The best views of London are the ones peppered with sights of historic monuments—Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace—alongside modern marvels, like The London Eye, The Gherkin, and the newly opened Shard. The skyline’s contrast of old and new architecture is a stunning view all on its own, but trust us, it looks even better with a drink in your hand. The Brits are certainly fans of a cocktail, and during the summer months, it’s hard to move past the pubs where people gather outside clutching their pints. But this year, climb above the clouds and take in the best sights London has to offer. While you’re at it, kick back with the most popular drink in town: a gin and tonic. London is, after all, the gin capital of the world. With good drinks, and even better vistas, these are London’s top bars with a view.
Atrium Bar at Aqua Shard
This year, Londoners have been tripping over themselves to get “up The Shard,” London’s latest high-rise venture (currently the tallest building in Western Europe) to the Atrium Bar. A specialty tea-based, but alcoholic, drink paired with a 360-degree sunset view from the 31st floor is not to be beat.
Galvin at Windows
With a 360-degree view of London and a particularly a nice sight line into the Queen’s 42-acre garden behind Buckingham Palace, the Galvin at Windows bar has a very 1930’s Agatha Christie feel. The menu specializes in barrel-aged cocktails like The Indulgence, which features Yamazaki whiskey, Mandarin Napoleon, and cacao liqueur. They call the drink “sumptuous”—we call it strong.
So new it’s sparkling—and not with rain one hopes, the Radio Rooftop bar at the ME Hotel has an outdoor terrace and conveniently, an indoor bar (not that we are obsessed with the weather). A rich, hip crowd frequents the tenth-floor space with a 3 a.m.-late license on weekends and stunning views of Covent Garden, St. Paul’s, and the Houses of Parliament.
This year, the bar at the Golden Coq, that’d be the translation from French for the name of this acclaimed restaurant, is being transformed into a beautiful French Riviera-inspired oasis called Yacht d’Argent (translation: golden yacht). Why? To evoke the summer scene of the lavish super yachts moored along the French Riviera. Mais oui!
The Oxo Tower
One of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in London, the OXO Tower used to be owned by one of the largest meat traders in the UK. He made stock cubes called OXO and created stained glass towers of the logo over the Thames. Now re-developed as a mixed-use building, the tower houses a bar with a lively atmosphere for the 30-and-over set.