AT A GLANCE:
🍴 Type/Cuisine: Cocktail bar
📍 Location: Level 52, Shangri-La London Hotel, The Shard
🗣 Social: Facebook; Instagram
💸 Price: £17-20 per cocktails
🌏 Website: https://www.the-shard.com/restaurants/gong/
When something is located in the lofty heights of the Shard, you know it’s going to be exclusive. So, when GONG bar is one of them, it’s without a doubt one of London’s premium bars. But is it worth it?
WESTERN EUROPE’S HIGHEST HOTEL BAR & SEXY AS
Located within the swanky surrounding of the Shangri-La London hotel, GONG is high up on level 52 and is Western Europe’s highest hotel bar. It took no time to get up there and on arrival, I saw a low-lit penthouse with welcoming staff ready to take me to my seat from the moment I stepped out of the lifts.
It’s stating the obvious but, when you’re that high up, the view is the first thing to captivate anyone. Like any penthouse, it’s made up of two seductive chambers: a cocktail bar, and a champagne bar. Every corner of the bar oozes class. Scarlet red stools, low tables with tea lights, sexy grey marble from floor to ceiling everywhere. And the dark setting makes it so easy to forget about everyone else and maintain that feeling of exclusivity.
The bar menu makes for neat reading and cocktails take its inspiration from history’s most revolutionary inventions like the helicopter, the compass and the hot air balloon. For example, The ‘Cooperman’ is an aperitif with tropical notes and a hint of oak, a tribute to the celts who invented the wooden barrel to haul goods. It arrived in a miniature Japanese sake barrel. For any fan of quirky cocktails, this one for you.
You’d expect everything to be top-notch at GONG bar and it is. But top marks have to go to Jordan, Aimee and the team at GONG bar one the best of service I’ve ever received. If you ask, they’ll go the extra mile to accommodate date and tell you all about the bar.
GOOD TO KNOW
My experience tells me that the best time to visit is at sunset. It means you London during the day and the city twinkling at night as your evening gets longer.
Best seats in the house are, of course, by the windows. GONG does accept walk-ins but booking ahead is, of course, recommended since seats are subject to availability and window seats are never guaranteed. There is no dress code but you’d want to smarten up just a little bit because it is a special occasion when you visit a place like this.
So, is it worth it? Well, that depends.
I was charmed by the inventiveness and presentation of the cocktails. But with cocktails starting £17, it is a pricey affair. Cocktails connoisseurs of London will be able to point you to a hundred other bars where you can get better cocktails at cheaper prices.
But for your money, you also get a view and service that many bars won’t match. The GONG is a special place for the most special of occasions. Treat yourself once in a while.
✨ DECOR AMBIENCE: 5/5.
🤵🏻 SERVICE: 5/5
🍸 FOOD: NA
🌟 OVERALL: 4½/5
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