Something has gone terribly wrong with this place. I started going here when the hotel opened and it was a great place to hang out - especially in the summer. The last couple of times that I have been there the crowd had changed and one of my business associates actually got propositioned by a hooker. This was all highly embarrassing. I will be avoiding this place from now on. I am not sure what the door policy is but it does not work for me as a place to hang out any longer. London is full of truly great places and the Radio Bar is no longer one of them.
Radio Rooftop Bar
Radio Rooftop Bar
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Apr 8 2013
By Euan Ferguson
The name Radio derives from the location – a grand art deco edifice once known as Marconi House, but now the fancy ME London hotel. From here, the first BBC programming was broadcast in 1922. Radio is on the roof, ten floors up, where the transmission aerials once stood.
Ignore the ME hotel’s official statement, which undersells it somewhat by saying this is ‘the only rooftop bar, lounge and terrace in the Strand and Aldwych area to be open throughout the day till late.’ It’s better than that – if only because of the view. What you can’t see from up here isn’t worth its place on the London skyline.
The terrace is equipped with big sofas and space heaters, and mainly faces south: there’s the Oxo Tower and the Palace of Westminster Elizabeth Tower (the new official name for what most people still call Big Ben). Straight ahead is a side-on view of the Eye, over to the east is St Paul’s, the Gherkin, One Canada Square. And, of course, the Shard – but that doesn’t count, because you can probably see that everywhere from Carshalton to High Barnet.
The bar attached to this view is great too – if you ignore the last ten years’ worth of bar craft, bar design and innovation in beverages. It’s as if speakeasies, craft beer, cocktails in jam jars and the down-and-dirty Brooklyn thing never happened. Instead, this is a sleek, glammed-up, ‘Sex and the City’ destination for long-legged model types and ski-holiday-brochure chaps with unseasonal tans. A man with a clipboard decides where you can sit; a DJ keeps it upbeat.
The global ‘tapas’ menu advertises scotch eggs, wagyu beef sliders and mac ’n’ cheese. This is a scene, but even if you don’t feel part of it, a visit here is worthwhile for the view. Plus – it’s open till 3am at the weekend, although you might have to queue.
Average User Rating
1.7 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:34
A lesson in how NOT to do customer service. How NOT to do anything in fact! Went there with friends at 7p.m. on a Thursday to a huge queue. After 20 minutes, queue hadn't budged and everyone was starting to get agitated, before the number of people leaving the queue was matched by the number joining. Brilliant way to waste time standing in the cold on a Thursday! So decided I'd try booking next time. Automated announcement advised me I was 4th in line and two minutes to wait. Ten minutes later I was second in the queue, and after another five minutes was listening to an effeminate voice repeating "Thank you for calling Radio Rooftop Bar. Our reservations team will be with you as soon as possible. Thank you for continuing to hold" ad nauseaum. Gave up. Tried a few hours later and got through after "three minutes" (25 minutes actually!) and was told there would be a £100/person minimum spend required for a reservation. My reply. "F*ck off".
I wish I had read these reviews before trying to get in last night. We were turned away because they "only accepted mixed groups". We were a gay couple and another male friend. Hardly a stag party. Certainly won't be going anywhere near that hotel again.
Stunning views of London, lovely white sofas and yummy cocktails. Great when the weather is lovely, especially at sunset. Normal London prices. Also was great as we didn't have a table reservation but got one straight away. The staff are really friendly and accomodating which makes a change to London bars.
One of the Best Rooftop Bar is London has to be the Doubletree Hilton Tower of London, I stayed at the hotel there for 2 night while was vising a friends over the weekend. Me and my cousin went too the rooftop bar and the view was immense and the staff was very friendly and looking after me very as I was in the wheelchair. Allot of the other bars and hotel in London tent fob me away because they don't want a disabled person in a posh exclusive bar or night club they think It would lower the ambiance o the bar and its cliental.
Went with some overseas clients after a business lunch. After being asked by the rude manager to drink water (we had only shared 3 bottles of wine between 6!), they said we were too loud, we werent! Their next option was to have six burly bouncers surround us and inform us we had to leave otherwise we would be physically removed. I am been working/drinking in London for 25 years and this bar has visions of grandeur, which cant be backed up with service. We moved over to SushiSamba which was much more pleaseant. Their are plenty of other IT places to be seen that beat this hands down.Avoid at all costs
I agree with 1 star comments as we could not get in + rude door attenders told booking needed a month in advance – forget it !!! Went to Shard instead view was amazing service ok.
If you like queuing or being given claptrap excuses and refused entry this is for you. Trouble is its not the Ministry and its not 1994. Someone should tell the trio on the door... This used to be a bank. Monday evening, not busy, colleagues upstairs had a table with 2 spare chairs. We were not admitted at 6ish on the basis it was full (which it wasnt ), and a party of 29 people were about to arrive ( absolute bull given one supposedly cant book for more than 12 - and we have tried before). We wont be back even though we work over the road. I hope in the depths of midwinter the chap with the clipboard still has a job. No burnt ego just realised a long time ago life is too short - you can experience the view on the website.
Great bar, just don't ask if the toilet is ready to clean or you will get asked to leave. Yes, really, that's what happened to me! Better views at the rooftop bar at double tree. Please do not spend your valuable cash here!
What the OMG.....Called to book a table, option - £100 spend per person for lunch....eh no thanks, just would like a light lunch and leave and take in some views of London.....Poor service.......defo will not be going back...
Some of the most gorgeous views of London, beautiful cocktails and the most amazing Wagu Beef sliders I've ever eaten. Still reminiscing now. Only down side you can't book a table for more than 12 people, so any big birthdays, forget about it.
I was absolutely appalled by the door staff's rude and unacceptable attitude! They don't know how to treat customers. Iv been to many bars clubs and hotels around London but have never had such despicable treatment...ABSOLUTELY AWFUL!
I'd love to know how they've wound up with a three star rating on here. Doesn't hat suggests that over 50 percent of people gave it a good review? Maybe I've got too much time on my hands, but out of the 32 reviews below, 25 people gave them 1 star, 2 gave 2 stars, 2 - 3 stars, 0 - 4 stars and 3 - 5 stars. As a percentage that's 78% giving 1 star and only 9% giving 5 stars. Mmm. I know where I won't be going for a rooftop bar experience. Can't stand pretentious places full of people out to be seen to be cool. Pathetic. Another one star coming up ;-)
Great location and views - great potential but somehow does not live up to expectation, mainly due to service. I was allowed in after witnessing others being turned away, presumably because I was a smartly dressed solo female. I definitely got the vibe that its about how you look. And then the bar - I have drunk in a lot of smart and not-so-smart places but I have NEVER been charged upfront for service while ordering a drink at the bar! Its a smart place so I accept higher prices but I could not believe it when I examined my receipt to find that the £10.13 I was asked to pay for my G&T actually included £1.13 service! Call me pedantic but I think that IS rather cheeky, especially as the drink was ordered and served at the bar. Ambivalent about returning....
Highly pretentious crowd, poor quality staff and service, views are great but the bar does not complement this with its service, you have a much better experience at Aqua the Shard, Franks rooftop, Queen of Hoxton etc..
I hope you guys are reading all the negative comments and I was wondering what are you doing about it? You've got a lovely view but you need to look after your customer.
Doesn't deserve one star, rude door staff, pretentious place, try 'Franks Bar' in Peckham, or 'Madisons' rooftop bar at one new change... at least everyone is welcome there..
I always wonder when reading negative reviews where the hurt egos end and real facts start. With regards to the Radio Rooftop Bar I sadly have to agree with only 50% of the comments simply because after 2 & ½ hour queue (FACT) we were denied the view of this ‘sleek, glammed-up, ‘Sex and the City’ destination’. I have now learnt that ‘bar at full capacity’ is a better word to turn the ‘unwanted’ away – how else would you explain the door staff still letting friends and ‘fabulous people’ jumping a queue of mostly tired and yet still smiling ‘commoners’? After 1 and ½ hour wait, my friend and I were next in line to become fashionable immortals and finally join the gods sipping cocktails in this brand new Olympus of Aldwich. One more hour went by and not a sign, nor a word, or even eye contact from the tall lady at the door holding the clipboard and sharing jokes with her colleagues. She also decided that it was absolutely acceptable to turn her back to us for most of the time and leave us to wonder whether she would ever unlock the cord between us and the most pretentious entrance to a bar I have ever come across in my life. The rest of the experience you can gather from other people that have actually managed to cross that line……alas I was not one of the lucky immortals to be chosen to grace this current bastion of coolness. It is now my mission to make sure that my –dreadful- experience of the Radio Rooftop Bar ‘entrance’ is shared with everyone I know. Places like this kill the spirit of London, a city where the very diversity of its people creates the exceptional experience that is London…Do the ‘only-fabulous ghettos’ have a place in this? Perhaps they do but I don’t think I will be wasting any more of my time to experience what they think they have to offer!
In my opinion the staff are rude and the general clientele were pretentious people who think a lot of themselves. Far better roof top bars to go, like the roof top bar at one new change, great views there with far friendlier staff and people who don love themselves quite so much.
omg i went there last night im so shocked that the door staff and hosts are unpleasant and rude no offence i was bring them customers shocking i work in the security industry my self and have my own business and if my staff were rude to customers they wont last long they all need customer service training and smile dont bring personal problems to work im suprised its still open people want to enjoy their night out also awfull you cant book on line as the buttons on when you get there the it full ?
After reading these reviews, I wouldnt even bother... Fancy going somewhere where you are expected to feel honoured to get into, how outdated. I would take my money to Scotts, Rules or Galvin La Chapelle. Vote with your feet people.
Amazing looking bar but THE rudest doorman/bouncers I have ever encountered in London. I have worked as a guest list manager for a couple of top clubs, so I have met a few extremely rude doormen in my time, but nothing on this scale. The arrogance of most of the staff actually was breathtaking. However, the bar is stunning and especially during a lovely summers evening. If you can get passed the awful staff.
7 of us decided to meet here for drinks. 4 of us arrived at 18:00 and managed to secure a table that would easily accommodate our group. There was lots of staff but we had to ask 3 times for someone to come and take our wine order. Finally we ordered. At 18:15 the rest of our party arrived but were told the bar is at full capacity and they cannot join us. Our table was half empty, the bar was certainly not full - really??!!. Still no wine had arrived. One of us went down to try and explain our situation but the aloof staff really didin't care and whilst it seemed others came and went, our last 3 were left standing out in the street.. Finally the wine arrived but we were left with no choice than to power drink the wine and leave to join to our excluded friends. We will not be comining here again.
The low quality staff contrive to spoil a fabulous bar, and ruined what could have been a great night out. New management definetely required.
My girlfriend and I didn't get in because the bar was "at capacity". I really don't mind a strict door policy, but I do mind being turned away from a bar on the basis that it's apparently "full", particularly when our friends are inside saying that it's half empty... I'm sure that ME is aesthetically pleasing, but avoid at all cost! Complete joke.
Fabulous! Lovely staff who always so friendly and chatty, yummy sliders and light bites, fantastic views and great music. Bit annoying that they always say it's at capacity unless you know 'someone', but I suppose they have to keep the clientele right. A must for any trendy Londoner!
Beware of the minimum £100 per head spend on Bottles. So you EACH have to buy a bottle for £100 (cocktails and food are not included)
Dreadful service. Rude staff. Stuck up over priced and not going to last long in London if they don't change their ways.
Just tried to reserve a seat for drinks and puddings tomorrow - Got told It has a min spend of £100 Per Person! Thats ridiculous!
Horrible! just horrible attitude! from everyone, from the doorman to bartender! Even great views like that do not help the situation in any way. Bad experience starts right from the elevator entrance. I had a reservation for 20! people, booked a private booth, some pretentious doorman told me to wait and told me it Is full capacity! waited for half an hour, at the same time different people kept coming in! I do not understand how can they work like this! Turned around and went to cannon bridge gardens, had a marvellous time. I hope the Me group will realise what a mistake they are making by letting staff treat customers this way!
Absolutely outrageous, rood and disgusting staff! I came to ask to have a look at the terrace as I wanted to book it for a big party. The man at the door told me its full capacity, I tried to be nice and explain that I just need few minutes to see the space again so I would be sure I could accommodate all my guests. I got very rood response from the host and there is nothing that could be done. I absolutely do not understand how is even possible that the HOST, the first person you see when you come to the venue could be that rood! I will absolutely will never go there again, despite the great views as there is nothing good about this place, the cocktails are dated and bland, made with cheap juices from concentrate, arrogant bartenders and waitresses and very strange Croydon of people who hang out in this place. Absolutely horrible experience, went to sushisamba after, had much better experience. I will do everything so people know how the staff treats guests there!
Stuck up waitresses, overpriced poor drinks. OK if you are rich and want to be seen. Nice view though. The lady at the door needs more clothes.
Very Rude gate keepers and staff. Beautiful view. Definitely a place for those of alternative life style. Management doesn't know what a diamond in the rough they have.
WOW!! Love this view and love this bar. Yes it’s hard to get in, but if you dress nice, (no need to be “posh” just authentic; the audience is various, from very posh ladies and to totally crazy “artists” in sneakers) and book in advance, you will get in. Regards the stuff on the door, au contraire to all the previous comments, very courteous and helpful. If you need anything, just ask the lovely brunet Lady on the door, she is your “man” for everything.
Dissapointed at the stadard lack of respect the staff give their customers. I would advise anyone thinking about heading to this bar to give is a miss and stay away. Poor customer service and the management must have just left school. (primary) London has more to offer. 1/10
Cool view but rude staff and full of pretentious tools really let this place down. I don't need someone who's job it is to stand in front of a door to look me up and down to decide whether I'm cool enough to get in - seriously, drop the attitude - everyone coming to your door has a better job than you!
Hard to get in ? Yes, but like all that kind of places. Once you know and accept that it's ok. Be patient, book several days before and that would be fine. Food is really good, music is good (lounge,house) staff is lovely, the view is amazing, and prices are more than very honest (this is a 5* hotel rooftop bar). Nothing to say for this place, I love it. But don't come without a confirmed reservation thinking you'll have a red carpet at the door because you won't get in...
First of all it was very difficult to get through to radio bar, but when I did this is what happened.... Tried to make a reservation for Radio Bar for my engagement party for Friday May 10th and was told that they don't take reservations on Friday it is too busy. Decided to move the party to a Thursday night so I called again and was now told outright they don't do any reservations only walk ins. Frustrated as I was, fine, if that was their policy then I had to have my party elsewhere. But what really infuriated me is that I called back today Weds 5th of June to check that I could walk in and I was told that they are FULLY BOOKED!! So what is it? do you take bookings or not? It is a different answer depending on who you talk to or which day it is .. Spoke to a senior manager of the reservations team, but he could not offer any sort better customer experience whatsoever ... basically admitting they they have been trial-ing different policies. Forget it, these people have no idea what they are doing.
I was initially excited about the Radio bar, which I chanced upon with some colleagues last week. Promptly seated at around 7pm, without a reservation (no reservations until 9pm inside, and none at any time outside, unless the whole thing is booked for an event), I've since realised how lucky I was to get in at all. The venue was booked for private/corporate events at post-work hours on both my second and third evening attempts to visit (the first time at 6pm, the second at 5pm on another day). People that were turned away on the Wednesday promptly flocked back to join an excessively long queue at 7pm the same evening when the bar re-opened its doors for non-private-event attendees. The dressed-all-in-black staff were courteous, but slightly unclear as to when the various private events would end, and quite frankly whilst it's nice to have a view, and their rose wine selection was of good quality, being turned away twice in a row does put one off a place somewhat, when there are so many other options in London. A friend speculated that they are actively trying to cultivate an image of exclusivity, rather than genuinely inundated with customers, but the queue of people waiting at 7pm was certainly sufficient to have filled their outdoor space, which is why I opted to enjoy a drink elsewhere, rather than stand in a queue whilst others enjoyed theirs. If you get turned away you could do worse than to head over to Tom's Terrace on the other side of Somerset House (you can cut straight through, if there's not an event on). You're slightly more likely to get a seat there (though only slightly!), they have addictive nibbles (try the nuts), riverside views and the usual sort of drink selection.