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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sky Bar, Westminster



A uniformed ‘air hostess’ (pole dancer? Albania's Eurovision entry?) shows us into a new cocktail spot. As far as a film of grime on the windows permits, the views from Millbank Tower’s 29th floor impress . ‘Wow!’ we gush giddily for fully five minutes before, all coo-ed out and done with drooling over the giant erection that is The Shard, we turn our attention to Sky Bar itself. Membership here costs £2,500, but for twenty notes, you too can temporarily join whoever might fancy a night in an anodyne shiny, white box with op-Art furniture and colour wash lighting. I'm guessing dictators’ sons, oily-garchs and vajazzled bimbos. Lindsay Lowlife has lived the high life within and Jack Tweed  has graced the lofty pile with his stellar presence, as has his bezzie, pie and mash-faced cock of Ilford East, Mark The Only Way Is Essex Wright, I hear. ‘Ideal for a big fat gypsy wedding reception’ sniffs Milanese fashion designer friend, loftily. For my £2,500, I’d expect the bar to have tomato juice. No joy. On-the-wagon date agrees to mineral water. It’s served in a plastic beaker. Classy! I’m intrigued by Salt and ‘Peper’ cocktail, 'Crystal' and ‘Amand de Brignon’ champagne (£400). Is that supermarket own brand or do they mean Armand de Brignac? Maybe any profits can go towards a swift reprint of a menu littered with howlers? Are Sky Bar's cocktails worth £12.50 (service excluded)? Search me!  I have to put up with prosecco bellini from a bar besieged. Lukewarm, astringent, pointless, it languishes unloved. We sit contemplating ice buckets (pictured) devoid of champagne that will never come. Hold on! What's this? I set off like Usain Bolt in pursuit of a quartet comely martinis I've spotted on a waiter's tray a hundred metres distant, only to be told they are for guests at a dinner that is happening behind closed, guarded doors. Somebody says Shayne Ward is at a table. But so far as I can see, even he's not in the house tonight.  F***** off, we flee. For cocktails with killer views in cooler surroundings, take your £20 to Paramount atop Centrepoint. New Labour’s 1997 victory was celebrated at Millbank Tower. That night’s anthem occurs to me: Things Can Only Get Better. Over a bottle of cheap red at Pizza Express next door, things finally do.
29th Floor Millbank Tower, 21 - 24 Millbank SW1P 4QP 0845 500 2929