There’s a wise old saying that goes a little something like this: if you really want to explore and find out about the city, look up, above the streets. Here you will find out about the past lives of buildings, their original purpose, and even historically significant nuggets. In the capital, you will also occasionally find elevated word-of-mouth venues like the Sanctum Soho Roof Terrace, a lofty bar offering a special retreat away from the masses.
Ascend five floors up from the main reception of the Sanctum Soho Hotel, heading past the signed photos of various celebrities who are evidently very fond of this little hideaway, and you’ll end up at the Roof Garden. Owned by the entrepreneur Mark Fuller, a man responsible for celeb-haven Embassy amongst other things, this isn’t an area with the resplendent space and greenery of say Kensington’s Roof Gardens, but considering it’s in space-is-at-a-premium Soho, this is a very welcome bolthole indeed.
Largely covered overhead, it’s not dictated to entirely by the weather but you can imagine it really comes alive in the warmer months when a glamorous mix of entertainment, fashion and music industry heads are all known to party here. Even in colder months, a warming modern fireplace and comfy seating makes it hospitable for guests. If it gets too much, you can retreat inside, where a tiny little bar and seating area provides for a handful of drinkers. Design is kooky - on first glance natty wallpaper looks like an esoteric print but stare long enough and the pattern of illustrated skulls should become clear. Marshall amps dotted around the entire venue also show this is hotel where music, and indeed music industry guests, are very much at home.
When the weather is kind, the Sanctum Soho Roof Terrace is one of the coolest places to hold court in this part of town; on colder nights its appeal isn’t as glaring obvious, as even though it’s covered it can get a little nippy and the inside area feels full with just a handful of people in attendance.
As if to further reinforce its credentials as a rock and roll bar, Jack Daniel’s is given a whole page of the cocktail menu. Several blends include a lot of lemon and lime flavours with unusual ingredients like tangerine jam also thrown into the mix. Cocktails cost around £12.50 a pop, with champagne varieties flavoured with berries and passion fruit pushing the cost up to around £14 each. Ordering off menu is also encouraged and they’ll happily knock you up a decent Manhattan or a remix of one of their signature offerings.
Peroni’s on draught for beer drinkers and couples even decamp from the restaurant to enjoy a malt whisky and a stinky cigar, something that’s possible thanks to the open-air terrace.
The Last Word
A world away from the human traffic clogging up the streets down below, the Sanctum Soho Roof Terrace is a great retreat especially on balmy days. One of the best kept secrets in Soho. Until now.