It is my belief that no one is safe from the sultry charms of a truly great city-centre view. You know the kind – that perilously gorgeous, vertiginous cityscape peppered with tiny toy-town landmarks and resplendent with a horizon line so epic that it makes grown men weep into their binoculars. The one that makes you feel both enormous and so very, very small all at the same time, and actually silences you for a few seconds (before you interrupt the reverie with 20 sepia-toned Instagram shots, of course).
What could improve an experience like that? In a word: cocktails. Lots of them. Here’s our guide to the best place to grab a drink and a view in London.
Sushisamba, Heron Tower
If you’re into great views, strong drinks and lifts with an adrenaline chaser, it quite honestly doesn’t get much better than this. To reach SushiSamba, you’ll take the wonka-style glass lift up forty floors at breakneck speed, watching as London quite literally peels away underneath your feet. Luckily, you can recover from any unwelcome vertigo with a delicious cocktail, an unparalleled sake menu and a whole lotta raw fish – bag a table on the outdoor roof for a taste of the elements, samba style.
Image and website: Sushisamba
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
It’s sort of like a less pretentious Shoreditch House, which is one great reason to set up your tab here. The rest of East London thinks so too, apparently, as it’s always pretty busy – but with views like these, we’re not really surprised. It’s perched on top of the Terence Conran designed Boundary Hotel, so if all that fresh air – and the seventh house-designed cocktail later – get a bit much, you can always head downstairs for a kip (be warned though – Travel Lodge this aint – you won’t get change from £300.)
Image and website: Boundary Hotel
Radio Rooftop Bar, ME Hotel
Win some in-the-know points and take your date to the Radio Rooftop bar. Located rather glamorously on the top of Covent Garden’s ME Hotel, it’s still very much an insider secret, and its triangular shape means that you quite literally get your pick of the views – from everyone’s favourite clock Big Ben on one side to the Thames and the Shard and good old St Pauls on the other, it’s pretty special. It’s likely that you’ll find us buried under a furry throw on one of the white banquettes sipping on something sinful any day now.
Image and website: ME London
Soho isn’t exactly famed for its sense of tranquillity, which is why Sanctum Soho is probably doing big business at the moment. This fifth floor haven is an oasis of calm – think huge squishy sofas, calming music and a hydro spa. Music video-style wall to wall glass doors open onto a horticultural haven, with gorgeous views, a sundeck for sun worshippers and seats for after-work party people. Best of all? It’s open 24 hours a day!
Image and website: Sanctum Soho
The Vista at the Trafalgar
Rooftop bars generally don’t need much help in the glamour department – the whole set up is naturally tres James Bond – but this little number ups the ante anyway, with a location right on Trafalgar Square. The newly refurbished Vista Bar at the top of the Trafalgar Hotel has already caught attention for its chic decor, strong, delicious drinks and a stone-cold fox of a view – Nelson’s Column, Big Ben and the London Eye are just some of the landmarks on the menu. Expect an extensive, creative cocktail menu and great service. Ooh er.
Image and website: Vista at the Trafalgar