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.
The Emerald City at Queen of Hoxton
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Have you ever imagined an emerald city? We had the chance to photograph one! This is Emerald City at @queenofhoxtonldn where they serve incredible cocktails and delicious food! And they have fire pits and a big cosy tipi where you can enjoy a nice mulled wine with your friends.. We loved the decorations! . . . #eventphotography #eventphoto #eventphotographer #eventlondon #eventslondon #londonphotography #brightonphotography #brightonphotographer #brightonphotographersgroup #emerald #cocktails #queenofhoxton #lifestylephotography #lifestylephotographer #nightphotography #comercialphotography
We’re not in Hoxton anymore, Toto, at the Kansas themed cosy rooftop Wigwam popping up at The Queen of Hoxton. Follow the yellow brick road to the dreamy emerald green themed roof complete with fire pits for marshmallow toasting, Kansas style soul food and bright jewel toned bellinis.
The Emerald City rooftop, Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX. Free entry, although the rooftop may occasionally close for events. Check the website before you go. Open until April.
alto by San Carlo at Selfridges
Selfridges' rooftop restaurant and bar has changed hands a few times over the years, but the wintry welcome and amazing views overlooking Oxford Street remain a permanent feature.
This rooftop oasis is open year-round, but from October a winter wonderland emerges complete with fairy light strewn Christmas walkway — an Instagrammer's dream. If you're after food, Italian produce and fresh ingredients take centre stage. Or simply wrap up warm with a festive cocktail in hand on the al fresco terrace. 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!
alto by San Carlo, The Rooftop, Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
The Winter Carnival at John Lewis
Just a few rooftops away from Selfridges is The Winter Carnival at John Lewis. Seasonal food comes courtesy of pop-up maestro Jimmy Garcia and includes Americana style corn dogs, burgers and popcorn chicken. Private dining cabins aka Carnival Houses are available to hire for an hour and a half (min spend applies) and each boast a different theme: House of Mirrors, House of Fortune etc. for you to enjoy your boozy winter warmers in — ours is a Somerset brandy and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur spiked Tipsy Hot Chocolate thank you. It's the ultimate winter hideaway, with seasonal cocktails available from gin maestros Sipsmith. They’ve swapped the ice rink for curling this year, bookable here.
The Winter Carnival, John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX. Until 5 January 2020
Jimmy's Lodge at Southbank Centre
Winter pop-up Jimmy's Lodge is making a return to London's South Bank this winter. Admire views of the Thames with a steaming drink in hand from the riverside lodge, abate your hunger at the upstairs dining room, or settle down for a cosy evening in one of their much-loved private snow globes (be warned, they do carry a minimum spend of £600). It's all Alpine-themed so expect oozy fondues, sizzling steaks and warming cocktails courtesy of Martin Miller's Gin, ranging from traditional mulled wine to the more adventurous hot apple mojito.
Jimmy's Lodge, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Throughout December
The Circus Bar at Southbank Centre
Just a few minutes' walk away, Southbank Centre offers yet another cosy Christmas contender. The Circus Bar sits in a charming tent out the front of Royal Festival Hall, kept warm by fire pits, Christmas cheer and an endless supply of spiced winter warmer drinks and filled sandwiches, hot from the oven.
The Circus Bar, Level 2, Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Until 27 December 2019
Skylight Rooftop at Tobacco Dock
As Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves says, "Once upon a time all we asked of our rooftop winter bars were some pleasing views and a warm cocktail or two to keep the frostbite at bay. Now it's all themed decor, hidden entrances, guest residencies and, in the case of Tobacco Dock, a full-blown rooftop ice rink."
Yes, Skylight Rooftop has a hidden ace up its sleeve in the form of a decent-sized ice rink with views over east London and across to The Shard. And that's not all. Rent an igloo, try your hand at ice hockey, sup a rum punch sharing pitcher and get stuck into some Greek fast food or book their bottomless prosecco brunch every Sunday in December.
Skylight Rooftop at Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street Car Park, E1W 2SF. Until the end of January 2020
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A riverside beach known as Neverland during the summer months, when winter closes in, Winterland's Alpine Club comes to the fore. Then it's goodbye deckchairs and hello chairlifts as the space transforms into an outdoor ski resort complete with activities, hot tub(!), cosy fire pits and bars aplenty. In between belting your heart out in a karaoke booth or showing off your 'sporty' side at the beer-pong tables, head to the bar and get a Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini. Tastes likes childhood, and keeps you partying long into the night.
Winterland, Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY. Until 29 February 2020
The Gingerbread Cabin at York & Albany
In plans that sound too twee to be true, Gordon Ramsay's York & Albany restaurant in Camden has a Gingerbread Winter Cabin in its courtyard. The Gingerbread Cabin boasts its own menu this year comprising savoury canapes like pigs in blankets, pumpkin soup shots and festive doughnuts all washed down with a Chambord mulled wine for £30pp. You're provided with blankets to keep you warm, candy canes to keep you sweet, and you can even pre-order a giant gingerbread to decorate while you enjoy your wintry surroundings.
Gingerbread Winter Cabin at York & Albany, 127-129 Parkway, NW1 7PS. Book in advance. Until February 2019
Winter Terrace at Churchill Bar & Terrace
The Churchill Bar and Terrace is always a swell spot for an al fresco cocktail whatever the weather, and this winter they’ve made it into a classy affair with pine trees, roaring fires, faux fur throws and a new cocktail menu paying homage to the great man himself. The Shades of Churchill menu allows you to match cocktails like The Aristocrat or The Gardener with food pairings like extremely fancy jacket potato and beans (there’s a foam involved) or roasted carrot arancini.
Churchill Bar & Terrace, 30 Portman Square, W1H 7BH
The Winter Forest at Broadgate Circle
Tucked around the back of busy Liverpool Street station, there's a very merry surprise waiting for you in the form of 300 snow-capped pine trees at Broadgate's Winter Forest. Live music, craft sessions, quiz nights and even a few visits from Father Christmas himself occur throughout the festive months, so there's plenty to do in between supping hot toddys at the resident bar, Mrs Fogg's Winter Terrace. Swing by on a Wednesday evening and you may even be treated to a Christmas carol singalong.
The Winter Forest, Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS. Until 20 December 2019
SFG at Roof East, Stratford Centre
Busy shopping centres are usually the stuff of Christmas nightmares, but the ski lodge pop-up atop Stratford Shopping Centre is a dream come true. Yes, there are hot cocktails. Yes, there are private-hire igloos. Yes, there are street food stalls from Jimmy's Lodge. But you also want to come here for the opportunity to curl, the sport everyone gets transfixed watching every four years during the Winter Olympics. There's VR football, crazy gold, musical bingo and Wednesday quizzes too.
Roof East, Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE. Until 20 December 2019
Montague Ski Lodge
The Montague Hotel in Bloomsbury is transforming its deck into a ski lodge complete with pine trees, falling snow and snowmen. There's Schanpps, woolly rugs, mulled wine and a fire: you know what to do.
The Ski Lodge at The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, WC1B 5BJ. Until 5 January 2020
Lodge d'Argent at Coq d'Argent
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Celebrate Christmas with us and book a festive cheese experience in one of our Lodge d’Argent chalets or hire our private heated terrace for your Christmas party for up to 100 guests 🎄🥂🧀 Link in bio 📸 @gokican . . . #christmasparty #christmas #christmaspartyideas #workchristmasparty #workchristmasdinner #workchristmaslunch #winterpopup #chalet #popup #londonpopup #privatechalet #winterlodge #winter #events #event #privatehire #privatehirelondon #christmasinlondon #lodgedargent #coqdargent #heatedchalet #chaletlife #chaletlifestyle #workparty #staffparty #exclusivehire #privateevent #hennessy
'Ski resort glamour' is the promised 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 Hennessy cocktails with names such as Avalanche, Alpine Berries and Carthusian Monk.
The seasonal food offerings sounds pretty tasty too — anyone for raclette gratin, or waffles with hot chocolate and chantilly cream?
Lodge d'Argent at Coq d'Argent, No.1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ. Until end of February 2020
The Igloos at Coppa Club
These pop-up festive igloos next to Tower Bridge have made a reliable appearance alongside the banks of the River Thames for the past few years, and therefore can justifiably be held responsible for kickstarting the winter igloo craze. Both drinking and dining can be enjoyed inside these transparent domes, with unrivalled views of the Thames, Tower Bridge and The Shard. They are extremely popular and bookings must be made in advance.
The Igloos at Coppa Club, 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6AH. Until 31 January 2020
Pergola on the Roof, Paddington and Olympia London
This Christmas season, Londoners are spoiled with not just one, but two Pergolas on the Roof. Now open in both Paddington and Olympia London, these rooftop oases are capitalising on their summer successes by turning their al fresco spaces into warming winter wonderlands. Boasting roof coverings and pumped full of heating, both venues are fine choices whatever the weather. You won't go hungry or thirsty either — both feature their own in-house bar plus a number of pop-up restaurants ranging from crab rolls to pizza, Vietnamese buns to French classics. Booking is advised, but 20% of tables are held back for walk-ups.
Pergola on the Roof Winter at Pergola Paddington, 5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY and Pergola London Olympia, Level 5 Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way, W14 8UX. Until Christmas 2019
Winter is Coming at Radio Rooftop ME London
This season Radio Rooftop’s terraces have been transformed into Alpine-style winter hideaways serving cocktails we can't wait to quaff — Apres Ski Martini featuring Manchego anyone? Located on the 10th floor, Radio Rooftop always boasts quality views from its location just off the Strand, but this winter you can enjoy the sweeping Thames and skyline views from an Alpine-inspired lodge complete with faux-fur throws and flickering lanterns and sharing platters of charcuterie.
Winter is Coming, Radio Rooftop at ME London Hotel, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA. Until the end of February 2020
The Enchanted Woods at Madison
One New Change plays host to Madison’s Enchanted Woods rooftop pop-up this season where Belvedere have created a bespoke menu of hot and cold cocktails to be enjoyed in fairy tale surroundings. Take in the breathtaking views of nearby St Paul's while supping on a Snowdrop (Mancino Bianco Ambrato, Belvedere, elderflower, Moet & Chandon) or a Guilty Pleasure (Hennessy Very Special, coffee, coconut liqueur, Frangelico, vanilla and cream).
The Enchanted Woods, Madison, One New Change Rooftop Terrace, EC4M 9AF. Until 31 January 2020
The Chronicles of the County Arms, Wandsworth
The Chronicles of The County Arms features an enchanted winter wonderland inspired by classic tales for your festive enjoyment. Tip-toe through the 'wardrobe' into the heated garden, which has been transformed into a snow-filled winter forest. Think frost-covered pine trees, snow-topped tables, fairy lights, faux fur blankets and a pop-up Guilty Pleasure Bar where Hayman’s Hot Gin and Glenlivet toddies await. Food-wise there are winter warmers like slow braised rib of beef hot pot and the ubiquitous fondue to keep both hunger and cold at bay.
The Chronicles of the County Arms, County Arms, 345 Trinity Road, Wandsworth, SW18 3SH
12th Knots Rosé on the Roof at Sea Containers
Sea Containers is never not fun, but even more so this winter with their new seasonal terrace at rooftop bar 12th Knot. The terrace is a cosy winter hideaway complete with twinkling Arctic lights, plenty of millennial pink and stunning views of the Thames and St Paul’s. The terrace is bedecked with cushions and blankets necessary for the chilly nights ahead and features a range of delicious champagne cocktails to be sipped under the stars. The terrace takes walk-ins or you can reserve via email (closed Sunday and Mondays).
Rosé on the Roof at 12th Knot, Sea Containers, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD. Until 5 January 2020
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 — the outdoor marketplace gets a little bit cosier for Christmas, with heaters, festive decorations and lights. The event space boasts all manner of food and drink traders, so whether it's raclette, jerk chicken or chocolate waffles that gets your festive vote, you'll find it here.
- Netil 360, Hackney — open Fridays and Saturdays throughout winter, with a fully-stocked rooftop bar and rotating food pop-ups.
- The Bloomsbury Club — The outdoor bar at The Bloomsbury Club is heated, and decked with fairy lights, making one of its booths the perfect place to hide out from the winter.
- Aqua Spirit — Part of Aqua Kyoto restaurant, with views over Regent Street.
- The Rooftop at The Trafalgar St. James — Overlooking Trafalgar Square, with a special winter cocktail menu.
- Boundary — Raclette and fondue are on the winter menu at this Shoreditch stalwart.
- Big Chill King's Cross — Big Chill is simply a rooftop spot to eat, drink and be merry. The cocktail list isn't huge but who gives a flying fir tree. It's reasonably priced and there are local beers on the menu.