Just because winter is nigh, doesn't mean you can no longer enjoy an al fresco drink (or two). Here's a roundup of our favourite outdoor and rooftop pop-up bars (complete with heaters, fire pits and festive food) to warm your cockles in the winter months.
Queen of Hoxton's Skye Halla rooftop bar
We've already told you about Shoreditch's Viking themed rooftop bar in some detail, so we'll leave it at this; you can drink warm cocktails out of a Viking horn.
Skye Halla Winter Rooftop, until March. Entry may be charged, and the rooftop may occasionally close for events. Check the website before you go.
Forest on the Roof at Selfridges
Selfridge's Forest On The Roof restaurant and bar is back, overlooking Oxford Street for a sixth season.
If you're after food, make a beeline for Forest Restaurant,where British ingredients and Scottish game are central to restaurateur Des McDonald's menu. If you're just here for the booze (hey, we're not judging), The Terrace Bar has its own separate entrance and a drinks list including hot cider cocktails, gluhwein, choctails (not a typo, and definitely something we can get on board with) and good old mulled wine. Plus, you get to use the super-speedy express lift from the ground floor of the store, all the way up to the roof. Wheeee!
Forest on the Roof at Selfridges, until February
The Gardening Society at John Lewis
Just a few rooftops away on Oxford Street is The Gardening Society at John Lewis. Seasonal food comes courtesy of Scottish game and seafood experts Mac & Wild's pop-up restaurant, which is set in a winter forest. Private dining lodges are available to hire, with seasonal cocktails available from Background Bars. You can even buy a real Christmas tree on the roof if you fancy taking part of the forest home — although good luck getting your new-found arboreal friend down Oxford Street and back on the tube.
The Gardening Society at John Lewis Roof Garden, 7 November-31 December
Rekorderlig Winter Lodge at Southbank Centre
Experience winter Scandinavian-style at the Rekordelig Winter Lodge at Southbank Centre. Designed as a two-storey Scandinavian house, warming food and drink (dominated, we're guessing, by a certain brand of cider) will be served.
Rekordelig Winter Lodge, 11 November-22 January
The Gingerbread Cabin at York & Albany
In plans that sound too twee to be true, Gordon Ramsay's York & Albany in Camden is opening a Gingerbread Winter Cabin in its courtyard. Intriguing food options include venison croquettes, butternut squash soup and gingerbread man croutons, which can all be washed down with winter cocktails. You'll be provided with blankets to keep you warm, and you can even pre-order a giant gingerbread to decorate while you enjoy your wintry surroundings.
Gingerbread Winter Cabin, book in advance, from 3 November-28 February
Galvin HOP in Spitalfields is partnering with Pilsner to launch a winter garden. Adjacent to the restaurant, the Bavarian-style beer tent is available for public and private hire. The bar will feature a 250 litre copper tank serving fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, delivered weekly direct from the Czech Republic. The menu will feature bar snacks and Galvin HOP’s signature Dogs.
Lodge d'Argent at Galvin HOP, from 14 November
Montague Ski Lodge
The Montague Hotel is transforming its deck into a ski lodge complete with pine trees, falling snow and snowmen. Pick from a choice of 12 drinks at the bar, including mulled wine, flavoured vodkas and hot chocolate cocktails.
The Ski Lodge, 17 November-13 January
Lodge d'Argent at Coq d'Argent
Little Red Riding Hood is the inspiration for this year's Lodge d'Argent, the rooftop winter pop up at Coq d'Argent near Bank. Expect rustic wooden walls, fur blankets and winter greenery combining to create a fairy tale backdrop for sipping on cocktails with names such as Holly Winter, Mitten and Firewood.
The seasonal food offerings sounds pretty tasty too — anyone for raclette gratin, or waffles with hot chocolate and chantilly cream?
Lodge d'Argent, 23 November-28 February
Cresta Run at The Goring
The Goring Hotel in Belgravia celebrates the Cresta Run in St Moritz with an aprés ski themed bar, overlooking the hotel's private garden. Archive photos from the Cresta Run's history will be on display on the walls, with a selection of special cocktails available.
The Goring, 28 November-February
Pergola on the Roof at Television Centre
After a successful summer rooftop bar, Pergola on the Roof is opening a winter pop-up at Television Centre in White City. Covered by a dome, with a canopy of holly and ivy, it's a pretty weatherproof set up. Four restaurants (Snaps & Rye, Le Bab, Patty & Bun and Gunpowder) and two bars will be in residence for the season. Booking is advised, but 20% of tables are held back for walk-ups.
Pergola on the Roof Winter, 3 November-23 December
Scottish Winter Terrace at The Rib Room
The Caledonian spirit comes to Knightsbridge in the form of the Scottish Winter Terrace at RibRoom. It's the work of William Grant & Sons, the company behind whisky brands Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, and as well as cocktails, you can expect tasting events and masterclasses.
Scottish Winter Terrace, 20 November-27 January
The Tepee Snug Bar at Greenwich Peninsula
Plenty is happening at Greenwich Peninsula for Christmas, including the Tepee Snug Bar. Based on the Danish idea of Hygge, the bar is a teepee-style tent with open fires, seasonal cocktails, and a hog roast.
Tepee Snug Bar, 3-22 December
Rooftop and outdoor bars that are open throughout the winter
We've picked the above bars as they have some sort of winter theme or vibe going on. The following rooftop and outdoor bars aren't doing anything special over winter, but they'll be open nonetheless (with an abundance of patio heaters, hopefully), and probably less busy than those above:
- Pop Brixton has had a winter makeover, with a big-top tent now covering the site, plus heaters, festive decorations and lights. The event space has been transformed into a winter lounge, with the usual traders serving up their food and drink.
- The Magic Roundabout, Old Street - The bar and food stalls on top of Old Street stations are open throughout the winter.
- Kensington Roof Gardens, Kensington - You don't have to pay to visit, but it's best enjoyed with a drink
- Netil 360, Hackney - open Fridays and Saturdays from 5 November, a rooftop street food market and bar
- The Bloomsbury Club — The outdoor bar at The Bloomsbury Club is heated, and decked with fairy lights, making one of their booths the perfect place to hide out from the winter.
- Aqua Spirit - Part of Aqua Kyoto restaurant, with views over Regent Street.
- Radio Rooftop Bar - Situated on the 10th floor of ME London hotel on Strand.
- Vista at the Trafalgar - Overlooking Trafalgar Square, with a special winter cocktail menu.
- Madison - On the roof of One New Change shopping centre, with close-up views of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.
- Boundary - Raclette and fondue are on the winter menu at this Shoreditch stalwart.