Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars London
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Gong (© James Bedford)
© James Bedford

Time out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com

Gong (© James Bedford)
© James Bedford

Time out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com

Gong (© James Bedford)
© James Bedford
Gong (© James Bedford)
© James Bedford

Time 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


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

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Anna E

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.

Jim B

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! 

Teodora T

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.