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Hackney's sunny outdoor venues

A guide to Hackney's best outdoor hotspots to get a drink, some food and maybe even a tan

OKAY, so it may be more ‘downtown’ than ‘desert island’ but if you know where to look, there are plenty of sunny, outdoor spots in Hackney where you can while away an afternoon with a drink on your hand.

Here are just a few of the borough’s summer stars. Look closely, and you’ll even find deck chairs and places to paddle...

Dalston Roof Park

Dalston’s only rooftop garden (above) has played host to Jessie Ware gigs, cinema screenings, yoga and open mic freestylers. Described as ‘an urban utopian oasis over looking London’s skyline’, it has a bar that’s almost as well stocked as its garden and is run by the social enterprise Bootstrap, which works to help people build businesses that are useful to their local community. We’ll raise a glass to that. 

Think: herbs, hops and high-tops ... high up.

CRATE Brewery, Hackney Wick

Reclining on the banks of the canal, you could almost be on a desert island, except for the views of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from CRATE’s outdoor space, and the crowds of hipsters around you. Console yourself with a beer – brewed on site – a super thin pizza and the summer programme of art, music and talks at the White Building, an old factory turned cultural centre in which CRATE is situated.

Think: beards, bitter and beautiful views.

People’s Park Tavern, Victoria Park

Formerly called The Britannia, this huge 19th-century pub (below) has an equally impressive garden that stretches into Victoria Park. Voted one of the best beer gardens by the Evening Standard and Time Out, in the summer a busy ‘garden grill’ takes up residence on its lawn, there are covered booths in case the heavens open, and they’ve even started up their own micro-brewery on site.

Think: burgers, beer and burnt noses.

Number 90 Bar, Hackney Wick

On the sunny banks of the River Lee, bar/restaurant/gig space Number 90 comes into its own in the summer. When its canal-side terrace is packed, diners and drinkers spill over onto a moored narrowboat ... Just don’t let the drinks menu make your sea legs go too wobbly. 

Think: cocktails and club nights on the canal.

Pub On The Park, London Fields

This London Fields local has a decked terrace that overlooks the park. A new chef, Andy Evans, has been roped in to revamp its menu, there’s a floodlit boules court and they’ve added an outdoor screen so you don’t even have to choose between the footie and working on your tan.

Think: Parklife... pugs, prams, Pimms and the odd pigeon.

Netil 360, London Fields

Perched on top of Netil House (below), East London’s largest rooftop bar is now a fully licensed venue, open to all. To celebrate, independent Spanish brewery Estrella Galicia are staging a two-month residency from 7 May and a series of events are programmed, including film screenings, gigs and food markets. Oh, and alongside the bar, new work-spaces and an organic café, there will be hot tubs.

Think: hot desking, hot tubs, hot venue.

The Fox, Haggerston

Recently revamped, The Fox now has craft beers, a seasonal menu and local ciders and suppliers. Its hidden roof terrace has been given a thoughtful facelift too. AND there’s a beer vending machine...

Think: Haggerston high life.

The Plough at Swan Wharf

Founded by the team from The Plough Bar & Kitchen in Homerton, this pop-up cafe and bar will be open throughout the summer on the site of an old sofa factory overlooking the River Lee and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Not only do they claim it’s Hackney’s largest outdoor drinking venue, but also that it’s Hackney Wick’s only one with all-day sun.

Think: RAYS. And a regular ‘Reggae Roast’.

The Russet, Hackney Downs

A former industrial printworks is a strange place to find a secret garden, but that’s part of the charm of The Russet, the site canteen for Hackney Downs Studios. Come in the late afternoon to enjoy the suntrap along with the cafe’s local and seasonal menu and eclectic arts programme. Customers, children particularly, are encouraged to explore the garden space where flowers and food are grown and even visit the resident quails.

Think: peace and quiet with quail.