London, it’s a big old place and for many, even seasoned drinkers; it can be quite hard to find a recent bar to go to. With more skyscrapers appearing over the London skyline I thought it best to try out some of the best bars within these high rises. I have found three of London’s best high rise bars which team great drinks with a great view, day or night. Some of these may seem expensive but it is London after all, you don’t forget that you are not just paying for a drink in these bars but also the view.
The first place on our list is Aqua Shard which as you might have guessed it inside the Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom and also Western Europe. Located on the level 31 it is in fact the lowest bar in terms of height from the ground, ironic seeing that the Shard is the tallest building on the list. But just because it is the lowest does not mean it compromises on its views because it does not.
There are several bars in the Shard, most of which are located higher up in the restaurants and the Shangri La Hotel but Aqua Shard is the only purpose built bar. While the others are exclusively for hotel guests or for customers, Aqua Shard allows anyone in. Well not anyone as there are strict dress codes you must adhere too (smart casual only, nothing else) and enter only works on a first come first serve basis which means if you pick a busy day then you may not get it.
The drinks on offer at the bar are a mixture of old classics and new ones designed especially for the Aqua Shard. There are two signature cocktails, one made with tea (Very British) and the other inspired by the botanicals used to make gin. Prices are a bit steep but there is no entry fee to pay.
Aqua Shard has a stunning three story layout that makes you feel as though you are in a hotel lobby rather than a high rise bar but are quickly reminded that you are by the views of London out of any window. Directly opposite the Shard is the city with its many new skyscrapers, each competing with one another (the city is incidentally where we are heading next). To the east you can see Greenwich and Canary Wharf but the best views could be argued are from the west side of the bar with views that look out towards St Pauls. A perfect place to relax after a stressful week at work.
The Sky Garden is located at the top of the 20 Fenchurch Street, or give it its better name, The Walkie Talkie. This is the newest bar on this list and was only completed a few years ago. The Sky Garden is an unusual place, not only on this list but also in London because, as the name suggests, there is a garden inside. Set out over 3 floors it offers a stunning 360 degree view of the capital.
Entry to the Sky Garden is free but visitors must pre book a time slot for guaranteed access or they could wing it and try to get in on the day as only a few time slots are available upon arrival. Once inside, you take an elevator to the top of the building where you are greeted with the views of a mystical garden oasis. The sky garden is split over two levels and the centre piece of the whole place is the sky deck. An open air viewing platform with views of the Shard directly in front of you. You do get slightly confused as you are fully aware that you are in the capital but are surrounded but lush fauna, it is after all the highest public garden in London.
Drinks at the bar in the Sky Garden are more expensive than one would usually expect to pay but the Sky Garden is still packed with locals and tourists alike, all wanting a glimpse of the spectacular view. The Sky Garden is more of a tourist attraction than the other two bars on this list as it allows children to enter and serves soft drinks as well as its alcoholic beverages. There are even snacks on hand behind the bar if you so wish. This is a completely different experience to the Aqua Shard, this seems more inviting and you’re less afraid of feeling out of place among the suited business men.
SushiSamba is more a restaurant I will admit straight away. But there is a bar which is open to the public, assuming you get past their dress code. Located at 110 Bishopsgate, SushiSamba is on the 38th and 39th floors, which is the second tallest on this list, below the Sky Garden but above Aqua Shard. Inside it is a blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian which strikes me a s a strange combination but who am I to judge. There are two bars located at here but only one has the best views.
The Terrance bar is located outside on the 38th floor and is na amazing spectacle. The bar itself is underneath an enormous orange tree covered in lights that at night looks out of this world. Best to wrap up though as it can get quite chilly up there especially if it’s not the middle of summer. The views of the Gherkin next door are something that not everyone can boast about. The drinks are very expensive in here as it aims itself at the richest of clientele. Cocktails rarely start below £10 for something simple. The more complicated you want the more expensive it gets. This is certainly one of the most visually pleasing bars I have been too.
Any of these bars are a good place to go for either a night out with friends, a quiet drink with your partner or just a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the Capitals streets. With more skyscrapers being built you can be sure that these high rise bars will face some competition.