When I lived in New York I never visited the Empire State Building. And here in Rome I can’t remember the last time I actually entered the Colosseum. But put me in a city not my own and I’m as site hungry as the next person.
While up in London two weeks ago visiting Emma, we had a couple of days to just hang out. Since at this point we’ve visited just about all of the big sites, we decided to do something completely new. High on our list, literally, was the Shard.
Designed by Renzo Piano, this 87 story structure is supposedly the tallest building not only in London, but in Europe. If you’ve been to London recently you’ve probably seen it. You can’t miss it. It’s that tall.
But I’ve kind of got a fear of heights. I can do long elevator rides up tall buildings if forced, but it’s not my idea of fun. And somehow that narrow topped building (that’s why it’s called the Shard) was giving me the heebie jeebies. So as a compromise we stopped halfway up. Not only are there great views out over London, there are also cocktails.
The Aqua Shard is the bar located on the 31st floor. With 3 story floor-to-ceiling windows it is, in my opinion the best way to experience the building. Plus? If you’ve got a height thing like me? The cocktails pretty much make any anxiety you arrived with melt away.
The cocktails were not cheap, but were very well made. From the list of signature gin cocktails we chose the Aqua Shard Martini: Ketel One, Kummel, peach bitters and garnished with grapes. I loved the cuminey flavor, which lent an earthiness to the vodka. For our second round I chose the Hot Tommy, a slightly spicy take on a Margarita served in it’s own tiny watercress stuffed cocktail shaker. Emma, went the fruit route, with a Strawberries and Cream. Too sweet for me, she loved it.
By the time we left the sun was setting over London, bathing London Bridge in a rosy glow and even managing to make some of the horrendous new buildings across the river look not quite so, well, new.
A short walk away we had dinner that was almost entirely oysters (Emma’s favorite) and one last look at the Shard, twinkling high above, before catching the bus back home.
32 London Bridge Street
Open Daily 12pm to 1am.