It may be September, but that doesn’t mean al fresco drinking and dining has to be taken off the menu. As we all adjust to the “new normal”, it feels good to be able to socialise in our favourite bars and restaurants again.
However, with a lot of people still feeling wary about being in confined public places, it’s worth noting there are some fantastic outdoor venues in London offering a safer yet fantastic atmosphere, and airy spaces to enjoy a few cocktails in.
London’s best Al fresco drinking destinations
Nine Lives Alley
Tacos and cocktails. Who doesn’t love that combination? Especially on a sunny September evening. Nine Lives extended their tropical ambience onto the cobbles of Holyrood Street in July as soon as bars were allowed to reopen, and they have not disappointed. This rare pocket of al fresco London is the perfect destination for al fresco drinking – to enjoy some killer cocktails and tacos from native Mexican chef El Tigre.
Chef El Tigre, whose family restaurant is a taco institution in Guadalajara, Mexico; has parked his Tigre Taco truck on Nine Lives Alley for the remainder of this year. The menu includes Baja-style fish tacos (£8), grilled shrimp tacos and octopus tostadas all served with house made fresh salsas and crispy pickles – an ideal snack for an evening of drinking.
As for the drinks, Nine Lives Alley has some absolute treats behind the bar including frozen slushies (£11) and low alcohol highballs (£12), alongside chilled local beers and ciders.
Further information can be found at ninelivesbar.com.
Truman’s Social Club
If you’re looking for a beer garden in North London, Truman’s Social Club is a multifaceted, 35,000 square foot venue in Walthamstow – a great place to enjoy drinks with friends.
The beer garden is a safe space for al fresco drinking, to hang out in with Truman’s beer on draft and a rotating line up of street food traders – including the likes of Zero and Walthamstow Dogs. An array of homemade beers are available, while Truman’s have a 40 barrel brewery, which gives them a good balance between flexibility and efficiency and means there really is something for everyone. From pale ale and raw lager, to roller IPA and their Keychange Session IPA, Truman’s will ensure you’re sipping a pint of something tailored to your taste and we’re sure you’ll be asking for seconds.
Tables can be reserved for groups of up to six people and guests are asked to make a £5 reservation deposit per person, which can be redeemed with a pint of Truman’s or a soft drink on arrival.
Once social distancing restrictions have eased, Truman’s Beer also have big plans to open the huge indoor space – which will include their new brewery, a café and bar, shop, street food market, events space, and more.
Further information can be found at trumansbeer.co.uk.
Lost in Brixton
In south London, Lost in Brixton is a must-visit. Back for a second session, this huge space has been transformed into a secret rooftop terrace and is just a stone’s throw from the underground station.
Tables are spread out, ensuring everyone feels safe, and the live music really lends a strong (welcome) sense of resumed normality. The drinks menu features fruity favourites such as summer spritzes and cocktails such as a Rhubarb Martini (£10) and a Tropical Ting (£10), as well as extra fresh beer pumped straight from Brixton Brewery, located only 424 meters away, and Corona on tap.
Further information can be found at lostinbrixton.com.
For traditional pub settings, The Prince is worth a visit, just a short walk away from West Brompton station. A grand old pub brought back to life around a big, beautiful secret garden, The Prince is the perfect place for al fresco drinking, to enjoy long drinking sessions and lazy afternoons in the sun, with a pergola of flowers to sit under, fully stocked bars, and delicious street food.
Guests can even dine picnic-style from the comfort of The Prince’s garden, where the resident vendors serve up street food for alfresco dining, including dishes such as Mac & Cheese from Wildcard, knock-out burgers at Patty&Bun, or fresh waffles from Utter Waffle.
The thirst quenching cocktail menu features an array of beers and ciders as well as plenty of Pimms, and the increasingly popular Frosé for £6 a glass.
Further information can be found at theprincelondon.com.
If you’re a fan of a classic aperitif, you’re bound to enjoy a trip to Vermuteria near King’s Cross. The all-day café and bar serves creative food and drinks inspired by the origins of Vermouth distilling, and the great Vermouth bars of Italy and beyond.
As well as the traditional spritz, you’ll find signature drinks such as the Milano Highball (£8) and the Diplomat (£10) on the chic menu – and you’ll probably have a hard time trying not to order them all. There’s also a great wine list to choose from as well as a never-ending selection of bitters and amaro – which is an Italian herbal liqueur.
And if you’re feeling a bit peckish, delicious dishes may include the likes of spinach and ricotta ravioli, crab croquettes, and various sharing plates.
Further information can be found at vermuteria.cc.