WITH the summer just about living up to expectations this year, outside space has become the holy grail when picking a great place to drink in London. It’s certainly tricky to find in Mayfair and the West End so when the sun does come out, here are some of the best alfresco spots to seek out along with some shiny new arrivals. St James is a good place to start with a nice rosé outside Franco’s on Jermyn street (it has the best selection in London) and then over the road to Blue Ball Yard for the Stafford Hotel’s tucked-away courtyard where you can enjoy a superb cocktail from the American Bar and some wonderful platters. The garden at The Ritz is also just round the corner and is lovely, if you can get in. Heading up Bond Street, Lancashire Court has both Hush and the trendy Mews of Mayfair. North of Oxford Street it’s hard to beat the lovely garden at Home House where you can rub shoulders with rock stars and hedge fund managers alike, or further west try a glass of champers at the Langham’s brand new Laurent Perrier Terrace Garden.
No 5 Cavendish Square has two cute back terraces and also a wonderful secret roof garden, although is used more for special events. There is also the stunning outside/inside terrace at The Sanderson, which has the covers off for summer. If you are looking for fresh air with your plein air you might have to aim higher. The three spacious balconies at Aqua on Argyle Street are a very welcome addition but there is also the very recent Soho Sky Terrace just around the corner at the Courthouse Hotel and the newly redesigned Vista roof garden on top of The Trafalgar Hotel which has amazing views – all three have an Ibiza-esq feel. The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen (Hyde Park) and Inn the Park (St James’s Park) can be lovely and probably offer the best great outdoors experiences. Other notable mentions slightly further afield include Tom’s Terrace and The Yacht London down by Embankment, Eight Moorgate and Coq d’Argent’s terraces in the City, the trendy Boundary and Shoreditch House out East, Bluebird’s courtyard and Tuatara’s balcony on the King’s Road to the west, and of course the unique Roof Gardens in Kensington. Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading providers of VIP entertainment, including film premieres, fashion shows, launch parties and members club access. www.innerplace.co.uk