My determination to try Jason Atherton’s new City Social, the City Social Bar was my first opportunity, so the restaurant will have to wait till a later date. Not having managed to meet up with friends since my Bhutan Photographic trip with Amala Destinations the pre-arranged meet date was made without settling on a venue – so it was my luck that we decided on (or perhaps I did) City Social Bar.
Being 24 stories up Tower 42 in the City of London, I looked forward to the sunset views over London that would be enjoyed while catching up and trying out the various cocktails. The City of London is very quiet over the weekends so I had hoped the City Social Bar would not be so busy.
Tower 42 also houses Vertigo42 Champagne Bar which is reached through the main entrance. City Social on the other hand has it’s own entrance on the side. I am sure everyone makes the same mistake and the security guards must be tired of informing visitors that miss the signs for the separate City Social entrance. However, at least we got to admire some sculpture and “rode” the escalators.
Upon entering the correct entrance, which was an immediate difference from the bright exterior, being dark and with a clubby feel, you are greeted by a very bubbly usher showing you to the lifts that would take you directly to the 24 floor. Exiting the lifts, I wasn’t immediately drawn to the entrance of City Social (directly left) but nevertheless when you enter and are greeted warmly, the low lighting of the restaurant and bar immediately sent a “chill out” message – so we did! Shown to our wonderful round table with a view of the Shard and the Gherkin, we “chilled out” only to have our waiter prompt us to order our cocktails.
One of the nice little things which I like, that the lobby bar at The London Edition does, as well as Pollen Street Social bar, is when you arrive, you are immediately served a glass of water each. This is a custom very much like in Singapore.
Bar cocktail menus distributed, we settled to decide what to try! Quite distracted by the names given to the cocktails, we took rather longer at making our choices, so first up were: Cocchi Buck (Lemon zest infused Cocchi Americano, ginger syrup, citrus, soda, tankard, ginger wafer); L’Amuse Goose (Tanqueray No.10, gooseberry liqueur, Cocchi Americano, absinthe, lemon juice, dehydrated gooseberry raisin); and, a very Dry Martini, the choice to test how good the venue could make a Dry Martini by my Dry Martini aficionado friend. Of course I couldn’t pass up ordering some bar food, so we had: Goat’s cheese churros with London truffle honey; Baby Cornish squid with green chilli and lime salt; Pepper prawn crackers with ponzu; and, some olives which were on the house in the end after a slight mix up behind the bar.
What makes a place enjoyable? Pretty much the whole package… the little things… the big things. For me, City Social has got it balanced well. I like the chilled out atmosphere an extension of the decor so that you can sit and chat comfortably yet able to admire the view as well. The staff are very friendly, approachable and flirty – this contributes heavily to the feel good factor. But not only this, they are also knowledgeable and if not, willing to admit so, and to find out the answers to your questions. I liked that our visit started off with relatively few people in the bar and progressively filled as the evening continued.
Our bar snacks were fantastic! We couldn’t stop praising the Goats cheese churros with London truffle honey the most, to the point where we decided that we would try to make this at home. The cocktails as well, most enjoyable, and quite soon round two had to be ordered: The Root of All Evil (Walnut rum, Bramley apple syrup, Poire William, lime juice, root beer, finest silver, mad paper); Vermouth? You can’t handle Vermouth (Bulleit rye whiskey, Cocchi vermouth, di Torino, Gancia bianco, Campari, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao); and again, one of us had to be different, so a request for them to make up a cocktail that was gin based but with grapefruit and campari as well.
With the relaxed atmosphere of City Social Bar, we spent a very enjoyable and leisurely evening chatting among ourselves and with the bar staff. We also had the opportunity to take a few shots of the views of London as the sun was setting, and admired a lot of the view from… the gents or ladies’ toilets!
For the next time, definitely we will be trying the restaurant – we had a sneak peek at the menu on the way out!
City Social Bar
25 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1HQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7877 7703
MONDAY TO SATURDAY
12pm – 10.30pm (last booking time)
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm (last order 2.45pm)
Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm (last booking time)