With the summery weather fast approaching, expect a plethora of articles about rooftop bars in Central London to be hitting your inboxes and social media streams very soon. First out of the blocks is the famous Courthouse hotel in Oxford Circus: a 5-star luxury hotel situated in an old Grade II Listed Magistrates Court building. Their ground floor bar even has original prison cell blocks which are now used as VIP bar areas.
We went to their 6th-floor bar to discover their hidden gem, the Soho Sky Terrace. The first thing you notice is that it is surprisingly spacious given that this isn’t a particularly massive hotel. Whilst the view isn’t particularly impressive in terms of buildings to look at (it looks in the direction of Liberty), it does have an unobstructed view of the magnificent sky and a great venue for stargazers even with the density of artificial lights in central London.
There are more formal tables but also relaxed couch areas for those after an informal post-work drink in the early evenings. Thankfully for them, there is a taller, adjacent building which helps to shelter them from the windier weather conditions.
People rightly have a low expectation of bar snacks, but the food here is truly outstanding, no doubt helped by the presence of having 2 restaurants operating in the hotel. As I went with a vegetarian guest, they were most accommodating in going off-menu to provide us with a special vegetarian platter. The Asian influence is strong probably due to the fact, some of the food might be prepared from their Asian fusion restaurant, Silk. Tofu was spongy with flavoursome black bean sauce, vegetarian samosas were crunchy yet not overly greasy. The grilled vegetable skewers were just the right size as an accompaniment to cocktails and with an appetising balsamic glaze. The best were the well-spiced vegetable mini-burgers: crunchy, tasty and healthy at the same time.
They have some innovative, well-thought-out cocktails with a distinct prison theme to them, with names like Sweet Escape and The Courthouse Godmother. We tried a very refreshing gin-based cocktail, Bonnie and Clyde: it has Bombay Sapphire gin, apricot liqueur shaken with fresh lime juice and elderflower cordial. It’s the ideal drink to enjoy on a rooftop terrace on a sunny early evening in central London.
Soho Sky Terrace is a quiet oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford Circus and one rooftop terrace you should consider visiting this summer.