The UK's best rooftop bars to soak up the summer sun

The clouds have parted, exams ended and summer is finally here, which means only one thing: where do I drink? Instead of flocking to the park like every other human in the country, you can pick the smarter option and head for the skies. For that, we’ve asked our friends at DesignMyNight to round up the UK’s best rooftop bars to soak up the summer sun, so you can booze in sky-high style.

Queen of Hoxton - London

Already renowned for having one of the coolest rooftop spaces in the City, Queen of Hoxton have taken it into future with their latest pop-up. Named Lost Vegas, the year is 2021 and an eco-revolution has transformed the city of sin into a plantlife paradise. But Vegas hasn’t lost its heart: you can get married in an overgrown wedding chapel (and get divorce papers from vending machines), eat meat-free food from the abandoned yellow school bus bar, or sip on their artisan cocktails. The perfect alternative if this degree stuff doesn’t work out.

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Skylight - London

Rooftop drinking in London might be one of life’s greatest pleasures, but sometimes you need just a little bit more to keep your friends entertained. Skylight is here for you, not only boasting great views in a cool, converted car park, but games like croquet and pétanque that are both super-fun and let you and your mates pretend you’re posh for a day.

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Bar Elba - London

History students will probably love this rooftop paradise: Bar Elba is named after the Mediterranean island where Napoleon was exiled with his closest allies - and when the sun’s out? You’d be forgiven for believing you were there with him. Think sunny colours, a 20-strong sweet cocktail list, frozen rosé, and the ultimate summer vibes.

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Sky Garden - London

You’ve probably heard of Sky Garden, the fancy pants bar with possibly the best views of the London skyline in the business. You probably also think it’s way outside of your student budget. Well, you’re wrong, as these rooftop maestros are hosting a series of cocktail and live music nights, where you’ll enjoy entry, spectacular visuals, and a cocktail of the day, all for £10.

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Aviary - London

Treat yourself to a night at Aviary, the London rooftop bar looking over Finsbury Square. As well as a stylish interior (and a few taxidermy birds for good measure), their south-facing terrace is incredibly impressive. Once you’ve absorbed the skyline and a few wonderfully crafted cocktails, you can sit down for some mouthwatering food too.

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Prince of Wales - London

A little less staring into the sunset, a little more party palace, the Prince of Wales is the rooftop bar you need if you want your summer days with an awesome soundtrack. Split between a club space downstairs and the open-air upstairs, they attract the likes of Norman Jay, Pied Piper, Lisa Maffia and more, all while you fuel yourself on street food and delicious, delicious rum.

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Epernay - Manchester

If you’ve managed to bag a better half through the haze of jagerbombs and dissertations, Manchester has the ultimate Champagne bar for you to schmooze together. Epernay is lit by candles and fairy lights, making it extra romantic on those summer nights, with full-length glass looking out onto Deansgate if you need to be inside. Otherwise, if the sun’s shining, their terrace is the perfect place to clink your bubbly glasses together.

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NT’s - London

NT’s is like a musical oasis in the heart of Hackney. Covered in greenery and lit moodily, it acts as both cosy hangout during the week and dance haven come the weekend. But head out onto their rooftop terrace for their real secret weapon, boasting an abundance of plant life, heaters for when it gets cold, and cool views of East London’s railways. Excellent for when you’re sipping on their tequila, bourbon, or mescal-laced cocktails.

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Bambalan - Bristol

Sure other cities have their merits, but Bristol is just so pretty. So where better to soak up those sights than at Bambalan, offering unparalleled views of the city as you drink a wonderful selection of craft beers and cocktails. If you end up feeling a bit peckish, they also have a delicious menu of fresh, healthy (and not so healthy) food.

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Black Dog Ballroom - Manchester

Every student in Manchester knows about Black Dog Ballroom, but did you know they have a sweet rooftop terrace? Half covered for when it inevitably rains, you can soak up some rays while enjoying their trademark amazing atmosphere and great beers. There’s also a projector screen there too, so you never have to miss any sporting action while boozing in the sun.

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For more info on the best rooftop bars in London and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Instagram and Twitter; @DesignMyNight.

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