The last place you’d normally want to be during a cloudburst would be huddled under a parasol on an open rooftop. Surprisingly, not only was this where I was last Wednesday, but I was absolutely relishing it.
This unusual display of stiff-upperness on my part (and about ten other foolhardy individuals), was no doubt thanks to our spectacular location at the Vista roof bar in the Trafalgar Hotel – the photo above really doesn’t do it justice – and their very splendid hospitality.
The Trafalgar’s roof bar is long established but Vista is its latest incarnation and this time they’re going all out to make the most of the space. They’re wise to do so, as Vista probably has the best view of any bar in London. Further expansion is planned, with an open kitchen, double the seating place and a winter dome. It’s criminal waste not to capitalise on the space but, and this is a really big ‘but’, the management are so much in agreement on this point that they charge £5 merely for access.
In principle I am against a door charge, unless I get entertainment in return, and it’s a moot point if the fantastic view qualifies as entertainment. Either way, this charge would certainly prevent me from suggesting Vista as a casual meeting point with friends.
On the other hand, the impeccable service, the light but sophisticated cocktails evocative of summer in an English garden, the sense of luxury and not least, the passion with which the concept has been put together means it’s a good choice for birthday treats and special occasions (and those with expense accounts). What’s more, I can’t think of a better spot at which to show off the beauties of London to visitors – the view incorporates Westminster, the London Eye and all of Trafalgar Square. Standing practically eye to eye with Nelson, you could just about reach over and shake his hand.
Drinks are priced at a fairly high end of the spectrum, reflecting the clientele they seem to be aiming for but nonetheless both were reasonable value given the quality. Particular favourites were the Rooftop Royale (£15 Champagne, apple schnapps, fresh lemon juice and rosemary syrup) and a superlatively fresh Watermelon Cooler (£10 Watermelon muddled with Absolut Vanilla Vodka and a vanilla infused sugar syrup), which was by far the best watermelon based drink I’ve tasted.
Cap all this with a double rainbow and it’s easy to see why I was wooed into overlooking a door charge. I’ll be interested to see how this ultimate summer location transforms itself into a winter destination.
Other roof bars in London