London's Best Food and Drink Experiences for the Summer

Enjoy some drinks at the O2 while sitting high over the London skyline this summer
Enjoy some drinks at the O2 while sitting high over the London skyline this summer | Courtesy of London in the Sky
Photo of Cassam Looch
Social Editor30 July 2021

London is set for a vibrant summer as venues finally open after months of restrictions. Wise entrepreneurs have revamped old favourites, modernised classic rooftops and created entirely new experiences to help us celebrate our freedom. Here’s a look at some of the best food and drink experiences to visit in London for a great time this summer.

London in the Sky

Restaurant with Rooms, British
Map View
London in the Sky
Courtesy of London in the Sky

You might have seen this high-concept food experience located elsewhere in London, but this year, the staggering dining experience has set up camp in North Greenwich. The O2 is the prominent landmark to focus on when you’re dangling 100ft (30m) in the air, wining and dining at a table that rises up from the ground. It’s al fresco dining taken to ridiculous heights – but if your stomach can handle it, you’re in for a real treat.

LexTempus Multisensory Music Experience

Concert Hall
Map View
LexTempus-Multisensory-Music-Experience
Courtesy of Lex Tempus

If dining in the sky doesn’t quite float your boat, how about a musical time travel journey through three influential decades of American pop culture? The concept is far simpler than it sounds – with the location hosting one of the best sound systems in London. From here, you are transported back in time to 1950s America and the world of influential jazz musicians. As you travel from Boston to San Francisco, you also listen to soul and disco after the jazzy introduction. Themed drinks help elevate the illusion – although the toe-tapping tunes do most of the heavy lifting. One for music lovers and cocktail aficionados looking for a unique experience.

The Botanist Gin Roof Garden

Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel, Business Hotel, Hotel
4.4/5 (975 Reviews)
The Botanist Gin Roof Terrace
Courtesy of Ben Carpenter / The Botanist Gin
Price Drop
Now from $349 per night
The famous facade of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel has been featured in several feature films since it was renovated, but the rooftop is the place to be this summer. Known as The Roof Garden, this space is set away from the busy streets of central London below and provides a variety of entertainment from live sports to music. The terrace is still something of a secret as Kings Cross often takes the limelight, but it’s a fantastic space with a great summer offering.
More info

Nine Lives Alley – Summer Block Party

Food Court, Mexican, $$$
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Nine Lives Alley
Courtesy of Nine Lives Alley

On the last Friday of every month this summer, this popular Bermondsey bar takes over the surrounding streets and puts on a classic summer block party. The open-air venue is close to London Bridge but brings modern Mexican vibes to the capital with both its street food selections and cocktails. Nine Lives Alley is a fantastic place to while away the summer days and appreciate your freedom once more with friends – and a cocktail in hand.

12th Knot

Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, British, American, Seafood, $$$
Map View

Returning this summer after a year away due to the pandemic, Sea Containers’ rooftop bar 12th Knot is back with a bang. To mark the occasion, the venue is hosting a series of events known as the Sunset Series which will include live music, themed cocktails and a great selection of snacks. To check out the latest menu and book in for one of the special offers, be sure to plan your trip in advance.

Maggies Club

School
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Maggies - Dance floor extra colour
Courtesy of Haydon Perrior
With a spectacular reopening as part of the UK’s Freedom Day activities already in the books, this cool nightclub in Chelsea is a venue dripping with nostalgia – with a thoroughly modern twist. Indoor party venues like Maggie’s have been closed for over a year now, and to make up for lost time, the club will be open seven days a week to really get things started again for the summer. If you’ve missed partying – and still miss the 80s – this is the place to head for a jolly good time.

Cahoots

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Fusion, $$$
Map View

A favourite spot for date night in central London, Cahoots takes all the best elements of themed establishments – without any of the unnecessary excesses. The drinks all play into the spirit of the blitz, with shady characters inviting you downstairs where the real fun begins. If you spot a queue near Carnaby Street once all the shops have closed, chances are you’ve found this hidden gem.

Quaglino's

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Map View

An old favourite but one that’s back with a new menu, new cocktails and new attitude. We’ve always enjoyed the sassy aura around the place – which is still thankfully firmly in place – but the revamped dishes will have you popping back in a hurry. Newly appointed executive chef, Jack Smith, has lined up treats like pan-roasted salmon ballotine, clam and mussel broth and foraged sea herbs for mains, with strawberry and pistachio verrine and fromage blanc with basil sorbet for desserts.

Magenta

Restaurant, Italian
Map View
Magenta interior
Courtesy of Magenta

Bringing a touch of northern Italy to Kings Cross, this new restaurant takes its menu from executive head chef, Manuele Bazzoni – but offsets it with a unique interior design that will have you booking another visit as soon as you see it. The restaurant and bar are a giant art installation within an indoor pergola of Victorian industrial architecture, designed with coal, steel and oak, complemented with strong magenta furnishings. As a result, the mystery of how this place got its name is finally solved.

Hijingo Bingo

Theatre
Map View

What exactly is Hijingo Bingo? Your guess is as good as ours, but there’s definitely some element of bingo involved – which is great news as the classic pastime saw something of a resurgence a few years ago. This version is a full-on assault on the senses with novelty cocktails and scrumptious street food served alongside high-tech number calling. As we’ve seen darts, table tennis and even golf reinvented for Londoners – why not bingo?

These recommendations were updated on July 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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