The English summer may be a blink-and-you'd-miss-it few days, but here at Hot Dinners we can feel things heating up. The only trouble is that when it's time to head outside and soak up those precious days of sunshine that's when you face competition from everyone else in town who has the same idea. We've pulled together a list of some perhaps less well-known al fresco dining spots in town to give you a headstart on finding the perfect place to eat in the sun.
The heated terrace here can seat up to 40 guests and offers a special seaside inspired menu over the summer, served from the crustacea bar. There's no through traffic, so it's free from fumes, and you can book a table here too. Enjoy a fish finger sandwich with a glass of fizz and follow that up with a Knickerbocker glory. If you're just after drinks - head next door to the courtyard for the Old Bengal Bar which is part of this D&D run complex.
Find out more about Fish Market
- For Holborn workers, Lincoln's Inn Bar & Kitchen opens this July featuring a terrace with room for 24 diners or drinkers.
- And Iberica La Terrazza at Canary Wharf which opened in April on Cabot Square in Canary Wharf. Designed by Contemporain Studios in Barcelona, it's open from breakfast through to late evening.
- Also try the terrace bar at Angler restaurant on the top floor of South Place Hotel by Moorgate station. It's open seven days a week from 12noon – 10pm and serves up a Terrace Menu with cocktails to match.
A massive revamp has given this already popular pub an even better river-fronting beer garden. There are now more seats, including some highly sought-after sheltered booth/cabanas and a better order system. Enjoy watching rowers zip past on the Thames while you try the Coca Cola Glazed Pork Ribs or Chargrilled Quesadillas with Sour Cream and Sweet Potato Chips from the BBQ.
Find out more about The Ship
- Shrimpy's behind King's Cross has two terraces - one of which is new and heated outside Shrimpy's Deluxe Dinette itself, serving the same menu as inside. Best of all the terrace tables can be booked, but only on the day.
- Spanish restaurant Alquimia, which opened at Putney Wharf in April has room for 48 people on its terrace. Enjoy some tapas and albarino and watch the boats go by.
Those possessing facial hair and a fine pair of red trousers need look no further than Hoxton for their alfresco requirements. New opening Beagle - tucked under the arches at Hoxton station - has large sheltered outside terraces for both its bar and restaurant. There's room for 60 people in total, so pull up a chair, order one of their seriously strong (and good) martinis and while away a warm evening quite happily here.
Find out more about Beagle
- The Kiosk on Bethnal Green Gardens - a retro gem serving great coffees, cakes and icecreams.
- Lucky Chip residency at Climpson's Arch - some great cocktails and craft beers as well as oysters, T-bones and leeks with lardo to line your stomach.
The top floor restarant at ME London hotel - Radio - has wraparound terraces with covered cabanas and heaters to cover anything the British summer throws at you. The view from the 10th floor is frankly stunning, sweeping from Canary Wharf in the East along the Thames to Somerset House and beyond. Food is 'light bites' and the terrace is open until 3am. One thing though - those cabanas come at a price - a £300 minimum spend.
Find out more about Radio Rooftop Lounge
- The Skylounge at Doubletree Hilton at the Tower of London has a massive terrace hidden away up on the 12th floor with views over Tower Bridge.
- Plus - the Boundary rooftop on Redchurch Street, E2 has just had a major revamp. It's now open seven days per week from 10am to 11pm – whatever the weather due to a new weatherproof pergola which covers the bar and dining area.
Despite the recent rubbish summers, a handful of new openings over the past year have made sure they carved out some pavement space for anyone wanting to dine outdoors. John Salt on Upper Street has a handful of pavement tables (along with loads of other options on Upper Street) as does Bonnie Gull (pictured) which has a row of beach hut-style tables on the pavement by Foley Street in Fitzrovia.
- Newly-opened the Terrace on Holland Street, London W8 which has a covered cobbled dining area
- The terrace outside newly-opened Grain Store by Bruno Loubet in King's Cross. Great for watching the fashionista students at St Martins. Next door, Caravan has opened its outdoor seating area too but theirs also features a takeaway station.
- Honest Burgers' latest place in Camden Market which opens this summer will have a communal area outside seating 30.