Soho Sky Terrace, West End
A bit of a secret spot, the Courthouse DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (19-21 Great Marlborough Street, W1, 020-7297 5555, doubletree3.hilton.com) opposite Carnaby Street, once the courtroom where Oscar Wilde and Mick Jagger faced trial, also has a small roof terrace bar, the Sky Terrace, open 3pm-11pm or later, providing a quiet place to sip outside away from the hectic crowds of the shopping streets below.
Other rooftops in the area include the edgy/glam Sanctum Soho Hotel’s (20 Warwick Street, W1, 020-7292 6100, sanctumsoho.com, 8am-midnight for visitors) terrace cocktail bar, and Aqua Spirit (240 Regent Street, W1, 020-7478 0540, aqua-london.com) a bar with great views across the city, attached to a quality Japanese restaurant and Spanish restaurant, seconds from Oxford Circus.
To mark the capital’s summer of sport, culinary artists Bompas & Parr have created a crazy golf course above the department store’s Oxford Street residence – out of cake. Why? Apparently, people used to play golf up there in the 1930s. And if all that putting among the sponge in the sky is hungry work, Daylesford is serving afternoon tea, which they claim to be the highest in London, including a gin jelly and organic cheeseboard.
• 400 Oxford Street, W1, 020-7318 3898, jellymongers.co.uk, golf ?6, afternoon tea ?21. Open Mon-Sat noon-7pm, Sun noon-6pm, until 2 September
From nearby Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and beyond, Centre Point looms as one of London’s most visible but ugly buildings, a giant office block. But from the top of the building itself, the whole city sparkles to the horizon in a beautiful mass, and inside there is a surprisingly glamorous bar and restaurant, Paramount, on the upper three floors. The smart restaurant is modern European – seared scallops with crab tortellini (?13.50), coddled hen’s egg (?10.50), hake with chorizo (?21.50), sirloin of Scottish beef (?24.50), etc. Or just watch the sun set over the city from the bar, for drinks or snacks served all day (booking in advance essential). Visiting either gives access to a spectacular viewing gallery with 360-degree views.
• 101-103 New Oxford Street, 020-7420 2900, paramount.uk.net. Open Mon-Wed 8am-1.30am, Thurs-Fri 8am-2.30am, Sat 11.30am-2.30am, Sun noon-4pm
Arguably the hippest bar in London, although you wouldn’t think so from its location above a multi-storey car park in deepest Peckham. But if you make the trek to Frank’s (open July to September, 10 minutes by train from London Bridge), you will be rewarded with a view that the other side of the river could never offer: all of London’s major landmarks in a neat line. This, combined with seriously good tunes, Campari cocktails and an innovative small plates menu, makes for superb summer nights. If the sun is anywhere to be seen over the next few weeks, get there in time for a Waterloo sunset. If not, there is a canopy to shelter from the rain. Oh, and the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project is on levels 7-10.
• 10th floor Peckham car park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15, frankscafe.org.uk. Open Thurs-Sun 11am-10pm, food served noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm
For a close-up, eye-level view of St Paul’s, pop in for a drink at Madison, a “pan-Asian tapas” and cocktail bar at the top of the One New Change shopping centre. This glass-walled restaurant has an outdoor terrace with deckchairs and views over London’s skyline, and a 1,000-bottle wine list. Dishes include hoi-sin crispy quail (?8), popcorn squid (?7) and zarzuela of baby octopus (?7).
• 1 New Change, EC4, 020-8305 3088, madisonlondon.net. Open noon-late