When I go out, I have a strong, strong preference for down-to-earth places that serve great food and are a relaxed place for a drink.
But…every now and then…it is nice to go to something of a landmark bar. And this is very much the case with Vertigo 42, located at the top of one of the tallest buildings in the City. As you can see, from street level, it’s a long, long way up. A whole 42 floors.
Now, this is not the sort of place that I would normally drop into for a casual drink. This is in part because you need to book ahead, but also because this is a champagne and cocktail bar, with the sort of prices that you would expect from this sort of venue in the middle of London’s financial centre. You get the point…
All that said, the whole reason for going is that it does offer some of the most amazing views across London, especially on a clear day as the sun is setting. You can gaze at the Shard of Glass that is being built on the south bank of the Thames, admire the sun setting over west London (and really understand what prompted to Kinks to write their famous hit) and take in the London Eye, Tate Modern and Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral. Towards the east, you can see the towers of Canary Wharf and the nearby 30 St Mary’s Axe (better known as the Gherkin).
You can see below why I recommend getting there as the sun is setting – you’ll see London in the daylight, then enjoy the sun setting and seeing the city light up in front of your eyes. Even at these prices, the views are stunning.
After all that boozing at the top of the tower, a little wander through the chilly streets was much-needed before going off to dinner. To put it all in context, this is the more familiar view of St Paul’s Cathedral at night.
Would I go back? Well, as I said, it’s not a place for a casual drink, but great to visit or impress guests. Just be aware that the best views are for twos or fours (towards Waterloo – sunsets! landmarks!) so be sure to extract a guarantee about where you’re sitting if at all possible. Be prepared for a hefty bar tab, but remember – those views!
Vertigo 42, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ. Tel: 0207 877 7842. Tube: Bank or Liverpool Street.
LondonEats locations map here.