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London's coolest rooftop drinking spots

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One of London's biggest buzzwords as soon as the sun is shining? Rooftops, of course. When the clock strikes 5pm in those summer months, it's a mad dash to the nearest rooftop bar.

What could be more enjoyable than spending an evening looking out over unparalleled views across the capital with cocktail in hand? And with the addition of towering buildings to London's skyline, it seems the only way is up for switched-on Londoners.

We asked Hirespace venue expert Laura Richards for some seriously cool rooftop spots, so that you're perfectly primed for the mad dash just as soon as that rumoured heatwave hits.

Duck and waffle

What we love about this 40-storey skyscraper bar – along with almost everything of course - is the city style opening times. They welcome guests for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks 24/7.

One of the best places for sunset drinks in the capital - bookings are available in the bar and booking in advance is highly recommended.

Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle

The Rooftop Cafe at The Exchange, London Bridge

Looking for an intimate tête-à-tête? You'll be hard-pushed on London's in demand rooftop terraces, unless you book a table at The Rooftop Cafe at The Exchange. If The Shard is a bit too extravagant, this neighbouring London Bridge cafe should do just as good a job at dishing up views to go with a menu of modern European food from head chef Magnus Reid. After dinner, you can wander out onto the terrace, making this a bit of a south London sanctuary.

THE ROOFTOP CAFE AT THE EXCHANGE, LONDON BRIDGE

SkyLounge, Tower of London

Overlooking South London's iconic skyline, the DoubleTree Hilton's impressive drinks deck will go all US East Coast from May to September, with the Nantucket Beach Club. Shoot up to the 12th floor sanctuary for fish at its most delicious - lobster mac 'n cheese, clam chowder and seafood buckets - while drinks include Cape Codder Ale and vodka slushies.

Sky Lounge

Frank's Cafe, Peckham

If you have your fingers on the pulse of London, you're probably fully aware of Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar at the top of a Peckham multi-storey carpark. But many people are blissfully unaware of the other functions performed by this prime south east rooftop spot, Bold Tendencies Car Park. The space now acts as more of an arts hub, meaning there's likely to be even more cool cats flocking here once the bar opens again in June.

Bold Tendencies Car Park, Peckham

On the Roof with Vintage Salt at Selfridges

Inspired by a Cornish fishing village and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street (in reality just a lift ride) The Drift Bar is kitted out with nautical ropes, wooden beach huts and deck chairs, a perfect place to enjoy chilled reds, rose, white wine and champagne from the dedicated G&Tea bar or a tipple from the special sundowners menu - our favourite is the Basil Berry Brew with vodka, Aperol, fresh strawberry, basil, lemon juice. Perfect for watching the sun go down. To help soak that up the lobster buttie with truffled fries is more than up to the job.

On the Roof with Vintage Salt at Selfridges

On the Roof with Vintage Salt at Selfridges

Dalston Roof Park

Described as a urban utopian oasis and on top of four floors this is basically a park on a roof with amazing views across the East London skyline with a revolving menu of delectable Bootstrap brews. So either pull up a plastic chair or find a nice grassy spot to relax on – it’s perfect for groups of friends looking for a fun evening in the sunshine.

The bar plays host to a range of free music, movie and lifestyle events throughout the summer; check their Facebook page for listings.

Dalston Roof Park

Dalston Roof Park

South Bank Centre

Soak up some of the best riverside views in the capital in the the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden. As enticing for lunch as it is after-work drinks, the space is kept pretty by volunteer gardeners who keep it topped up with beautiful fruit trees and wild flowers. Open from 10am-10pm in the summer, you're treated to the best of both worlds - a country garden overlooking the vibrant London skyline.

Southbank

Mondrian, Blackfriars

For a slightly more 'fancy' South Bank rooftop tipple, there's the new kid on the block, Mondrian. Open in December 2014, the venue contrasts its outdoor floor-to-ceiling glass and wooden floors with opulent velvet and gold accents inside. Mixologist Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana, who first shook up (sorry) the Hoxton cocktail scene with his brand of "scientific" drinks, is overseeing the drinks menu with signature mixes involving vegetals, minerals, cereals and florals. Which taste much better than they sound.

Mondrian

Bird of Smithfield

A sun-trapping roof terrace atop a Georgian terrace overlooking Smithfield Market, this is one of those dinner-til-dawn venues you'll talk about for weeks afterwards. Relaxed, yet buzzing with a vibe of exclusivity, the decor is sleek and pared-back with a smattering of magical fairy lights. The cocktails are original and stylish and Alan Bird, formerly of The Ivy and Soho House Group, is the chef/owner, so the food is spectacular. Fun fact: it's the first venue to serve British farmed caviar.

Bird of Smithfield

Radio Rooftop Bar - ME London Hotel

Lounge around on huge comfy swivel seats in front of a cosy fire pit to enjoy the best angles of Tower Bridge, the Shard and Saint Paul’s from the the 10th floor of the ME London Hotel. Nibble on tapas and sip luxury cocktails as you enjoy the buzz from hip crowd and of course, the music. The venue's name is a nod to the building's heritage, with the first radio broadcast taking place from there in 1922.

Radio Rooftop Bar – ME London Hotel

Boundary, Shoreditch

The Boundary is no slave to the temperamental British summer, it opens daily from noon all year round, calling time on rooftop drinks at 11.30pm. With a design overseen by the great Terence Conran, we're impressed if not particularly surprised that decor includes 100-year-old olive trees, a walk-in humidor shipped from Cuba, grape vines and a wood-burning fireplace.

Boundary

Queen of Hoxton

What it lacks in greenery, Shoreditch more than makes up for in roof terraces. The Queen of Hoxton does a fun, beachy take, with barbecues and decent DJs. In winter, the deckchairs and breezy cocktails are replaced with a giant heated wigwam and hot buttered rum.

Queen of Hoxton

Coq d'Argent, Bank

Unwind with City suits at the peak of the gothic-looking No.1 Poultry building, which offers stunning views of the famous financial district. After being whizzed up in a glass elevator, guests make their way to an immaculate terrace surrounding the swish restaurant. Whisky cocktails, fine wine and - of course - bubbles, are all favourites here. Thoughtful outdoor throws, in case it gets chilly, are a nice touch.

Coq d'Argent

Ham Yard Hotel, Soho

A year-round oasis surrounded by fruit and olive trees, as well as fragrant herb and vegetable gardens, this boutique hotel grows and serves the produce it grows on its idyllic terrace. That all this is towering above Soho only make the leafy venue more impressive - but Ham Yard was once upon a time the rock 'n roll heartbeat of Soho, with the Rolling Stones and The Who gigging there in their '60s heyday.

Ham Yard Hotel

Sky Garden, Monument

Housed on the 35th floor of the controversial 'Walkie Talkie' building, the Sky Garden claims to be the Capital's highest public garden and boasts unparalleled views of the City. Despite being compared to an airport terminal by The Guardian, there is a 360 degree vista and stunning landscaped gardens. Head to the Sky Pod bar for nose-bleeding cocktails - in more than one sense of the word.

sky garden

Baden Powell House Roof Terrace, Kensington

Anyone for ping pong? We thought there'd be a few takers. Ideal for a staff outing or birthday celebration, this private roof terrace near Gloucester Road station has table tennis, ample seating and space for up to 200 guests. And it's available at a low rate, making it quite a viable option for you and your pals should the crowds at those famous rooftop bars be too much to take on.

Baden Powell-House

Sushi Samba, Bishopsgate

It has been at the top of every hipster food list since its grand opening three years ago, but Sushi Samba is much more than just a trendy venue. Taking a prime spot near the top of the imposing Heron Tower, the phenomenal views are matched by the complex fusion menu that perfectly balances a plethora of flavours and textures. But - the views. If it's only these and the delicious cocktails that you visit for, it's worth the trip.

Sushi Samba

Aqua Spirit, Regent Street

Dizzying heights, delicious cocktails and ultra-glamorous decor well into the early hours  - a trip to Aqua Spirit will make you feel like an extra in a Bond film (Daniel Craig-era). Inside, the sleek, circular bar is definitely worth propping up before you head outside for sweeping views of Regent Street and beyond.

Aqua Spirit

The Roof Terrace, One New Change, St Paul's

Yes, it's a roof terrace inside a shopping centre, but this is a pretty high-end shopping centre in the heart of the financial district. A buzzy bar with sun-soaked views of St Paul's, you'll mingle with City workers and groups who've headed in from out of town. There arealso  occasional outdoor cinema viewings on milder evenings. Get there early or expect to queue - although besuited staff have been known to hand out ice pops to patient guests.

One New Change

Big Chill House, King's Cross

Yes! There is a roof terrace bar near the famous train station. Dubbed a 'taste of Shoreditch,' this a is a bright, fun Victorian pub venue with a selection of different floors to suit your mood, from pumping beats in the basement to relaxed, festival vibes on the roof, with the year-round terrace altering its theme every summer.

Big Chill House

Big Chill House

For more rooftop inspiration, head to Hirespace.com

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