The best outdoor dining & rooftops in London this April
Struggling to decide on where to celebrate the end of lockdown with your bubble?
In just a few weeks the doors will be flung wide open for us to celebrate the end of stage one of Boris’ lockdown easing. The end is in sight, we can finally see the light at the end of this very long tunnel. But where will you be celebrating on April 12th? Will you be brave enough to venture out with your bubble and support the hospitality industry? Have you had enough of homemade hamburgers and extra large measures in your generic gin and tonics?
London is a sprawling web of opportunities to fill your belly with the world’s finest cuisine, but the countless options can be overwhelming at the best of times. So if you want to be first in the queue to be fed and watered here is a handy guide to help you decide where to park your butt for a day of fun and finally enjoy outdoor dining for the first time in months. I’m already drooling at the thought…
Image from NightTales.co.uk
Hidden under the archways of Hackney Central station on Bohemia Place, Night Tales is one of East London’s largest outdoor terraces. Within their 4000 square feet footprint are themed cocktail bars, heated seating, bookable beds and covered tables - plus some of the capital’s best street food. As a treat, this April they have programmed some of the world’s best DJs and party starters to entertain diners including Maya Jane Coles, Horse Meat Disco, Jodie Harsh & Danny Howard. Opening from the 15th of April, book now before the tickets sell out; they’re going like hotcakes!
Image from facebook.com/thehawksnestldn
When entering West London’s worst kept secret you are greeted with a canopy of festoon lighting and foliage that feels more late night festival that festive woodland. Tucked around a quiet corner in a railway arch in Shepherds Bush, Hawk’s Nest has capacity for 120 diners on long benches with tall heaters. They constantly host a series of pop up street food vendors, most notably Patty and Bun back in the day. Current residents include Children’s Master Chef Winner’s Whyte Willy’s Duck & Fries and Italian street food maestros, Sugo.
Image from facebook.com/BluebirdChelsea
Littered with beautiful air kissing Sloane Rangers and members of the Made in Chelsea cast most weekends, this high end courtyard looks out onto the King’s Road in Chelsea. Bluebird is famous for its Art Deco interiors and incredible service, it is an institution for those who live in the area. Their expensive Mediterranean menu overpowers their simple and affordable brunch options. Highlights include their black cod, lobster salad & queen scallops with chorizo.
Image from facebook.com/TheStandardLondon
Found on the ground floor of the new Standard Hotel on Argyle Street in Kings Cross, Double Standard serves a 70’s modern twist on the ‘old man pub’, but don’t let that fool you. There are sun soaked views in every corner with mouth-watering cocktails and infamous burgers on tap. The interior is all about the 1970’s and the exterior is no different - sheepskin rugs and a huge fire pit scream ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ vibes. Fingers crossed their Aperol slushies from last summer will make a comeback as they are a serious game changer!
Skylight is easily London’s largest outdoor venue, this endless rooftop bar is an eye-opening experience. As you sit on top of the Tobacco Dock you will encounter unbelievable and endless views of East London. Thankfully there is comfortable seating littered everywhere with bookable booths and bars-a-plenty too. It is weather-proof (phew) with plenty of heated & covered sections and for premium parties, a boutique mezzanine level.
Bussey Rooftop Bar
Image from facebook.com/BusseyRooftop
At the peak of the iconic Bussey Building, this colourful rooftop bar boasts 360 degree views of Peckham and the surrounding city. Proudly noted as the highest drinking hot spot in Peckham, this arty and unpretentious venue is the perfect place to unwind for a few beers and share a slice without the madness and hedonism of the post-lockdown crowds. Although when lockdown truly ends, there is a basement club inside with a license until 6am that I am sure will be put to good use!
Image from facebook.com/BARGEEAST
Who wouldn’t want to get wrecked on a boat after months of lockdown!? This wonderfully crafted ‘floating bar & kitchen’ in Hackney Wick has been serving smiling customers on the River Lee for a number of years. The 114 year old converted Dutch barge was the voted #1 rated London restaurant in 2019, serving seasonal British set menus, gorgeous Sunday roasts and classic craft beers. The pork croquettes are more than moorish, they’re addictive! As soon as they decide to open, this unique venue will be no doubt booked out for months throughout summer.
Image from facebook.com/rotundalondon
A very proud British bar and restaurant with a huge terrace that looks out onto Regent’s Canal in Kings Cross. You could easily spend a whole day and evening here watching the world go with these beautiful views and their award winning wine. The food is brilliant too, with beef cuts (that’s hung & butchered on site) from their own farm in Northumberland and fresh fish that has been caught that very day. It doesn’t get much better than this on a sunny day in London.
Image from facebook.com/ThePrinceWestBrompton
The owners of this monster site went big from the beginning - A grand old pub in West Brompton, near Earl’s Court was converted to create London’s largest beer garden. On one street this pub garden has access to four restaurants and three bars, all covered by an overhanging woodland inspired roof. From morning till night you can enjoy burgers from Filth & Co, Latin street food from Boludo and Jerk chicken from Rudie’s. Its presence has given the area a new lease of life and well worth a visit or three if you are living inn West London.
Lost in Brixton
Image from facebook.com/lostinbrixton
In a hidden corner of Brixton Market you will find a serious slice of paradise. A huge secret roof terrace magically unravels as you climb the steps into this lost world. Punchy Latin American cocktails are served onto long benches under a tropical and almost weather-proof roof. They’ve been smart by serving food from local heroes such as Jalisco and Fish, Wings & Tings; plus a pop up from The Joint, who boast countless awards for their burgers, ribs and wings. The best thing is, you can just order from your seats. No need to move at all. Perfect when you want to try a little bit of everything and can’t be bothered to queue up!
Image from facebook.com/skylarkroofgarden
Another luxury option from West London. Bordered with Little Venice and Paddington, Skylark delivers crisp views of Notting Hill and keeps things very chic throughout. From sharing pizzas to rib eye steak, the reviews flying in have all been fantastic - especially around their cocktails. (white chocolate martini or a watermelon washer anyone?) If the sun’s out and you’re feeling flush, this is one of the finest places to enjoy the treats of the city. In no time you’ll be watching sunset with a big smile on your face.