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Best London outdoor restaurants and bars

The Decanter team share some their favourite London outdoor hotspots, from hidden gardens to rooftop bars and riverside views...

Whilst restaurants and bars are no longer limited to only doing outdoor service as part of coronavirus restrictions, enjoying good food and wine outdoors in the summer is a joy. Members of the Decanter team share their favourite London outdoor restaurants and bars, ideal for a great glass of wine.

18 of the best London outdoor restaurants and bars

Antidote

Situated just off glamorous and bustling Carnaby Street, Antidote is a relaxed wine bar and restaurant across two floors. Their wine list is extensive and made up exclusively of organic and biodynamic wines. There’s a strong focus on France and you can often find interesting wines and older vintages peppered throughout the list. The cheese boards are to die for and along with charcuterie and small plates will help soak up the second or third bottle. Natalie Earl

  • 12A Newburgh St, Carnaby, London W1F 7RR
  • Tel: 020 7287 8488

Barge East, Hackney

Enjoy canal side views in Hackney on a converted narrowboat at Barge East – there’s both outdoor seating on the barge itself or at riverside picnic tables. Local beers, lovely staff and great food – go on a Sunday for the great value two courses for £22 or three for £27. Choices include chorizo and pork Scotch egg with aioli and pea cress, followed by beef rib, miso and honey-roasted carrot, with purple sprouting broccolini and parsnip purée (and roast potatoes, of course). Follow up with a two minute walk to the other side of the canal for a beer at Crate Brewery. Ellie Douglas

  • Whitepost Lane, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN
  • Tel: 020 3026 2807

outdoor restaurants London

Barge East. Credit: Ellie Douglas / Decanter

Boisdale, Belgravia & Canary Wharf

If you’re in search of a chance to sample fine wines in an outdoor setting, then look to Boisdale restaurants. Natasha Hughes MW gives Boisdale ‘honourable mentions’ in her guide to the best Bordeaux wine lists in London and at the Belgravia branch you can get the likes of Mt Brave, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Chateau Giscours 2012 and Tignanello 2009 by the glass (from the Coravin). To eat, aged Scottish beef is the draw here; try a steak, a burger or a classic beef Wellington. ED

  • 15 Eccleston Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 9LX
  • Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4QT

Claridge’s Bar terrace, Mayfair

One of the must-visit destinations in Decanter’s guide to luxury London Champagne bars, the Champagne list here is a who’s who of producers, ranging from grand marques such as Veuve Clicquot to smaller names like Bruno Paillard. Watch the world go by from the terrace of the bar – though be sure to take a peek at the art deco setting of the rest of the bar while you’re there. Excellent Champagne cocktails too – try The Flapper, a signature mix of Champagne, fresh strawberries and crème de cassis. Julie Sheppard

  • Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
  • Tel: 020 7107 8835

Flat Iron Square, London Bridge

There’s something to please everyone here, from Thai food to fried chicken, Lebanese style salads to dumplings – plus Tap & Bottle, its wine bar. Live sports are shown on screens in the summer, and it’s also been the main hub for London Wine Week in previous years. On a sunny day, claim your spot early. It’s also in the same spot as one of our top London wine bars, Bar Douro. It has smaller neighbouring off-sets too – Vinegar Yard and the newly opened St Felix Place. ED

  • Flat Iron Square, London SE1 1TD
  • Tel: 020 3179 9800

Gunpowder, Tower Bridge

Launched in 2015, Gunpowder offers creative, contemporary regional Indian cooking – and its Tower Bridge site has the added bonus of a sheltered heated terrace. Not only is the food here bursting with vibrant, authentic flavours, but the wine list is a real eye-opener. Curated by Keeling Andrew & Co of Noble Rot, it focuses exclusively on wines from the Iberian Peninsula, cleverly pairing indigenous and natural wines from Spain and Portugal with the spicy dishes. Try the signature Gunpowder chaat with Can Sumoi Perfum 2018 from Penedès in Spain; its low acidity and minerality perfectly complement the tangy tamarind in this potato and chickpea dish. Or pair the brilliantly named Uncondemned Medieval 2018 from Portugal’s Quinta do Montalto with whole beef rib in Kerala pepper sauce: a rich, warming and velvety textured combo. JS

  • 4 Duchess Walk, London SE1 2SD
  • Tel: 020 3598 7946
Gunpowder outdoor restaurant London

The terrace at Gunpowder, Tower Bridge

La Famiglia, Chelsea

Traditional and understated, La Famiglia in Chelsea was a favourite among the aristocracy and glitterati back in the day – VIP guests included Brigitte Bardot, Michael Caine and Princess Margaret. Chef Alvaro Maccioni passed away in 2013, but his daughter Marietta took the reins in a seamless transition, and the restaurant remains a destination for classic Italian dishes, lovingly prepared. Marietta recently revamped the courtyard at the back, which provides a discreet outdoor dining area – perfect for a summer’s evening in town. To start, you really can’t miss the minestra d’ova, a light lemony, eggy broth with cheese on toast floating on top – it’s more of a winter dish, but it’s a taste of heaven (and great for a hangover). More seasonally appropriate would be the tonno alla san carrado, thinly sliced raw tuna sprinkled with chopped tomatoes, peppers, onion, lemon and olive oil. If you have a sweet tooth, the old-fashioned dessert trolley is a must. Amy Wislocki

  • 7 Langton Street, The Worlds End, Chelsea, London SW10 0JL
  • Tel: 020 7351 0761

Le Pont de la Tour, Shad Thames

Opened by Terence Conran back in 1991, PDLT is still one of my favourite alfresco spots offering views of Tower Bridge from its riverside terrace. Seafood is a speciality here – the fruits de mer platter with oysters, crab, prawns and langoustines is a decadent treat, washed down with a bottle of Champagne or English fizz from the extensive wine list. For more vinous choice you can explore the Wine Shop at the back of the restaurant. And dessert has to be the signature crêpes Suzette of course. JS

  • 36D Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE
  • Tel: 020 7403 8403

Levan, Peckham

A south London take on a Parisian bistro. A small space but with a wine list that packs a punch, this pocket-rocket of a restaurant transforms effortlessly between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their outside seating area has a distinctly French vibe and abuts a characterful Peckham street. The wine list focuses on minimal intervention, organic and biodynamic wines – with a particular proclivity towards wines of the Jura – and a seasonal and sustainable food menu. This forward-thinking restaurant is the perfect place to watch the hustle and bustle of a local area whilst exploring distinctive wines and hearty, quality food. NE

  • 12-16 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL
  • Tel: 020 7732 2256
outdoor restaurants London

Levan, Peckham. Credit: Natalie Earl / Decanter

Peckham Cellars

A friendly and welcome addition to Queens Road Peckham with big windows and an outdoor terrace. The wine list is quite extensive but at the same time doesn’t overwhelm. There’s also a wide range by the glass, with plenty of lesser-known region wines, skin contact wines and esoteric picks. NE.

  • 125 Queen’s Rd, London SE15 2ND
  • Tel: 020 7207 0124

Pop Brixton, Brixton

For an eclectic alfresco experience, pass Electric Avenue and head to Pop Brixton, a set of shipping containers occupied by independent and mainly local businesses. While there are excellent eat-in restaurants on site, your best bet is to grab something from one of the street-food-style vendors – everything from Caribbean, Greek, all things Asian and more, including vegan burgers – and sit in the central open-air communal space (covered in winter), often featuring a diverse selection of music and entertainment. And you won’t go thirsty either. In addition to a bar, there’s award-winning The New Zealand Cellar – the UK’s only dedicated Kiwi wine merchant and a regular Decanter Retailer Awards winner – to tempt you with an amazing range of wines to drink in or take away. Tina Gellie

  • 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ
  • Tel: 020 3879 8410 

The Ivy, Chelsea Garden

Situated on London’s famed King’s Road, The Ivy’s iconic Grade II listed building dates back to 1722. But where the restaurant really comes to life is in its stunning garden and outside spaces (pictured top), encompassing wisteria and roses alongside fountains and trellises, it’s the quintessential English courtyard garden. The wine list covers all bases, but when the sun shines a rich and decadent white such as Milton’s Riverpoint Viognier ticks a lot of boxes – especially when paired with the miso black cod fillet.  Alex Layton

  • 195 -197 King’s Road, London SW3 5EQ
  • Tel: 020 3301 0300
Outdoor restaurants London

The Ivy Chelsea Summer Garden

The Petersham, Covent Garden

The central London output of Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries, this restaurant maintains the same Slow Food ethos of the original. Tucked away off a street in Covent Garden, the terrace (pictured top) is a dose of peace away from busy central London. If going all out, enjoy the tasting menu and paired wines – from an extensive Italian wine list. Or for something more low key, enjoy a plate of fresh home made pasta, with seasonal ingredients – such as the Cacio e pepe bottoni with broad beans and mint.
There’s also a shop, delicatessen, wine shop and florist. ED

  • Petersham Nurseries, Floral Court WC2E 9FB.
  • Tel: 020 7305 7676

The Roebuck, Richmond

If you are after a leafy stroll followed by a pint with a view, this is the place to come. Situated just minutes from the gates of Richmond Park, this proper pub is perched atop Richmond Hill and as a result looks out west over the River Thames, the Surrey Hills and further afield. Enjoy the beer garden, or take your drinks just across the road to sit on the public benches and absorb the verdant views. NE

  • 130 Richmond Hill, Richmond, TW10 6RN
  • Tel: 020 8948 2329

The Rooftop at the Trafalgar, St James’s

I think soaking in a good view is paramount (along with the company) while sharing a bottle of something fabulous. Head to the epicentre of London, and try the open-air rooftop bar at The Trafalgar Hotel – with magnificent views of the bustling square below. (For 360° bird’s-eye panoramas of the capital from the inside, the Vertigo42 Champagne Bar is also a treat.) TG

  • 2 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2TS
  • Tel: 020 7870 2900

Sager + Wilde, Bethnal Green

Sager + Wilde on Paradise Row in Bethnal Green, has rows of picnic benches and one of the largest outdoor spaces in the area. It has an extensive wine by the glass list as well as a newly designed tasting menu that changes every day. Whether you want a glass of wine, a cocktail or a four-course menu, there’s something for everyone and every occasion here. Visit between 4-7pm any day of the week to take advantage of the great value pasta deal. CG.

  • Arch 250 Paradise Row, London E2 9LE
  • Tel: 020 7613 0478

The Culpeper, Spitalfields

The rooftop garden at The Culpeper is a real rustic gem, just a stone’s throw away from London’s Spitalfield’s Market. Fresh produce grown in the rooftop garden is often found on diners’ plates. This summer The Culpeper will be focusing on English wine, including a selection from Davenport Vineyards and Tillingham. Pét Nat wines have also replaced Champagne throughout the summer. Try with the whole grilled mackerel. AL

  • 40 Commercial Street, London E1 6LP
  • Tel: 020 7247 5371

The White Hart, Barnes

Classy and beautifully decorated, I stumbled across this 19th century pub whilst walking the Thames path. It is hard to miss because the path goes right past it, and even harder to avoid stopping for a well-deserved pint mid-walk. The outside seating area is spread across two levels; a terraced area right outside the pub, and a clutch of picnic benches down on the edge of the river. As well as beers, the pub serves up whopping Sunday roasts and has an excellent gin selection too. NE

  • The Terrace, Riverside, Barnes, London SW13 0NR
  • Tel: 020 887 65177

Originally published in 2016. Updated in 2019 and again in 2021. 


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