For 2015, Bloom Gin has taken over Vista, serving gin cocktails in a garden setting complete with flowers and foliage.
It's high up, Vista, very, very high up, perched on top of The Trafalgar hotel in Trafalgar Square. To get there, you need to walk through the Rockwell Bar, which is big on bourbons, get in the lift and press the button for the sixth floor.
The Trafalgar has always had a rooftop bar, but it’s had a few quid thrown at it and has been smartened up. The bar itself is small and stylish in the way that hotel bars tend to be. Lots of black wicker and flashes of white, scatter cushions and a manicured herb garden. The lead lining the rooftop walls slightly undermines the air of sophistication, while the hubbub from the streets below and the hum from the air conditioning vent are drowned out by the dulcet drone of ‘Bland Bar Grooves Vol IV’ or some similarly forgettable compilation album. But, let’s face it, the views are most definitely the news here.
Nelson’s Column spears the skyline to your left, there’s the London Eye straight ahead, you’ll find Big Ben at two o’clock and the brutal-looking Barbican beyond. As views go, it’s a pretty impressive one – especially as the sun sets – but you have to stand up or sit upright on the stool to get the whole experience. Check before you go to make sure it’s not booked out for a function.
The drinks are tailored for tourists and expense accounts. A bottle of Rekordelig cider for £5.50, a 50ml measure of house spirit with mixer weighed in at over eight quid (or £106 for the bottle), cocktails over a tenner and the house wine, Errazuriz, came in at £25. It’s pretty expensive here and you’re clearly paying for the views as well as the booze.
Food is dominated by dainty dishes rather than full-on feasts. Light bites include whitebait with tartare sauce and mixed bruschetta, there are salads priced from £13 to £14 and small dishes to ‘take with Champagne’ such as gravadlax with pumpernickel bread and figs wrapped in Parma ham. Plates to share are generous but, even so, £15 for baked camembert and crusty bread seems, much like the view as you peer over the edge, really rather steep.