece (or 3 for £36), but then, these are rooftop prices. Or there's larger plates such as burgers, and sharing platters of cold cuts and cheeses.

One thing my Insta-trained eye particularly appreciated was the beautiful presentation - the dishes are almost too pretty to eat! Of what we tried, most was good, if nothing to write home about. Get the wild mushroom croquettes, skip the halloumi fries.

I unexpectedly found myself most enjoying dessert. For somewhere that is all about the views, and the drinks to accompany, The Rooftop has a surprisingly decent offering. We gorged on a vegan creme brûlée with passionfruit - I love creme brûlée, so this was a big hit - and profiteroles. Rooftop views, and profiteroles? Um, yes please.

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The Rooftop, The Trafalgar St James
7th Floor, 2 Spring Gardens

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(Video) Ambience Garden

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Sushi Samba, Bishopsgate

A rooftop restaurant and bar that needs no introduction. Sushi Samba, perched over two floors of Heron Tower in Liverpool Street, is an iconic London dining spot. If you've not been, you've probably been to it's upstairs neighbour, 24 hour Duck and Waffle. Whilst the latter is ideal for fixing 3am end of the night waffle cravings, Sushi Samba is the ideal spot for a buzzy Friday night dinner before an evening bar hopping around the bustling nightlife of Shoreditch. Or better yet, keep the party going at the venue's own club night Casa de Samba.

I visited at a more sober noon, to try the Taste Of Samba tasting menu. There's various options available depending on how hungry you are, starting at £70 per person. We went in with the £85 offering, which includes a selection of appetisers, bites like gyoza and taquitos, and bigger plates including a mushroom tobanyaki and robata lamb chops.

Sushi Samba is, unsurprisingly, a sushi restaurant, but with hefty Latin American influences. Japanese meets Latin American really doesn't sound like it should work, and yet somehow, it's so good. Standouts included the chilean sea bass anticuchos, practically melt-in-the-mouth fish in a sticky, sweet glaze. The mushroom tobanyaki didn't exactly jump out of the menu for me, but it was a real surprise - creamy and flavoursome mushroom sauce paired with rice and a perfectly poached egg.

Then dessert, a chocolate banana cake. I don't like chocolate cake. I don't like banana cake. And yet, despite being painfully full by this point, I couldn't stop eating it. A must order, for the delightfully boozy vanilla rum ice cream alone.

Cocktails are spot on, but then what would you expect from such an institution? If you're a lychee lover like me, order the Lychee Cooler and thank me later.

And somehow, after all this waxing lyrical about the food, I haven't even mentioned the views. You can see pretty much all of London - I could almost even spot my house! As London views go, Sushi Samba is right up there.

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Sushi Samba, Heron Tower

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The Nest, Fitzrovia

The Nest, the rooftop bar and restaurant perched atop Treehouse Hotel in Central London, was my very last review for this post. There's a lot of pressure that goes on the last place. Is it going to be worthy of that final spot? I ummed and ahhed about where to choose, not wanting to waste my time on a dud. Luckily, The Nest delivered.

As any long-standing readers will know, I love a good theme. Give me a story with my cocktails and canapés, and I'll be suckered right in. So unsurprisingly, a tropical-esque "nest" bar in a treehouse themed hotel completely tickled my fancy. The canopy of foliage, combined with cosy nooks and reading corners, really cemented the concept of a secret treehouse hideout. There's a wraparound terrace for prime 360 degree views out over London, but I actually preferred cosying up in the indoor space - blame the brisk February weather!

The Nest focuses on fresh, local produce. This even applies to the drinks, with a selection of cocktails themed around seasonal ingredients. On my visit, this included kale, red cabbage, and rock samphire. If you're anything like me, your initial thought might be "eww", but actually, they were pretty darn good! I tried the "Apple Spice And All Things Nice", and the "Coastal 75" (a samphire cocktail), and really enjoyed both. Completely unlike anything I'd ever tried before, but without being, well, too weird.

There's a short but sweet menu of small and large plates, as well as a dedicated vegan section. I'd already eaten so just tried the charcuterie board, which paired a lovely brie with prosciutto and quince marmalade.

When I visited, on a slow, Monday afternoon, The Nest was peaceful. A cosy spot for a quiet catchup, or to get a spot of work done with a tipple at hand. But I imagine it's quite the place to be on evenings and weekends. Between the prime location, unparalleled views, and fresh, seasonal menu, it's got plenty to offer.

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The Nest, Treehouse Hotel
14-15 Langham Pl

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Read More: Sky High: 5 of London's Best Rooftop Bars

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5 Rooftop Bars in London | Anoushka Probyn (34)

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5 Rooftop Bars in London | Anoushka Probyn (36)


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