13 rooftop bars and restaurants to soak up the sun in the UK
Enjoy fine dining, cocktails and spectacular views this summer
Goodness Gracious Roof Garden and Bar
Located on the eighth floor of West Africa House, OH ME OH MY café’s Goodness Gracious Roof Garden and Bar boasts unrivalled views of Liverpool’s iconic “Three Graces” – The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.
Open from 12pm till late Wednesday to Sunday, Goodness Gracious is a “real sun trap”, and on a fine day, this is “pretty much the place to be” in Liverpool, said the Rooftop Guide. On Wednesday to Friday between 12pm and 3pm, customers can enjoy a Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Sky (£33.50) which is served on the roof garden. Booking in advance is essential. At the weekend, only drinks are available.
The Bar at Wagtail
A new 360-degree rooftop bar and restaurant opens its doors in London in May. With a backdrop of the City’s most iconic landmarks including London Bridge, The Shard, Tower Bridge and St Paul’s, the Wagtail Rooftop Bar & Restaurant is a redevelopment of the former House of Fraser Monument.
The venue will feature three distinctive areas. Downstairs will host the Restaurant and Terrace at Wagtail, while in the grand cupola, the intimate Wagtail Private Dining Room will provide a bird’s eye view of the River Thames. The big attraction though will be The Bar at Wagtail. This rooftop terrace will offer stunning views of the City and guests can enjoy delectable small plates. Led by executive chef Phil Kearsey and bar manager Angelos Bafas, Wagtail’s menus will showcase the very best of each season’s ingredients.
The Dorchester Rooftop
After its successful launch last year, The Dorchester Rooftop returns for 2022 and has been transformed into a speakeasy-style pop-up bar and lounge. With the hotel undergoing renovations, the team from The Bar, led by Giuliano Morandin and Lucia Montanelli, kicked off the rooftop reopening with seasonal cocktails being mixed up on the ninth-floor hangout. Open daily, the rooftop will feature artwork, live music and breathtaking views across Hyde Park and Mayfair.
In May, Michelin-starred Jean-Philippe Blondet, executive chef de cuisine at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, starts a summer-long residency. Inspired by flavours of the Mediterranean, he presents seasonal, flavoursome dishes with a creative twist. Other chef residencies and culinary pop-ups include a British summertime menu by Tom Booton and The Grill; Sri Lankan dishes by Mario Perera; and the Polo Lounge at sister property, The Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Standard Rooftop
The Standard Hotel – which is known for its distinct and loud design – unveiled a brand new rooftop last year, 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.
One of the recent additions to London’s hospitality scene 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 it 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 in Manchester 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, one of London’s greatest treasures, is 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 at The Trafalgar 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 at The Trafalgar St. James hotel.
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. Visitors can enjoy craft beers, gins and classic cocktails while taking in the views of the Manchester skyline. An afternoon tea is also on the menu, which can be upgraded to include free-flowing champagne…
Located on the 38th and 39th floors of Heron Tower, 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 menu includes classic steak dishes, a luxurious afternoon tea, Sunday roasts and 2-4-1 cocktails.