On a Saturday evening, I met up with friends for drinks at the Aqua bar and restaurant in the Shard. I got there about 5.30pm and there was a 45min wait to get into Aqua or Oblix. I did not mind queuing, as I could write my blog post while waiting.
It is free to go to the restaurant or bar in the Shard, some people might still be under the impression that you have to pay to go up. There is a £25 charge to simply go to the top via The View, but you might as well just go to one of the bars and get the same view:)
45 mins went by swiftly and we were ushered into the lifts and before you could say Merry Christmas, we were on the 31st floor. Coming out of the lifts, Oblix was to the left and Aqua to the right. The paintings on the wall made the environment a little more welcoming.
Aqua had amazing views of London as to be expected, I could see Tower Bridge, the Gherkin and Tower 42 cruising the skyline in the distance, which looked even better at night, but not very good on camera.
Aqua was much bigger than expected in comparison to Oblix (the other bar and resturant in the shard). As I made my descent into the three-storey high atrium bar, the ambience was inviting and alluring with music emitting from the speakers at just the right volume to enjoy and have a decent conversation.
I had a couple of drinks. The first one was called “It was a very good year” which was made from Sipsmith Sloe Gin, Appleton VX, Campari, Rioja, vanilla, which cost £15 and was not to my liking. I was attracted by the name of the drink, as it made me think of my year so far, and yes it has been a good year.
My second drink Verdena Colada was gorgeous and more exciting, which I originally chose purely for its aesthetic and the fact it was in a coconut, which I love. I was not disappointed, although it messed with my senses a bit, because it was in a coconut and as I took a sip, I was expecting a cooling coconut flavour. But as I sucked on the straw, I was hit with a the taste of raspberry, the familiar taste of orange juice and unexpected taste of jagermeister. All mixed together, made for a heavenly cocktail, in a coconut, served in a martini glass with smoke coming out of the bottom, all contributed to an intriguing presentation and a tasty experience.
Aqua had a great atmosphere, a relaxed non pretentious environment. The crowd was lovely and staff were friendly and helpful and of course you can’t fault the amazing views of London.
I thought that was the end of my experience at Aqua for a while, but I visited the Shard again sooner than expected, as I had an exhibition in the Pod at the renown borough market. So I decided to visit the Shard at lunch time to get a different feel for the place during the day, and of course one could never tire of the amazing views. On this occasion, I got there at 12.30 and yep, there was a queue, but it was only a short wait.
The security team ushered us into the lift, however when we arrived the 31st floor, we were told Aqua was at its fullest capacity, but it must have been my lucky day as the hosting staff let me in. I made my way to the atrium bar and the atmosphere was welcoming and friendly. A little more laid back, as people were more casually dressed, which could be attributed to the time of day.
I made light conversation with the bar staff and enquired how they got the cocktail into the coconut (Verdena Colada) and I was told they made a hole in the coconut using a cockscrew and poured the cocktail in slowly. I ordered a Cappuccino Martini, which was just what I needed to keep me awake. It had a kick, it was intense and smooth and the cream on top definitely made a delightful difference.
As I was sipping my drink, I made my way to the floor to ceiling window. Taking in the sights, the sky was clear blue, without a cloud in sight. Tower 42, the Walkie Talkie Tower and the Gherkin was more visible compared to the night view taken previously.
To my left I could see London Bridge, Southwark Bridge and St Paul’s in the distance.
And to my right was Tower Bridge and the Mayor of London’s Office
Second time round, Aqua was a great experience and equally as good as my first visit. I’ll definitely be visiting again for a meal and the amazing views and perhaps check out the newly opened Shangri-La hotel.
Aqua Bar is open Monday to Sunday – 12pm-1am. No booking required, but entry is subject to its capacity.
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