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The best vegan-friendly rooftop bars and restaurants in London

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With restrictions easing in the UK, Britishers are flocking back to pubs. Here are the best rooftop bars that cater to vegans in London.

The UK is finally out of lockdown, albeit with some restrictions. While meeting indoors is still banned, the rule of six is back into play outdoors. And that has led to pubs, outdoor restaurants and rooftop bars being filled with flocks of people returning to social circles.

For vegans, it’s been a great year at home as takeaway menus and supermarket retailers have expanded their range of products to include plant-based options. While it’s common to find vegan options in restaurants, not all rooftop bars necessarily have plant-based food on their menu.

We’ve sorted through to find the best vegan-friendly rooftop bars in London.

Bar Elba

109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL

 

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Opening times: Noon to midnight (Sunday to Tuesday), noon to 1am (Wednesday to Saturday)

On the rooftop of Waterloo’s Mercury House lies Bar Elba, a roof pub with twinkle lights, bar food and cocktails, a seasonal ice skating arena and great views.

You can get a free cocktail if you sign up to its mailing list online. It has a rooftop cinema, which is already sold out till mid-May. The rooftop bar offers a bottomless brunch too.

The food menu at Bar Elba has quite a few vegan options. There’s a plant-based burger made from a Moving Mountains patty, which comes with tomato, lettuce, pickle, ketchup, and vegan mayonnaise in a vegan brioche bun.

The jackfruit taco comprises ”sweet, yellow, pulled jackfruit” marinated in a barbecue sauce. It’s served in soft shell tacos on a bed of lettuce, onion and tomato, and topped with salsa, fresh coriander, pineapple and lime.

Bar Elba’s menu also has a vegan hot dog made from soy protein in a vegan brioche bun, with a choice of ketchup, mustard, crispy onions and jalapeños.

Apart from the skin-on rosemary fries, vegans have a Mediterranean option at the rooftop bar too: hummus and a sourdough pitta.

Skylight

Tobacco Dock, St Katharine’s & Wapping, E1W 2SF

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Opening times: 3pm to 11pm (Thursday and Friday), noon to 11pm (weekend)

Skylight is one of London’s most well-known rooftop bars, located atop Tabacco Dock in Wapping, Shadwell. Apart from the bar, it has an indoor cinema and sports screen as well as outdoors Euro screenings starting from June 11, as well as games arena starting May 20, with croquet, pétanque and table tennis on the rooftop.

There are covered booths, a sunshine garden and outdoor tables for drinks, games and eating. What’s unique about Skylight is that they have a slight vegan focus on their cocktail menu, with the Lawn Club Sour using aquafaba instead of egg whites, along with Monkey Shoulder bourbon, Benedictine DOM, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon juice and sugar syrup.

The food menu is divided into two. The Hikari menu includes Pick and Poke, which consists of sushi rice, watermelon, pickled sesame carrot, edamame, crispy shallots, coriander, avocado and pickled cucumber with a soy dressing and Sriracha mayo. Vegans can get this with tofu, which, at £10, is £1 cheaper than the smoked salmon variant.

On the State Side menu, Skylight has a falafel burger, made from a spinach and chickpea falafel, vegan ranch slaw and chipotle jam. The rooftop bar also has a Vegan Dog, which comprises a plant-based Frankfurter, Sriracha aioli and crispy onions. Apart from that, it’s got plain fries on the menu.

Read our Ultimate Guide to vegan burgers in London.

The Nest

14-15 Langham Place, Marylebone, W1B 2QS

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Opening times: Noon to 1am (Monday to Saturday), noon to 11pm (Sunday)

Right in the centre of London is Treehouse Hotel, whose rooftop bar The Nest is on the 16th floor. It has a 360° view of London, situated in one of the capital’s busiest streets.

The Nest is has some wonderful vegan-friendly food on its rooftop bar menu. Among the light bites are Southern-roasted cauliflower florets with a rocket and tomato relish, as well as rosemary and sea salted chips.

The Green Leaves section has two salads, and both are vegan. The Nest Salad Bowl contains seasonal leaves, pickled carrot and daikon, aubergine and blistered cherry tomatoes with a charred lemon, miso and toasted sesame dressing, topped with crispy seaweed.

The Edible Garden is made from beetroot, chickpea and pumpernickel bread soil with seasonal sprouting vegetables, crispbread, spring greens and Kentish baby herbs. This salad is a zero-waste dish. It’s part of the rooftop bar’s Earth Month offering, paied with a waste-free cocktail, which, however, isn’t vegan-friendly.

For the mains, there’s a Moving Mountains burger, which is topped with vegan cheese, organic rocket leaves, vine-ripened tomato and a smoky tomato relish in a vegan brioche bun, and it comes with the rosemary and sea salted chips.

The menu also has a red miso-baked aubergine with charred green shallots, pickled radish and carrots, and sesame seaweed crisps.

Roof East

7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Rd, E15 1BB

 

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Opening times: 4pm to 10pm (Thursday and Friday), noon to 10pm (weekend)

A 5-minute walk from the Stratford Underground station, at the top of the multistorey car park the Stratford Shopping Centre is Roof East, a rooftop bar and “urban park”. It has a cinema, opening May 18, as well as games arenas, including baseball batting cages, crazy golf and lawn bowling.

This rooftop bar has three food menus, all with vegan options. The Cheeky Burger menu has the Cheeky Vegan burger, which consists of a patty from Simplicity Meats, vegan cheese, homemade vegan mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickle, and house ketchup. While they don’t come with the burger, you can order rosemary fries to go along.

The Kolkati menu, which is inspired by Bengali street food from India, will begin in May. Vegans have the choice of a Kala Chana Roll, made from Bengali brown chickpeas.

The East Side Pizza offering has a Sourdough Margarita [sic], with tomato, mozzarella, oregano, basil and garlic oil. While this is vegetarian, you can swap the mozzarella for a vegan alternative for £1. This menu also has plain fries.

Madison

One New Change, EC4M 9AF

 

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Opening times: Noon to 1am (every day)

Madison is a rooftop tapas restaurant and bar near St Paul’s. The terrace is on the top floor of One New Change, and it’s fancy, featuring “hand-blown glass chandeliers” outside a penthouse.

Madison has a small, separate vegan menu, which is a refreshing change of pace. The pulled jackfruit tacos come a with mango and jalapeño salsa, guacamole and pickled red onions. Then there’s the spiced sweet potato hummus, with grilled asparagus, pickles and focaccia croutons.

This is followed by the mains, which include a miso-baked aubergine with a crunchy pineapple and chilli salad and peanut satay sauce, a rich tomato linguine with roast peppers, aubergines, capers and olives, and a Moving Mountains burger, with Applewood smoked vegan cheese, secret sauce, pickles and fries.

In a nice addition, Madison’s rooftop vegan menu also has a dessert: a pineapple carpaccio topped with yuzu, coconut sorbet and pistachio praline.

Anay Mridul
Anay is the managing editor of The Vegan Review. A journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.

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