The Rooftop St. James
Certified World's Best Bar
Feb 21, 2019
The hotel recently had a swanky revamp, and now boasts a fancy retractable roof, to turn the space instantly alfresco on sunny days. By far the best seats in the house are those in the front, with a stunning panorama of key London landmarks, from a bird’s eye view of Trafalgar Square (surprise!), to the London Eye and The Shard. You’ll need a stiff drink and a thick skin to brave it in the depths of the winter, (although there are cosy blankets and heaters on hand). If you can steal the company credit card, go ahead and nab the dreamy private dining room with its wall-to-wall windows, fitting 25 of your gang in it.
Be warned though, during the colder months, there are very, very limited seats available with that epic skyline, and if there’s no space, you’ll be seated in the inside section of the bar, which is very underwhelming in comparison, a long, nondescript room with a rather corporate vibe, with drab grey tables and chairs – you’d be better off downstairs in the hotel bar. Although the place comes to life more in the summer when the roof opens up, in the winter, the views still remain more obscured (we’re yearning a bit for the expansive 360-degree view that was here before the refurb).
Enjoy your cocktail outside and you’ll be satisfied with the costly rooftop tax on the drinks, but if you’re stuck in that back room with a view of a white wall, your eyes will water at the price – starting at £15 a pop for the signature cocktails. There are clear winners and losers at this bar. Just make sure you’re the former, book well in advance (bring a thick jacket), and you’re all good to go.