I’ve avoided writing this one up for a while. But here goes.
The sensible will have made up their mind immediately after the following anecdote.
If one continues reading it really means one’s mind can’t be changed regarding visiting Aqua.
After putting bags through scans and metal detectors, and being sent in the wrong direction, whilst being bothered by several employees en route asking “Are you going to Aqua?”, we finally make it there in all its hotel-lobby-designed glory. A massive space that really needs a bit more lighting at night, utterly packed with people that leave their jackets littering the floor.
Snatching the nearest available table, we observe our bartender, whipping out a pair of coconuts, chopped in half, to prepare his drink.
In the four halves, he pours his ingredients, and hands the coconuts to the punters. Except, two of the coconuts are empty.
Baffled, he refills them and hands them over.
Again, they are empty.
And yes, a third time he tests his quantum coconuts.
A third time they are empty.
Because unbeknownst to him, but very visible to us, we see his arms soaked in the cocktail pouring out of HOLES CUT INTO THE COCONUT SHELL.
This ludicrous display of wasted spirits was interrupted by a stereotype of Aqua frequenter: an annoyed looking young person wielding McQueen, and a collection of massive bags from her shopping trip, repeatedly exiting and entering the bar (all the way up the stairs, out, and then back and down again), but not seemingly doing anything. In a huff, she does this a record 5 times, whilst hitting several punters’ heads with her bags and not caring that she did. And the staff not caring either.
If you must insist on a drink review after that fiasco, then here it is:
The Skyline Cooler: Ketel One Citroen Vodka, Cinzano, absinthe, apple juice, lemon juice, elderflower cordial and fennel seeds – the fennel is mostly drowned out, even the Cinzano, normally a very detectable flavour, is half lost in the juice/cordial overdose. And a volatile ingredient like absinthe probably should not be left in the hands of the coconut fellow above – evident with the overpowering sourness of the drink.
A second tequila and gin drink wielded similar lemon-juice-abused results.
A foul citrus nothing for 13-16 pounds?
London is far too wide and full of treasures for these shenanigans.
Aqua suffers a similar problem as ME London’s Radio Rooftop, where a spoilt 20-something feels they deserve a pat on the back for standing a few floors higher up. Much like that recent London real estate ad that has caused such controversy recently, “Having the world at your feet”.
A destination for fans of Ayn Rand who don’t know what Objectivism actually is, the Aqua Shard becomes a testament to the tasteless.
So I looked out the window at the view, hoping to god the histrionics behind me weren’t real and I wasn’t actually here.
Drinks: ** for quality, but considering value for money: *
Atmosphere: *, but once you add view: **
Service: What service? The staff is all queued outside giving directions.
Atrium Bar @ Aqua Shard
31 Saint Thomas Street,
London, SE1 9RY