The 7 hottest rooftop bars south of the river
World Best Bar
Apr 25, 2018
26 November 2020
1. Bar Elba, Waterloo
Just south of the Thames, Waterloo’s Bar Elba boasts eye-watering cityscape views. Named after Napoleon’s Mediterranean party isle, it continues the island revelry theme, drawing a varied crowd with its enticing cocktails. Summer craze Frosé, and gin-fuelled Violet Femmes are favourites, two-for-one during the 2-hour happy hour. Luckily, they serve up a chips and gravy carb fest to mop up any overindulgence.
2. Frank’s Café and Campari Bar, Peckham
You can spot the arrival of summer in Peckham by the sudden appearance of hipsters streaming down Rye Lane while bemused locals look on. From May until September, they come to sip Camparis, snack on Padron Peppers and soak in the London sun atop a 10-storey car park. Entry is free, music is live, and the immersive Bold Tendencies art exhibition is right below.
3. Bussey Rooftop Bar, Peckham
A stone’s throw away is the Bussey Rooftop Bar, offering deck chairs and open-air cinema with plenty of cocktails and craft beers to quench your thirst. Hosting the popular Taco and Tequila Tuesdays, it draws foodies, cinephiles and spirit connoisseurs alike.
4. Prince of Wales, Brixton
The least scenester-ish south London rooftop bar, the Prince of Wales is definitely the most party-oriented. On the weekends, there’s a club ambience with events that veer from hip-hop to jazz to tropical soca. And with three bars, you’re sure to find the libation your soul seeks.
5. No 32 The Old Town, Clapham
The stylish interiors and welcoming, wide-open French doors on this bar are hard to beat, but the roof terrace manages it. With views of Clapham Common and a cool no-reservations seating policy, this is a great impromptu cocktail spot. Pop by again the morning after the night before for a soothing Bloody Mary with the house-made spice mix.
6. Queen Elizabeth Roof Gardens Bar, South Bank
It’s easy to miss the yellow spirally staircase by the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It leads to this rooftop bar, a secret garden with views across the Thames. South Bank aficionados know it well and come to sip passion fruit mojitos or ice-cold beers in this wildflower and fruit tree oasis.
7. Croydon Rooftop Cinema and Bar, Croydon
Didn’t think Croydon had any cool? The Lost Format Society knows different. This super-fun pop-up appears each summer on the Centrale rooftop. Locals and out-of-towners stop by for street food from the onsite grill and craft ales at the bar. Come at sunset for the classic film screenings, or a little later for the party.
Now you know where to go, head down south and explore. Once you’ve scaled the best of the rooftops, there’s even more at ground level to keep you wandering across the river.
Photo by @clfartcafe on Instagram