Despite its reputation for gloomy skies, London blossoms in the summertime. The capital’s bar and pub scene is second to none, and never more exuberant than when the mercury rises and the city’s cosmopolitan young folk take to the terraces and courtyards for a sunshine snifter. Every corner of the city has its own distinctive drinking vibe – here’s just some of our favourite spots to whet your appetite for a sociable summer. 

Brought to you with Aperol Spritz


Experience London's unique take on aperitivo this summer

Al Fresco – Aperol Spritzeria

There was a time when savouring the distinctly Italian magic of aperitivo (a golden-hour Aperol Spritz with good friends around a table of moreish small plates), involved having to pack your bags and hop on a plane to Italy. Such is its global appeal, you can now experience this joyous pastime all over London. However, few places do it quite as stylishly as Al Fresco – Aperol Spritzeria at Eataly near Liverpool Street station.

It goes without saying that expertly mixed Aperol Spritzes are the order of the day here, but there’s an ample menu of sharing plates to enjoy alongside the drinks. Think warm, salty focaccia, voluptuous mozzarella and sweet aromatic bresaola paired with a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz, with pretty Mediterranean foliage providing the ideal outdoor backdrop.
135 Bishopsgate
Tube: Liverpool Street

Vinegar Yard

A microcosm of contemporary London going-out culture, Vinegar Yard manages to cover a lot of bases. There’s ample al fresco space for savouring a golden-hour Aperol Spritz with your buddies in the distinctive tapering shadow of the Shard. There’s banging street food – Szechuan aubergine and pork belly bao buns from Nik’s Kitchen, arancini balls from irreverent Italians at Sugo, Bhangra Burgers from Baba Gs – and an honest-to-god hipster flea market that pops up only at weekends, with permanent art from Glastonbury Festival sculptor Joe Rush. That’s a whole lot of culture, for a former car park just south of the river. 

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual under the gaze of The Shard while munching on moreish street food
72-82 St Thomas St
Tube: London Bridge


Mix it with Portobello Road's fashionable folk / Credit: Matt Inwood

Gold Notting Hill

Adored by famously choosy west London social butterflies, Gold Notting Hill is quite the spot. Not least thanks to its distinctive three-storey-high mural that makes eyes at the fashionable passers-by on Portobello Road. Make a beeline for its lavishly planted outdoor courtyard where chef Theo Hill oversees an upscale menu of summer treats, including sharing salads with fennel, blood orange and Taggiasca olives, or roasted zucchini with goat’s yoghurt, mint and pangrattato. They’re just the kind of nibbly light bites you want to savour with an Aperol Spritz on a warm night in a well-heeled part of town.
95-97 Portobello Rd 
Tube: Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill Gate


Milk Float

They like to do things a wee bit differently out east. For instance, the Milk Float is a bar on a boat, moored in the hipster heartland of Hackney Wick. From April to October the team will rent you a dinky little craft – a ‘Moo Canoe’ – for a romantic punt along the River Lee Navigation. Or just chill out on the deck, supping an Aperol Spritz with your pals in view of the Olympic Stadium while grazing on loaded dogs, or Milk Float’s iconic weekend brunch. 

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual sunbathing on the deck of a souped-up canal boat
Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Ln
Overground: Hackney Wick


It's game on at this beloved neighbourhood hangout

King of Prussia

A proper neighbourhood pub, ‘The Prush’ as locals have taken to calling it has plenty going on, from free-to-use retro games consoles and the jukebox to the positively antiquated shuffleboard and foosball tables. Where things really come alive, though, is on the buzzy social terrace, where Finchley’s cool kids mingle over zesty Aperol Spritzes and dreamy stone-baked pizzas. Not in the mood for a slice? Go for the mouth-watering truffle mac ’n’ cheese and shredded-chicken tacos overflowing with buffalo sauce, avocado and pickled cabbage. Truly a king of the North London pub scene.
363 Regents Park Rd
Tube: Finchley Central


If it's good enough for Frank...

Half Moon

This storied pub on one corner of the idyllic and oft-overlooked urban village of Herne Hill has seen many an icon propping up the bar over the years, from poet Dylan Thomas to crooner Frank Sinatra. Recently revived after a long closure, it’s also now an upscale boutique hotel. When the sun shines, head to the convivial garden space – a sublime corner for you and your chums to graze over boards of communal charcuterie, mezze, triple-cooked chips and novel Sunday roasts to share alongside a joyous Aperol Spritz.  

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual in painterly urban village of Herne Hill
10 Half Moon Lane
Overground: Herne Hill

Looking for even more ways to embrace the alfresco lifestyle this summer? Check out the Piazza Aperol Bar Finder and discover the best bars, lounges and rooftop terraces across the UK to help you “Spritz-up” your summer.