If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy this long spell of summery weather, you should aim high – here’s our pick of some of the best rooftop venues south of the river:
1. Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
The roof garden on top of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall is free to the public, but it also has a cafe serving soft drinks, tea, coffee, alcohol, as well as snacks. The garden features wildflowers and fruit trees. The group Grounded EcoTherapy, volunteers who have experienced homelessness, addiction and mental health problems, maintain the garden.
2. Rumpus Room
Rumpus Room is a bar on top of the Mondrian hotel on Bankside. There are cushy sofas, a British-American cocktail menu, lots of plants, and live DJs from Thursday through Saturday. There is also a smart/casual dress code, as well as an over-21 policy.
3. Bar Elba
Bar Elba is situated next to Waterloo Station directly above its sister bar Tonight Josephine, which references Napoleon’s island of exile and his first wife. Waterloo (in Belgium, not SE1) was the place of Napoleon’s final defeat. Bar Elba’s design and painted walls make it an iconic Instagram spot. Also, a free cocktail is given to those who sign up for the mailing list, which can be done here.
4. The Tankard
The Tankard is a Victorian pub right next to the Imperial War Museum. Prior to 1930, however, the Imperial War Museum hosted the Bedlam insane asylum, and the roof terrace allowed the pub-goers to look over the walls of the hospital next door.
5. Omeara’s Terrace
Part of Flat Iron Square, Omeara is not only a venue for gigs, but also the location of a few bars and – most importantly – a rooftop terrace. The location means that visitors will have a good view of landmarks such as the Shard and Southwark Cathedral. Downstairs, Omeara also houses a tequila bar, Cantina.
6. Frank’s Cafe
Frank’s Cafe is on the top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, and is part of the not-for-profit organisation Bold Tendencies, which commissions a variety of site-specific art. The cafe serves beers, wines, and cocktails, and is home to a restaurant that is open every day, all summer. This venue does not take reservations, however, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early to secure a table.
7. Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales is a venue in Brixton with a two-tiered rooftop terrace. On Thursdays, the venue hosts live Jazz Jam sessions, and on the weekends well-known club DJs. Downstairs, there is also a 1920s Art Deco dance hall.