"A bargain; cheaper than The View from The Shard and with way more Champagne"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
It has one of those names that immediately conjures up images of tacky central London cocktail bars and there is an element of that in the décor but Aqua at The Shard always has its exceptional views to fall back on. Located on the 31st floor of London’s highest tower (at time of writing), it is a swanky bar that echoes hotel bar style rather than the aforementioned tacky London money look. The three-storey atrium bar is certainly a sight with its sleek lines, huge booths and in-house piano but the 180-degree views from the reaching glass windows are why most people are here.
With tickets to The View from The Shard costing upwards of £20, Aqua is a cheaper and more sociable way to enjoy the London skyline - with a glass of wine in hand. The vibe at Aqua is a hard to pinpoint. There is clearly a lot of money flying around from City locals, the odd group of boorish lads (on this occasion at least) and plenty of tourists, which means that while they may have trouble filling the offices and residential spaces, in the bar, not so much.
Tables are unfortunately requisitioned for diners during the evening, which makes sitting down for the evening a game of musical chairs – except without the chance of a present at the end. The formal bar serves cocktails, champagne, wine and a small selection of bottled beers and service is a struggle. After 5pm you’ll almost certainly find a queue waiting for you at the ground floor elevator. And when you reach the 31st floor bar there will be another one. But at least you have the view to fill your thoughts once you’re in.
With two drinks coming in at a fraction of the price it costs to go to the very top of The Shard, Aqua is a bargain. Take a date, go in a group or visit alone for a decadent viewing experience.
T.A.O reviewed Aqua on Fri 28 Mar 2014