Rooftop bars are right next to ‘barbecues’, ‘beer gardens’, and ‘the flaunting of not-quite-beach-ready bodies’ on the list of quintessential British summer pastimes. And, look out, Britain – we’re in for a warm one. Here are ten rooftops that are perfect for soaking up the sun.
Bussey Rooftop Bar, London
With unbeatable views across London’s skyline, this rooftop oasis is south London’s place-to-be when the sun is out. Round up your mates for beers, cocktails, and Neapolitan-style pizzas from Share A Slice. Whether you fancy a classic Margherita or spicy ‘nduja, for every pizza purchased, they’ll donate one to feed someone in need.
Forth Floor Restaurant, Edinburgh
It’s Speyside Spritzes all round at Harvey Nic’s Edinburgh bar and restaurant. And the views are fab – on a clear day on the terrace, you’ll find yourself squinting into the distance and saying, goodness, is that Fife over there? (Yes, it is). On the food front, expect locally sourced meat and seafood, as well as an excellent afternoon tea.
Red Sky Bar, Glasgow
At Red Sky Bar, you can enjoy afternoon tea with a view or sip cocktails as the sun sets over the River Clyde. After a Glas-Vegas Fizz or a Sky High Sling, order some small plates for the table – the haggis bon bons are not to be missed.
Escape the busy seafront and enjoy a glass of fizz at Bohemia’s Veuve Clicquot roof terrace. If it gets too hot, you can dine indoors – their burgers, calamari, and charcuterie platters are perfect for lazy summer grazing.
Rooftop Gardens, Norwich
Short of shinning up the cathedral’s spire, this rooftop bar offers the best views in the city. In good weather, the space is something of a suntrap, so best pack your factor 50. The menu offers something for everyone, from small plates and grazing platters to steaks and Sunday roasts. If it’s Instagrammable drinks you’re after, their cocktail trees are a must.
The Varsity Club, Oxford
As the name wouldn’t suggest, this 360-degree view rooftop bar isn’t actually exclusive to students (though they tend to come out of the woodwork as the night draws in). The great view is made even better by the fact the bar’s open whatever the weather – when the colder evenings are in, the blankets and burners keep things cosy.
Radio Rooftop, London
Turning the dial slightly more towards the glitz-and-glam end of the spectrum, we have Radio – expect Champagne, seafood platters, brunch, and plenty of frosé. Situated on the 10th floor of the ME London Hotel, the terrace offers views of Somerset House, The Shard, Big Ben, and then some.
Sky Lounge, Leeds
Nothing quite says ‘clinking glasses with the gods’ as much as Sky Lounge – the name certainly has that kind of a ring to it. Though they can’t guarantee an appearance from Dionysus (a deity who, as we all know, likes to party), it’s just the place to celebrate a birthday or impress a date.
Perched atop the Bullitt Hotel, this rooftop bar and garden is the ideal place to escape the bustle of the city for a few hours. They serve classic cocktails with a modern twist – try the Banana Old Fashioned or their Summer Negroni with Glendalough Wild Botanical gin. If you’re peckish, there are sourdough pizzas topped with locally produced chorizo, mozzarella, and sugar pit bacon.
Hall & Woodhouse, Bath
With its picturesque streets and Georgian architecture, Bath is one of the UK’s prettiest cities. After a day of sightseeing, you can relax on the roof at Hall & Woodhouse and tuck into comfort food classics like steak pie and fish and chips.
What’s your favourite rooftop dining destination? Let us know in the comments.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.
Photo Credit: Thierry Delsart for Radio Rooftop and Radisson Hotels for Red Sky Bar.