Maybe it's the skyline views. Maybe it's the sunshine in your face. Or maybe it's that rose-tinted, V.I.P. feeling that you get. Whatever the reason, Londoners go weak at the knees at the sight of a sun-drenched rooftop bar. And with the summer spluttering into action with these 17-degree(ish) weekends, we reckon everyone's soon going to be looking for London's best. Fear not, we've done the legwork. Pull out your floral threads and slap on some factor 30, here's your complete guide to London's leading sky high bars.
In the East
Of course, East London was always going to be top of the rooftop bar game. Nothing quite sparks excitement in these parts better than news of a new rooftop opening (well, except for maybe a quinoa or denim dungaree sale). The Queen of Hoxton has been a popular summer spot since the opening of its idyllic rooftop bar. Taking a different shape each summer, this season's theme will be Neverland; think seashells, a blue lagoon and a secret Lost Boys bar. But to really experience something unique this summer, Roof East is the place to be. Based in Stratford, the entire rooftop has been turned into a big kid's heaven. With the regulars at the Rooftop Film Club in one corner, the rest of the space is occupied by Birdies Mini Golf, Sluggers baseball batting cage, an 80s roller disco and London's first urban lawn bowls pitch. Like we said, it's definitely going to appeal to your inner eleven-year-old.
In the South
South London might get a lot of unfair flack for a number of different things, but the area's line-up of rooftop bars is capable of competing with the best in our eyes. Although outdoor film screenings are pretty 2010, we still get goosebumps watching the sunset at any Rooftop Film Club event. The group have taken control of the Bussey Buildings in Peckham and will be offering the same dose of vintage cinema and skyline views that made them so popular in the first place. But no one can talk about rooftops in South London without mentioning the big hitter that is Brixton Beach. Free of chip-fattened seagulls and gobby youths eating Cornettos, this is far from your ordinary British seaside experience. Think cocktail bars, street food stalls, live musical performances and huge club nights. Oh, and did we mention there's an actual beach too. Be warned, the sand gets everywhere!
In the West
West London has become synonymous with ideas of luxury and glamour. And it's true, to an extent. On one hand, it doesn't get more opulent and luxurious than The Roof Gardens. Based on Kensington High Street, this rooftop gem somehow marries the serene vibes of a tropical garden with the sleek feel of a stylish cocktail bar and the electric beat of a huge club. It's perfect for Saturday nights out in the summer and those special occasions with your closest mates. But on the other side of the coin, you've got Pergola On The Roof. Based on top of the old BBC building's car park in White City, it offers dazzling views and the usual glamourous feel you'd expect of any West London pop-up but has enough East London edge to help it stand out in the crowd. The cocktails are great and the beer flows nicely, but it's the food that really shines here. Patty&Bun, 8 Hoxton Square and Breddos Tacos all have residencies here. We're expecting big things from both of these cloud-touching spots this summer.
In The North
Grab a cocktail with your fellow ladies in waiting and take a turn in the gardens at Proud Camden's newly opened roof terrace. Inspired by those idyllic, Downton Abbey-esque English gardens of old, it's full of bright blossoms, thick green foliage and even has its own water feature. It might be a hay fever sufferers worst nightmare (remember your nasal spray) but is easily one of North London's few hidden gems. But if that's not your cup of tea, first see a doctor and then head to Dalston Roof Park. It's just been refurbished and has become a favourite spot for hosting underground DJ sets, live bands and secret club nights.
You might have to walk through hordes of tourists and dodge a few buses, but without question, rooftop bars in Central London offer some of the best views of the capital. Take Aviary in Finsbury Square, for instance. Having secured itself a DMN Award for being one of the best restaurants in the City, the botanical theme of the cocktail menu and the stylish furniture scattered across the terrace gives the venue character and charm. Thankfully, it's spacious up there, so you can enjoy a cocktail without having to jostle your way through a wall of suits and pink shirts. In short, it's hard not to fall head over heels here. Then there's Bird of Smithfield. Called the Spritz Bar and serving a range of summer cocktails, this spot explodes into life every time the sun decides to make an impromptu appearance. When you're sat up here, you have views of the City of London on one side and sight of Westminister's iconic spires on the other.
But to really feel something great, Sisu is the space for you. Sat on the top of the Marriott Park Lane, the bar overlooks Mayfair and is perfect for anyone looking to escape the Oxford Street flutter. Be sure to check out the coin-operated cocktail machine; probably inspired by a boozy trip to Five Guys, it churns out perfectly balanced Negroni and Old Fashioned cocktails on demand. Grab a drink, unwind and feel the city hum below your feet.