Top 3 Rooftop Bars in London
The two most popular past times in London in the summer are finding places in which to swim and rooftops on which to drink.
There are rooftop bars across the city that offer panoramic views over Greater London. These are hotspots for the city’s most creative, fashionable and sociable people.
Narrowing down to a top three list is difficult, but I love the following rooftops and were I personally taking you on a night out in London it would be to one of these three. Ready?
1. Pergola Olympia in London
Pergola has been called the Instagrammer’s paradise. The rooftop is one of the most photogenic in all the city, featuring a glass beamed enclosure that shields the elements and draped plant life all over the place.
There are actually two Pergola rooftops in London; one is in Paddington, and the one I prefer is on the rooftop of the Olympia car park in west Kensington. The Olympia is an important exhibition center. It’s not far from the London Design Museum; another popular neighborhood for guided walking tours.
Pergola aims to impress from their impeccable service to their great drinks and street food concept. The menu is Asian inspired and served on takeaway plating just as one would eat it on the streets of Bangkok or Hong Kong.
They have a handful of two seater tables where people can come on dates or with just one friend, but the rest of the rooftop is divided up into larger tables intended for bigger parties.
On any given night you’ll encounter a bachelorette party, a handful of birthdays, a crowd of afterwork colleagues and a table of unfamiliar travelers who just met in their hostel a few hours ago.
For this reason, booking is essential at Pergola. You might get away with showing up unannounced on a Wednesday or Thursday, but the rest of the week you’ll only encounter a long waiting list at the door.
They do a two for one drink special between 4pm and 7pm daily. On Saturdays at 2pm you can enjoy their boozy brunch. Note that this is a completely cashless bar and you must pay by card.
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday – 12pm to 12am
Address: 1 Westgate St, London E8 3RL, UK
Subway STATION: London Fields
2. Netil360 in London
Netil360 has encompassed the entire laid-back energy of Hackney and put it onto a single rooftop. This bar is at the top the Netil House in south Hackney. A town of green spaces, museums and guided walking tours for excited travelers.
Unlike Pergola, Netil360 embraces the sky as the only overhead cover. In the summer you’ll relax under the sun, and in the winter rooftop is filled with open-air heaters to create a comfortable space despite the prominent cold.
As the name suggests, this rooftop offers a 360 degree view of the city; panoramic in every direction you look. This is a top spot in London to watch the sun go down over the skyline.
Netil360 does a seasonal menu that changes on a whim. My last visit all the were serving was a fabulous array of steamed dumplings. Friends who have been since have dined on barbecued meats and street food.
To keep things as laid-back as possible, Netil360 doesn’t even bother with bookings. You cannot make reservations here, you simply need to arrive early if you want to get a good spot. Weekdays are less chaotic, but on a weekend you really must be prompt or you’ll find yourself in a queue from hell.
Netil360 gets props for being one of the most unpretentious rooftops in London. The goal is great drinks, decent food and good music that will attract equally as wonderful people.
Remember to hold onto your cup for the duration of the evening. In an effort to reduce waste you’ll receive a discount on all of your drinks if you provide your original cup to the bartender.
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday – 12pm to 5pm
Address: 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, UK
Subway STATION: Finchley Road Station
3. Roof East in London
London is short a beach… so this car park rooftop in Stratford brought one to the city.
Before you get too excited, you can’t actually swim at Roof East. You can simply lounge about on the old fashioned beach chairs that cover the majority of the rooftop’s outdoor terrace.
They only open at 5pm during the week, but on Saturdays and Sundays you can enter the rooftop from midday, giving ample time for lounging about in the sun. Cocktails are served from the bar and everyone is suddenly in a distinct vacation mode.
The rooftop has different entertainment areas to it, in addition to the sun lounging section. There’s table tennis, giant Jenga, batting cages, bowls, skittles, golf and even air hockey, It’s a rooftop theme park for adults, essentially.
Children are welcome on Saturdays and Sundays but only up until 5pm. The rooftop becomes a nightlife hotspot once the sun goes down; drinks flow and the music will carry you through until closing at 11pm — then you’ll have to find elsewhere to run around in Stratford.
The food menu is simple: burgers, bao and wraps.
Since not many people actually know about this rooftop yet there is almost never a queue to get in. The spaciousness of the roof means you’ll always have place to sit, whether you’re a party of two or a part of twenty.