Bag yourself a sunny spot at one of London’s best riverside bars and pubs; perfect for sitting back, chilling out and soaking up the city’s summer vibes

Words Helen Brown

The Thames; probably one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Follow the winding river across the city and you’ll come across every character in the capital’s vast demographic. It’s no surprise then that there are a number of pubs and bars monopolising on this prime location for people watching. Find your sun-trap, sit back and soak up the waterside vibes. Here are our favourite riverside and canal bars in London. 


Since opening in 1996, the OXO Tower has enjoyed tremendous success. The iconic restaurant and unique bar both boast unbeatable views across the Thames and the City of London. Expect swathes of signature Harvey Nichols white leather and a backdrop of glass that affords spectacular views towards St Paul’s Cathedral. Cocktails take pride of place on the extensive drinks menu.


This riverside gastropub from Gordon Ramsey holds the title as one of the most picturesque drinking holes in London. From the terrace you can look across to The Shard with cocktail in hand, surrounded by the scent of their signature summer BBQ.


The hard working city boys and girls don’t need to travel far to find the perfect riverside, al fresco spot. The Oyster Shed is a large, double-decker glass-fronted bar with a fun, nautical-themed interior. As you would expect from the name, the place serves up some of London’s finest oysters, caught fresh that day. They also have a wine list created by a Master of Wine and a number of interesting ales.


Sitting within Hackney Wick’s flourishing culture scene, Number 90 is a spacious canal-side bar and restaurant serving great food and an expansive drinks menu. The focus here lies with innovative cocktails and a strong line-up of craft beer. Inside is the disco ball, famous from a number of Instagram snaps, and outside the canal-side terrace. With a packed event’s programme of music, art, comedy, film, theatre and more, Number 90 has become something of a Hackney institution.


This hidden gem is the only pub situated directly on Regent’s Canal in Islington. It’s a gorgeous place tucked away from the hustle and bustle. With plenty of outside seating, either next to the canal or hanging above it on one of the terraces, the place’s popularity soars during the summer months. There is a great selection of beers from London breweries, Meantime or Camden Town, which you can soak up with pub special, the Narrow Boat butty.


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