Londoners are a hardy bunch, and so it takes a little more than sub-zero temperatures to force them inside. London’s rooftop bars are great in summer of course, but in the winter they transform into cosy and welcoming places to socialise, drink, and dine in the open air complete with fairy lights, outdoor heaters, fur-draped seating, and knitted blankets.
As outdoor bars in the winter months have become more popular, many venues are really upping their game and adding igloos, temporary ice rinks, and theming their rooftops to look like a Swiss chalet or winter wonderland.
Here’s our guide to Londons best rooftop bars and terraces this winter.
Savage Garden at Tower Bridge has transformed its rooftop bar into an Austrian après-ski chalet this winter. Enjoy food from a themed menu that includes pretzel with mustard, BBQ bratwurst, and cheese fondue, all washed down with a beer, cocktail or glass of champagne.
This isn’t really the place for a romantic evening for two. Entertainment on offer includes virtual reality skiing and air hockey, with a background soundtrack of Europop. The waiters will be wearing their best ski hats and ready to teach you some useful German phrases such as “I really admire your lederhosen” (‘Ich bewundere Ihre Lederhose.’)
Saturday and Sunday only until March 2020, 4pm-12am.
Floor 12, 7 Pepys St, London, EC3N 4AF
For more of an upmarket ski chalet vibe, head to the Rosewood hotel in Holborn. The Terrace bar has teamed up with Absolut Elyx to offer a menu of warming vodka-infused cocktails in surroundings inspired by southern Sweden.
The Swedish-themed vodka cocktails include Gurka Martini with douglas fir; The Nutcracker with peanut butter, winter spices, and coffee; and Swedish Glögg mulled wine.
Open 4-11pm Monday to Sunday
252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN
The ski lodge theme is obviously very popular this year, but there are other options too. Popular Shoreditch bar the Queen of Hoxton is transforming its rooftop into the Emerald City from Wizard of Oz this winter.
Follow the yellow brick road to the bar where you can order from a menu that includes hot and cold green cocktails, green beer, mulled bramble wine, and Kansas style food. There are fire pits for toasting marshmallows and a series of witch-themed events on offer throughout the winter.
4pm-10pm Monday to Saturday, and 2pm-10pm Sunday.
1-5 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London, EC2A 3JX
The famous instagrammable igloos at Coppa Club are already fully booked out until January, but luckily there are a few alternatives. If you have your heart set on enjoying a few drinks in an igloo, you won’t be disappointed with Aviary’s 10th-floor rooftop bar.
The atmosphere is decidedly cosy with hanging lanterns, sheepskin rugs, and a faux log burner. On the menu are warming cocktails, including Talisker Campfire Hot Chocolate, and comfort food such as mac and cheese croquettes with truffle mayonnaise and sticky toffee pudding.
A bronze igloo package for £250 includes your own private igloo for 90 minutes, a cocktail and gourmet snacks for each guest, and a £100 bar tab.
Open 6.30am-12am Monday to Friday, 7am-12am Saturday, and 7am-11pm Sunday.
Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1DX
Madison London has transformed its penthouse terrace bar into an enchanted wood this winter. Enjoy the city views over St Pauls surrounded by trees lit up with fairy lights, and your very own lodge for 2 to 20 complete with cushions, blankets, and hot water bottles.
Madison has partnered with Belvedere to offer a limited edition seasonal cocktail menu with drinks on offer including the Snowdrop (Mancino Bianco Ambrato, Belvedere Vodka, Elderflower and Moët & Chandon) and Drop It Like It’s Hot (Hennessy Very Special, Camomile Liquor Quaglia, Italicus, Lemon and Chamomile Tea).
A chalet experience for two includes one bottle of Moet & Chandon, a chalet selection box of hot snacks, and two chocolate delight cocktails for £100.
Open 12-2.45pm and 5-10.45pm Monday to Friday, 12-10.45pm Saturday, and 12-7.30pm Sunday.
Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, London, EC4M 9AF