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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Bar at Oxo Tower

Switching the bar at OXO Tower from the back to the front of the iconic building means that where once perfect Manhattans came with less than perfect views of drab inner city London sprawl, (aka, the arse end of Southwark), you now get historic London's spectacular riverside panorama from the art deco tower's modern, glass-fronted, eight floor, belvedere. Come Spring, outside tables will be at a premium but in tonight’s blizzard conditions, the effect is akin to drinking inside one of those tacky touristy plastic snow domes of St.Paul’s. Magical! While clumpy citron tub chairs and a mirror mosaic back bar (why am I thinking Topps Tiles?) don't impress, drinks do: tequila new fashioned and ‘a most unusual cucumber sour’ are typically well-executed calls at £9.95. But while I appreciate London Calling (a twin gin martini with orange bitters), the question is Should I Stay, Or Should I Go? It’s a crush and unless you’ve booked, courteous staff show you to stools at a glass and steel partition that screams ‘display fixture at a dull German airport's duty free shop’. Otherwise, expect standing room only. Points off too for no free nibbles; £4.50 for a bowl of caper berries? Are things really so tight at owners Harvey Nics’ hallowed food halls? As for negotiating discarded backpacks and an occupied buggy that clutter an already crowded room? Wailing babies might work at aperitivo hour - served on skewers and with free dip.

OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank 7803 3888