Ten of the UK’s most impressive rooftop bars and restaurants
Enjoy fine dining and spectacular views at these sky-high outlets
When it comes to drinking and dining amongst the clouds, the UK showcases an A-to-Z list of cuisines, with influences from across the globe.
With summer fast approaching, DesignMyNight has rounded up the best rooftop restaurants and bars worth visiting, including brand new openings and reliable industry favourites.
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The Standard Rooftop
The Standard Hotel - which is known for its distinct and loud design - unveiled a brand new rooftop in recent weeks, making it the newest addition to eating and drinking in King’s Cross. It takes inspiration from the hotel’s New York roots as it offers up advantageous views of the St Pancras Clock Tower. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, it promises a relaxed “festival-like” atmosphere and a menu of three bottled cocktails (spicy Tommy’s margarita, elderflower collins and rum punch) supplied by Black Lines cocktails.
London’s hospitality scene was in complete hibernation, but has burst back into life since England’s partial reopening on 12 April. Bringing a whole new host of venues to all corners of the city, one of the newest additions to the capital resides atop the Leonardo Royal Hotel. You’ll find Sabine situated on the seventh floor and the weather-ready venue has a retractable roof, ensuring an enjoyable visit, no matter the forecast. It plates up unbeatable views of Sir Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral and the menu focuses on seasonal produce.
Pre-pandemic 14 Hills was confined to the great indoors but has since reopened with a brand new 14th floor alfresco terrace that seats up to 50 people. Designed with large trees and tropical interiors, its restaurant has been dubbed “a floating forest in the sky”. Iconic landmarks can be seen from various tables including Tower Bridge, The Shard and Tower of London, and it’s quickly become one of London’s most sought-after rooftops. The British produce on the menu comes with a French twist and it has an impressive cocktail menu with signatures going the extra mile thanks to fat-washed whiskey and pea-infused vodkas.
D&D group is responsible for some of England’s most luxurious and high-end restaurants and 20 Stories is one of its most impressive in the north west. Split between a rooftop terrace, restaurant and cocktail bar, this top floor oasis caters for every kind of occasion, whether it be an anniversary, celebration or a couple of well deserved drinks after work. The menus available are extensive, with a la carte, brunch, light snacks (all using locally sourced ingredients) and all manner of drinks, from classic cocktails to dessert wine.
Sky Garden is one of London’s greatest treasures, nestled atop the “Walkie Talkie” building on Fenchurch Street. The garden, which is forested with endless varieties of flora and fauna, is one of the highest in Europe, giving anyone who’s brave enough to travel up to level 43, 360 degree vistas of the city. More than one million people visit the venue each year and it’s not hard to understand why. Live DJ sets are scheduled throughout the week and there are a handful of award-winning restaurants, including Darwin Brasserie.
Issho is a rooftop Japanese restaurant in Leeds offering a contemporary twist on traditional Izakaya dining. Spread across an outdoor terrace, Kori bar and indoor restaurant, the interiors are completely pared back with natural lighting from floor-to-ceiling windows highlighting its minimalistic features. The drinks menu zones in on a specialist selection of premium sake, with the cocktail list inspired by Japanese sites, culture and events.
The Rooftop St James
Trafalgar Square, like every major tourist destination in London, is usually flooded with people. To catch a glimpse of it you need to brave the waves of bodies coming from all directions, but not if you know about The Rooftop St James. This skyward hideaway offers itself up as a safe haven from the bustling streets below, so you can enjoy one of the capital’s busiest areas without rubbing shoulders with strangers, all while you have a drink in hand. Table 13 in The Gallery is by far the best seat in the house and the menu, depending on what season you visit in, rotates to ensure only the best is plated up on the marble-topped tables.
Manchester is short on rooftop bars and restaurants but for what the city lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Located in Deansgate on the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower, Cloud 23 boasts panoramic views stretching as far as the eye can see. Its current food menu takes inspiration from Hawaii with a small but tasty selection of poke bowls and nibbles including handmade gyozas and Katsu strips. The drinks menu is simmered down to classics and signatures, with some non-alcoholic seltzers for those who are tee-total but it’s the champagne collection that will make you sit up and take note.
The team behind SushiSamba have revealed plans to expand their global empire to Edinburgh, opening a new restaurant in 2022. Not many intricate details have been revealed but like its sister in Bishopsgate, it will have an outdoor terrace. Located on the 38th and 39th floor of Heron Tower, the current SushiSamba in London offers unparalleled 360 degree views of the city and the west terrace is one of the highest dining terraces in Europe. With a menu pulling fierce flavours and cooking techniques from Japan, Brazil and Peru, it’s been one of the UK’s leading rooftops since it opened ten years ago.
Marco Pierre White Restaurant & Grill
Soak up panoramic views of Birmingham’s skyline with a trip to Marco Pierre White Restaurant & Grill. Located in the epicentre of the city on the 25th floor of The Cube, this rooftop restaurant is busy every night of the week. It has a reputation as one of the best steakhouses in the city centre and the team have recently announced a new midweek offer. Every Thursday diners can look forward to steak, chips, piccolo tomatoes with delicious béarnaise sauce and a glass of Jean-Luc Columbo wine or a pint of draught beer for £19.95.