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Gong

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Borough and London Bridge
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
Special Offers
Gong (© James Bedford)
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© James BedfordTime out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com
Gong (© James Bedford)
2/4
© James BedfordTime out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com
Gong (© James Bedford)
3/4
© James Bedford
Gong (© James Bedford)
4/4
© James BedfordTime out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com

A couple of years ago, the chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Tim Johnson, said that it was theoretically possible to build a skyscraper two miles high. The Shard, at 306m (0.19 miles) would be a piddling low-rise in comparison, and its bar-at-the-top Gong nothing special. For now, though, it’s the tallest in Western Europe. But is it almost too tall? Halfway up, where ascenders must change lifts, the city below seems more dazzling in its HD detail; here on the 52nd floor, you’ll spend a lot of time toiling to pick out landmarks.

But there’s no question it’s still spectacular. Whichever side you sit on, you’ll be rewarded with views stretching to the South Downs, or Canary Wharf and beyond, or the hills of north Middlesex. That glorious panorama is the reason to visit – Gong’s service certainly isn’t, and the cocktails, while competent, are dizzyingly expensive.
A Lost Horizon, made with Kamm & Sons London bitters and cream, was perfectly pretty with its flower garnish and perfectly acceptable too, but for £17 I’d want the elixir of eternal life. A Bermondsey Bubbles was better, made with Jensen’s gin, rose liqueur and champagne, although still didn’t leave much change from a 20-pound-note.

There’s no point pretending: Londoners could get better food, drinks and service a few hundred metres lower at far less indecent prices. Drinking in tall buildings has always carried with it a premium – and here that’s taken to Himalayan heights.

By: Euan Ferguson

Posted:

Venue name: Gong
Contact:
Address: Level 52, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street
London
SE1 9SY
Opening hours: Open 5pm-2am Mon-Sat; 5pm-midnight Sun
Transport: Tube: London Bridge tube/rail
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|7
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Tastemaker

A bar for special occasions.


Located 54 levels in the plush setting of the Shangri-La hotel inside the Shard, GONG bar is a premium cocktail bar in London.


Service was world class and the drinks were inventive. The menu makes for neat reading. Cocktails were inspired by transformative inventions such as a helicopter, the barcode and the electric guitar. The presentation is quirky and pays homage to these revolutionary inventions. 


Needless to say, the views were spectacular offering views of the City,  Canary Wharf and beyond.


GONG bar accepts walk-ins but booking a table ahead is highly recommended to maximize your chance of getting the best seat in the house i.e. by the windows. Ensure you visit at sunset when you get to see London beneath you at day and night.


The only sticking point is the price. At £17-20 per cocktail, this is way out of many Londoner's budgets. There are bars and cocktails that are cheaper and tastier. But at the GONG you're paying for incredible service and phenomenal use in addition to your cocktail. This is a bar for very special occasions. 

tastemaker

A beautiful view of London from Gong and The Shard in general. Still my favourite place to get a good glimpse of the city! The bar isn't too large, which is great for something more intimate but equally suitable for families and friends. My friend and I went for cocktails off the new Director's Cut menu and I had the Tea With Daisy. This came in a beautiful box with the cocktail sitting inside. It was well done in terms of presentation - the ice cube was perfectly circular and filled the glass just right. In terms of taste, it was also delicious - not too sweet, and I could taste the flavours and alcohol. I liked that they immediately served bar snacks while we browsed the menu. We had a selection of spicy Asian crackers, seasoned almonds, olives, and crispbread. The service was quick and even though there were no window seats when we arrived, we were given one the minute it was available. 

tastemaker

Guess who spent their birthday here! Yup .. Moi..

So it gets 5 stars for the view ... Obviously... Overlooking all of London with a cocktail in hand will never be a bad thing. The decor is like Chinese emperor meets moulin rouge... Dark hues and rich ruby reds! Very comfortable.. It was hard to leave!!!

My only complaint is that I don't think their cocktails are good enough for the £18 a pop price.. I've had some amazing ones in the past at the langham and they were expertly executed but I felt like these were all looks and not much substance. Disappointing yes but the view and the birthday platter of chocolates they so graciously brought me was lovely.... Would I go back? Yes! Why? Because it was lovely!!! I should warn you though.. All cocktails even classics are £18 so come prepared 😊 also you have to wait your turn to be seated by the windows as you can imagine they are coveted spots.

Also there's a pool ;) closes at 23:00pm


Gong is a stunning bar about 50 storeys from the ground. They do have a minimum cover charge of £30pp, but their cocktails come with a lovely view. Mine also came with a lollipop with a grasshopper in it (gross, but novel!), and though you're not supposed to take glassware into the infinity pool area, after 20:00 you're allowed to sit out there, so we asked the waiter to keep an eye on our things while we ventured out for a relaxing moment by the blue water.

If £30 already seems expensive enough, do like we did - get olives and coffee with petit fours instead of a second £17+ drink.

I totally enjoyed Gong, but I would choose Aqua Shard to it any day. This one is classy, but Aqua's got the jazz and the nicer, all-encompassing views.

Tastemaker

Don't be intimidated by getting into GONG, it has a door person on the ground floor because the bar is so small they have to manage the numbers, but it is open to all with no bookings required. If you do manage to get a spot, obviously the best place to sit is by the window, but a seat at the bar is also great getting to watch the superstar bar staff at work. 

The cocktails are expensive and there is a £30 per head minimum charge- but its cheaper than the shard viewing platform and you get a couple of drinks in the price. The cocktails are stunning and beautifully created and i would recommend coming here for treat at least once. You also may get a glimpse of the highest pool in western europe which is just next to the bar and is part of the hotel- its simply breathtaking.


Gong was great - £30 per head minimum charge (for a 90 min slot) means it's a treat but the view is worth it. As you'd expect! 


Great view (if you're lucky to be sat by the right side of the window that is!), good selection of wines. Set menu was good but more impressed with the dessert and starter than the main. Impeccable customer service but not recommended if you'd like to have a chilled conversation and relax - constantly interrupted by the waiter, too much "is everything alright?" kind of questions.

Special Offers

Champagne with a view: £90

...enjoy champagne afternoon tea accompanied by a fast track ticket to 'The View' at the pinnacle of the Shard. Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 20 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service. Valid For: 1 - 20 People Daily 12:00PM-4:00PM

Offer valid until Nov 30 2019

Champagne with a view: £150

Guaranteed window table for two at the highest bar in Western Europe. Enjoy a chilled bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut whilst taking in the views of the river Thames and Tower Bridge from the 52nd floor of the iconic Shard building. £25pp charge will be taken should the guest cancel with less than 24 hours notice. Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 2 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service. Valid For: 2 - 2 People Mon-Thu 12:00PM-11:00PM

Offer valid until Sep 26 2019

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