As I’m happy drinking Sainsbury’s Cava at £5.50, it was painful to pay £50 for Cava in the “Radio Rooftop Bar”:http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/london/me-london/radio-rooftop-bar.html at the “ME London Hotel”:http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/london/me-london/index.html.
Having seen Imelda Staunton in the highly-acclaimed “Gypsy”:http://www.gypsythemusical.uk/ at the Savoy Theatre, we wanted post-matinee drinks and nibbles nearby. This is not a bar you can simply walk into. Dark-suited men imposingly flanked the doorway and, having ensured we met their dress code (Trendy and Casual – no sportswear or sports trainers), the crimson rope was pulled aside. After being told that all tables were reserved, they pointed us in the direction of the lift where we were met by a black-clad woman with earpiece. A lift immediately arrived removing the dilemma ‘should we press the button ourselves?’ We thought we were going to be accompanied, but the girl put her key into a pad inside the lift, stepped out and left us to whizz up to the 10th floor.
We were greeted at a podium, and led to a central bar in a modern, cleverly designed, triangular-shaped, glass atrium with outdoor terrace. It appeared to be standing room only, so we decided to have a quick drink. But before we had chance to order, stools were vacated which we grabbed and we agreed on a bottle.
By 6pm, the bar was rapidly filling up and, not wanting to lose our seats, we took it in turns to view the panoramic views from the terrace. We loved looking down into the courtyard of Somerset House where we’d both worked in the past for the ‘tax man’.
Although it was late September, it had been a glorious day and the sunset was stunning with shades of bright orange and red.
Nibbles were ordered. Seven fat, golden chips were stacked Jenga style on a grey slate, three sweet dates were stuffed with stilton and wrapped in crisp bacon and cigar size cheese and ham croquettes had deliciously squidgy centres. It wasn’t a feast, but the flavours were good and more importantly, they were some of the cheaper items on the menu at around £7 each.
Our fellow guests perfectly fitted the bar’s description – ‘an exclusive and select venue with an upbeat vibe, offering a selection of premium tapas and the finest cocktails’. Whilst this is ‘the’ place for young, city types earning fat salaries, two middle-aged ‘girls’ on pensions felt equally comfortable.
Before leaving, we ventured out onto what was by now a chilly terrace to identify lit-up landmarks: the Gherkin, Shard, St Paul’s and the new ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building.
This is definitely not a cheap experience, but seeing London’s skyline by day and night was memorable. Equally, I will not forget paying £1 a chip when I can get a bag at my local chippie for the same price! You cannot take Yorkshire out of the girl.