Alfresco Drinking In London
When it comes to stylish pub gardens and trendy rooftop terraces; London suffers from an embarrassment of riches. Frankly, anybody who argues that the capital isn't the greatest city to enjoy an ice-cold drink in the sunshine, is lying through their teeth! Here's a list of recommended venues perfect for a spot of alfresco drinking in London.
Last updated on 30th November 2016
Hop aboard the Canal Party Club for a tranquil cruise down the Regent’s Canal. The boat is all yours (except for the captain), so you’re welcome to bring your own booze, food and music as you take in the sights of North London on a leisurely voyage from King’s Cross towards Camden. With transparent covers and a heater, there’s no need to worry if the weather should deteriorate either.
A warm and welcoming boozer located on the banks of Canary Wharf’s riverfront, 28 West’s alfresco space draws a lively after-work crowd. Pitch up on their terrace area and get comfy; there’s a global range of craft beers, experimental cocktails and a fine choice of wines that should help. Hungry? Wholesome Americana burgers, steaks and lobster take care of that.
A lush lavender toting garden in the heart of Battersea, The Four Thieves may be a new bean on the block, but they're coming up trumps when it comes to beer gardens in London. From their green hue and tinkering of fair lights, to craft beers and home-made gin, The Four Thieves is a good ol' dose of something different.
A Hammersmith hottie with the back garden to boot, not only is The Eagle an absolute treasure when it comes to their gastro grub offering, alfresco drinks in London have a neat contender on their hands. From cutesy bunting and shed shaped booths, to beanbags and grassy knolls, this sweet garden is a sight to see.
You can't get much more alfresco than on a boat, surely? Bar&Co is permanently moored a stone's throw from Temple Station, sitting on the iconic River Thames. With views looking out on the OXO Tower, the London Eye and Big Ben, this wondrous vessel is ideal for an after-work tipple, full on party night or private function.
There's so much going on at The Star of Kings it can be tricky to keep up. Offering a completely different dining experience every three months, fronting an entertainment schedule brimming with live music and DJs yet retaining the good old-fashioned feel of a solid pub, The Star completes its impressive résumé with a lovely alfresco area.
For something a little different, The Grand Union bar in Brixton lets you rent out one of a 'Thai-Beach-Hut' for the whole night where you can enjoy cocktails, beers and even watch sports on the big screen if it suits you. Perfect for grabbing a taste of alfresco drinking in Thailand without having to leave South-London.
Shoreditch sunshine is starting to peek through the clouds and it's time to take advantage of those oh so tasty beer gardens. Cargo with its outdoor parasols flouro-feathered like oversized umbrella cocktail sticks together with its impressive wall art and urban graffiti make for a wonderfully wacky feel, encapsulating that typically quirky East London atmosphere.
A nice wee spot by the river in Notting Hill, those looking for alfresco drinks in London won't be hard pushed to enjoy the pub antics of this babe in the west. Grab a pint and settle down for a drink by the river as The Union Tavern not only boasts a top selection of beers, their suburban hankerings are more than adored.
The fact that Paradise scooped our Best Pub of 2014 accolade is due in no small part to its stylish alfresco area. Offering a fine A La Carte selection and no shortage of boozy libations, head outside or prop up the conservatory space for a cool but comfortable drinking and dining experience in West London.
A pedigree destination in the heart of Liverpool Street, Devonshire Terrace is an outdoor space in London with plenty of architectural cool on its side. An embedded plot of bespoke tables and darling foliage, grab a glass of champers and indulge in this cool space. With two terraces to boot, it's coming up alfresco trumps.
Mooch around the delightful outside area of The Fentiman Arms and soak up the sizzling sounds of their BBQ's during the hazy summer months. Idyllically name the Wild Country Beer Garden, you can glug on your refreshing pint or crisp glass of wine on their beautiful terrace - an oasis space in the heart of London.
Elysée is a family run restaurant and bar that has become known as a place to dine and party until the early hours. One of the most notable features is the giant roof garden, complete with plenty of tables to relax at when the sun is out. Calm during the day, it picks up a gear at night, becoming a rambunctious party place until the early hours.
Rooftop gardens in London get everyone going wild come summer, and it's no exception when it comes to this corker in Farringdon. With a hot-to-trot plant laced roof terrace, guests to Bird Of Smithfield can tuck into a top selection of drinks while getting a good old fashioned dose of the good stuff. And by good stuff, we do mean sunshine.
A Grade II listed early 19th century building, The Gun is an excellent pub sitting on the banks of the River Thames with amazing views of the river and the O2. With a great riverside terrace, enjoy a seasonal and fresh British menu with some exquisite drink options to accompany it.
A greenhouse style bar, Corney and Barrow Exchange Square is the perfect place to be in the summer months. With a croquet pitch and seating outside it is made for alfresco drinking and chatting in the sunshine. Ideal for some after-work drinks or a long, relaxing lunch. Serving up the delicious wine that it's known for, it is a great place to grab a drink in the area.
Cosy, warm and familiar once inside, The Castle's beaut of a rooftop terrace helps it to stand out from its Pentonville Road neighbours. Get yourself up here for some pub grub and a few drinks, with a delicious open-air vantage point over Islington coming as an extra bonus.
A trusted boozer on the Balham High Road since way back in 1821, one of the biggest draws of The Devonshire is its beautiful garden out back. Pick out a sunny day and set up camp here for the day; a top choice of ales, craft beers, spirits and wines should spoil you for choice, and there’s plenty to feast on when they fire up the BBQ a little later in the day.
A good ol' fashioned gastro boozer with the neat treats to boot, The Cross Keys is suburban pub material with a dash of London attitude. But you're here for the garden, right? With its cutesy wooden awnings, sprawling of potted plants and outdoor heaters, drinks in this London beer garden are a noted charmer.
With the Grand Union troop heralded for their back garden boozers, it's no wonder that their Wandsworth is such a haven for alfresco drinks in London. Another fun-filled spot brimming with wooden shacks, cutesy fairy lights and a whole heap of party people, Grand Union Wandsworth is primed for the summertime.
Colourful, creative and cultural, Barrio Shoreditch brings the Caribbean to East London with its quirky, bubbly outdoor terrace. Fairy lights-clad, spend your summer months in its kitsch, but cool garden area as you absorb the chilled-out, Cuban quality of life. Cocktail heavy, revel in the fragrant fruit juices or sup at some cold beers.
With an extensive drinks cabinet (we're talking 38 bottles of wine) and a fantastic garden, Chelsea's Jam Tree offers a top Alfresco Drinking experience to discerning drinkers from all over the capital. The garden comes with extensive covering and heaters so it's perfect to visit all year round - but it really comes into it's own during the summer, when the delicious drinks can be enjoyed alongside Hog Roasts and Meat & Fish cooked over charcoal.
Kensington Roof Gardens is London's very first rooftop bar and club and to this day, remains one of the best ones in the capital. A great spot overlooking some truly remarkable views of London, it's an ideal place for alfresco drinking and summer partying (day or night) with an all night BBQ to keep you going until the early hours.
Smollensky’s brings delicious cocktails and a feel-good spirit to its terrace that looks out across Canary Wharf. Bartenders are given creative licence to offer contemporary twists on old school classics, with a few new found favourites as well as a good choice of wines, spirits, champers and beers also up for grabs.
A Camden hub of entertainment that really needs no introduction, you might not know of Proud's excellent alfresco Secret Garden. It's a 150-seater which churns out delicious BBQ bites, chilled cocktails and a positively vibrant atmosphere. You'll want The Snug if you'd prefer something more private; a relaxing 50-capacity function space with dedicated hostess service.
West End on the Thames is all about “the sun above, the water beneath and 360 degree panoramic views of London.” Perfect for office summer parties of anywhere between 2 and 500, head out onto the spacious deck rooftops and enjoy celebrations featuring Pimm’s, BBQ and amazing views, with DJs and dancing to follow a little later.
Clapham's old town is one mighty brunch babe, and prime for alfresco spots; but when it comes to serious dining and drinking under the London light, there's no better than No 32. Seasonal, stylish and boasting a really, and we mean really nice roof terrace, this is a hard alfresco spot to beat.
A beloved Drake and Morgan spot in the heart of Waterloo, The Refinery does outdoor drinking in London proud. With its smattering of cutesy tables and botanical plotting, to lush summer menus and inherent British charm, this grandiose outdoor space serves well for any and all occasions in the city.
While many may think that Jugged Hare barely has any space outside at all, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the plot that they're boasting across the road. With a whole area dedicated to drinks and summertime fun, hop across the street and take to a cutesy space of plotted tables, plants and more.
Sitting under the Simmons umbrella is another corker of a pub in London, with a neat wee alfresco garden to boot. Now known for their vintage interiors and cracking collection of dated collectibles, those looking for a pub with a little oomph head to Chelsea Pensioner for the cool innards and cutesy garden to boot.
The Dog & Fox’s inviting alfresco space is one of the best beer gardens in south London. The front garden fills up quickly at the first sight of sunshine, as drinkers and diners flock to this Wimbledon Village hub to enjoy quintessential British food and a vast array of boozy favourites in sunny style. There’s also a roofed hotel garden available come rain or shine.
Who knew one of East London's best alfresco drinking spots was in the Westfield shopping centre? Bumpkin's spacious outdoor terrace is tailor made for enjoying a chilled pint of English ale, glass of wine or innovative cocktail in the sun while you take a break from that retail therapy.
A "stylish gastro wonderland" just around the corner from King's Cross, head to the rooftops to find The Fellow's handsome open-air terrace. Fitted with a handful of wooden tables and cosy corners, settle in for the long run and knock back a few of the venue's signature cocktails. It's heated and covered too, so there's no need to retreat inside should the weather turn.
Just a stone’s throw from Holborn Viaduct and St. Paul’s Cathedral, Jamies Fleet Place is an informal space rounded off with an extensive outside terrace for those hazy after work sessions in the summer. Head out here come 5pm and grab a glass of wine, there’s over twenty by the glass to make up their extensive selection.
Situated right by the waterside on St. Katharine Docks, the Slug & Lettuce offers a spectacular alfresco spot alongside impressive views of the Tower of London. Make your way outside come the sunnier season and take advantage of the Slug’s awesome drink deals; get £11.45 bottles of wine on a Wednesday and £12 bottles of prosecco until 10pm to mark Fizz Friday.
Kitted out with mismatched furniture, snug sofas and an airy ambience, this neighbourhood gastropub also features a courtyard for sunny season drinking and dining. Freshly prepared British grub is on the menu, washed down with a whole catalogue of wines, ales and craft beers. Bliss.
The beer garden in London to envy nearly any and all beer gardens, you may have to travel to see this absolute dime of a drinking space, but by golly is the journey worth it. Not only grand in size, it's grand in style. From cutesy circus themed booths and trails of fairy lights, to outdoor heaters and blankets for chilly nights, as far as alfresco spots go, this has quirky on tap.
Set within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, The Old Brewery is a unique and historic pub located just yards away from the legendary Cutty Sark. An ideal spot to sample London-brewed craft beers and a healthy range of distilled spirits, there’s a lovely relaxed outdoor terrace with plenty of room for when the sun makes an appearance.
The hip and trendy Shoreditch venue that is Queen of Hoxton boasts a remarkable open top terrace that's always a big hit amongst patrons and visitors alike. Coming with it's own bar, garden, kitchen and BBQ, it's a truly ideal spot for alfresco drinking, especially during summer nights.
Laurel hedges enclose the delightful and spacious outdoor space at the Coat & Badge, which is rightly considered one of the best beer gardens in south-west London. Ideal for everything from people-watching to watching sport on TV with drinks in tow, there’s also plenty of cover to retreat to if the weather should turn.
Laid-back beers on a summer evening aren't hard to come by when The Miller has anything to do it. A cool plot for London Bridge locals and after-work patrons alike, grab a seat in their heaving garden and work your way through their ice-cold drinks list, there's even a roof terrace for those with more summer hankerings.
Alfresco drinking doesn't just mean standing out in the rain by yourself with a cheeky smoke; it means embracing a meditteranean joy de vivre, a love of nature and the great outdoors as well as the community. People's Park Tavern has a beer garden which creates a sense of love for our British environment, with its views of Victoria Park and constant influx of happy smiling sun-revellers. There isn't anywhere better to drink alfresco.
The cutesy new plot from the Simmons brand, Simmons Fitrovia is a corker of kitsch cocktails, darling innards and top notch antics to boot. While heralded for their interiors, Simmons Fitzrovia also boast a neat wee selection of alfresco seats for outdoor supping. With its fake grass and white picket fence, it's a cute ol' place to grab a cocktail or three.
Gracing South London with palm trees, Pimm's and a party atmosphere Gigalum in Clapham meets the criteria for Mediterranean alfresco drinking in London. The cream of the crop of Ibiza DJs hit Gigalum's decks on weekends while the outside decking provides a sublime setting for alfresco dining as well as drinks with a tapas menu that's perfect for sharing.
A gastropub wonder at the heart of the Lee community; The Crown Tavern is known for its stunning front terrace, which becomes a hive of activity for contented drinkers when the weather is fine. Pop along on your way home from work where you’ll find a selection of cask ales, world-class wines or refreshing long drinks waiting for you.
Of course the team behind The RoofTop Cafe are so good at what they do, they created another alfresco drinking joint on par with their other success. The Bermondsey Yard Cafe in South London brings eccentric and vibrancy alive with their dining and drinking experience. The battling menu of both food and cocktails are a winning combination for all. Both menus have a range of cracking dishes, ales, wines, and spirits.
Explore four floors of modern elegance and timeless style before arriving on The Driver's prized rooftop terrace. Towering high above the King's Cross metropolis, drink in those picturesque views and while away those sunny afternoons with a few cocktails for company. There's resident chefs to cook up a host of BBQ treats for when the weather is fine.
Offering two terrace spaces right beside the river, you won’t be surprised to see The Riverside fill up quickly for after work drinks in the summertime. It’s one seriously stylish place to enjoy a few bevvies, with cracking views and a buzzing atmosphere (there’s room for up to 200 guests) as well as a comprehensive range of Young’s ales, wines and cocktails.
Looks like you're churning for a drink in Chiswick; you've come to the right place. Premium when it comes to alfresco drinking in London, No 197 is one of the prettiest plots yet. Head on down for humble, and flourishing plates alongside seasonal cocktails in this stunning sunshine plot.
Most venues close to the stunning Battersea Park are playing for second place when it comes to outdoor space, but not The Prince Albert. This gem of a gastropub features an award-winning terrace, which becomes a popular grazing spot for SW11’s after-work crowd when the sun is out.
An elegant private hire venue in Isington, The Chapel Bar's Terrace Room rightfully earns it a slot on our best alfresco bars in London list. Coming equipped with a fully stocked bar, a heated terrace and a chilled out garden, this is a versatile space perfect for escaping the constant hubbub of city life outside.
Cool off after an innovative fusion meal of modern Indian cuisine and classic British touches at Cinnamon Kitchen; head out to their large outdoor terrace for some alfresco drinking and dining. Candle-lit tables and comfy chairs set the scene for an atmospheric night of drinking under the stars and the chilled vibe is perfect for a summer evening spent in the buzzing heart of the capital.
A beautiful spot complete with plenty of tables for relaxing and drinking while you enjoy the views with a riverside terrace, the Northbank Restaurant is a true gem. One of the top alfresco drinking spots in the area, enjoy some incredible food and drinks but get there early as you can't reserve the popular terrace tables!
Open-air boozing set upon the Regent's Canal? Yes please. This is Canal 125, a pioneering restaurant and private hire venue offering an escape from the city with its relaxed surroundings. It's 19th century dwellings are pretty enough, but its out on the top-floor sun terrace that you'll find us, chilling on a statement red sofa with a crisp pint of real ale to hand.
Sitting at the base of the gherkin, it's highly unlikely that you'll find as iconic an alfresco space in London as this. With London's most recognised building looming over guests in the sunshine, The Sterling is just that, a truly sterling plot. From its grand selection of tables and notably large space, parties are ever hankering to get their mitts on it.
This cheery beer garden doesn't need the sun to shine to make it smile. Bright yellow cladding surrounds comfy booths, heaters warm happy boozers and fairy lights cast a flattering glow. Potter inside and peruse the stylish 1960's style décor and vibrant artworks. The menu is excellent and varied, meaning you can choose from American, French, Asian and English cuisine. Yum.
The Grand Union never fails to disappoint, and it's Kennington venue is further proof of an impressive legacy. Its classy roof terrace steps it up a notch to being one of the best places for alfresco drinks in London. If the wide selection of beers and wines doesn't tick all of your boxes then why not book a space and share a food platter.