Despite what you’ve heard, London does have its fair share of sunny summer days. While some head to the nearest grassy patch for topless tanning, disposable barbecues and 99 flakes, we think you should take things to the next level - literally.
With our own rooftop bar at citizenM, we like to think we know a fair few things about what makes a great sky-high hangout. At cloudM you’ll find cool cocktails, incredible views of the Tower of London, world-class contemporary art and a room buzzing with like-minded global citizens. Make sure to start your rooftop tour here, with a crisp manhattan or a fresh mojito – we won't judge you if you want to stay all night. But if you do want to venture further afield, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite rooftops, just a short stroll from all of our London hotels.
Whether you’re after a refined aperitif, a touch of glamour for after-work drinks or a pumping party, there’s a rooftop in London for every citizen.
One of the advantages of being on the south side of the River Thames is being able to take in the view of the north side – St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie and the Houses of Parliament. Just a ten minute walk from citizenM Bankside, Rumpus Room in the Mandarin Hotel serves up some of the best cocktails in London. A playful, elegant lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace for summer nights, this is a rooftop for all seasons. Parties go on late into the night.
This renovated Victorian pub and first-floor restaurant is one of our favourite spots any time of the year, but come summer their chic roof garden has everyone abuzz. The best news? It’s equidistant between our Tower of London and Shoreditch locations (a 12 minute walk from either). A green oasis in the heart of the City, it feels a million miles away from Aldgate East below. Enjoy botanical cocktails and fresh, simple dishes surrounded by vegetables and herbs from their kitchen garden and a smoking barbecue.
3.Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden
Southbank is one of the most popular spots to spend a summer evening in London taking in views of the city, street performers and foodie pop-ups. It can get crowded unless you know where to go. Less than 20 minutes walk from citizenM Bankside is the beloved Southbank Centre where you’ll find the Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden. The bar is set among wild flowers, trees, allotments and vegetable patches – it feels like an English countryside garden has been parachuted into the middle of London. For some reason, it’s a bit of a hidden gem so if anyone asks, we didn’t tell you about it.
contact40 Commercial Street
When we say that this bar and restaurant is a hop, skip and a jump away from citizenM Shoreditch, we mean it. In (literally) three minutes, you can be sipping a gin and tonic surrounded by the heady smell of citrus wafting from their Orangery. Sophisticated, stylish, and oh-so-in-demand, this is on the top of everyone’s summer London list. Make sure to make a reservation or you’ll be waiting in line.
5.Queen of Hoxton
There are sophisticated, elegant rooftop bars for a quiet after-work glass of rosé...and then there’s the Queen of Hoxton. Less than five minutes from citizenM Shoreditch, this rooftop is all about the party. It’s themed each season; summer 2017 is Bangarang, a Peter-Pan paradise of Lost Boys, pirates and mermaids. Cocktails are on the silly side, as they should be in summer. We can’t resist the boozy slushies made with Frosecco (frozen Prosecco, obvs). It’s completely kitsch and that’s why we love it. Where else can you drink shots from clamshells under the stars?
The rooftop bars in the City are great but for something special, head a little further East to Netil 360. Just a 10 minute taxi from our Shoreditch hotel, you’ll find this large roof garden dotted with bean bags, sofas and cushions, perfect for after-work sundowners. The co-working space below means that the crowd is full of arty freelancers who finish early to grab a beer and tapas from the kitchen pop-up.
There’s something luxurious about drinking on a roof; after all you are literally above it all. The Radio Rooftop bar captures that sense of glamour with white couches, an Ibiza soundtrack and exceptional 360 degree views of London. It’s a half an hour walk over the river from our Bankside location so you can work up a thirst for one of their signature cocktails. There are regular live DJ sets and an exclusive party vibe. Are you on the Strand or a yacht in Cannes? It’s easy to forget after a few gin and tonics (they have 15 different versions to try). Look sharp or you’re not getting in – they expect their guests to look as good as London’s skyline.
Want a great view of the whole city at once? You’re going to have to venture a little higher up. 38 floors exactly, on a super-speedy lift to Sushisamba, the famous Japanese-Brazilian restaurant and bar with some of the best views in the whole of London. You’ll find a mixed crowd here, especially on Friday nights, when things get raucous but their cocktails are consistently delicious. Try their version of a pisco sour, made with maraschino liqueur, yuzu and a turmeric infusion – delicious. It’s just an 11 minute walk from our Tower Bridge hotel and 15 minutes from Shoreditch.