Tag Archives: london bridge

Cocktails at Bar Blue (at the Vinopolis, London Bridge)

There’s nothing depressing about this bar…

If you find London Bridge on any mapping application, and then search ‘cocktail bars’ you’ll have a bit of a job on your hands to separate the tags from one another. However one bar stands out a little: the Vinopolis’ Bar Blue. Whether it’s the unusual reverse of the name giving it a little originality (it’s called ‘Bar Blue’ instead of ‘The Blue Bar’) or the décor easily visible through the floor-ceiling glass walls, it has something that draws you to it.

Its close proximity to ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’ and the ‘Tate Modern’ art galleries not to mention London Bridge (as well as the Blackfriars & millennium bridges) itself obviously help it out, and whilst there are plenty of pubs in the area, it’s the only cocktail bar in the immediate area.

Bar Blue: Within walking distance of the Globe Theatre…

Some bars that similarly draw you in, usually fail to deliver when it comes to a varied cocktail selection, and originality in the cocktails, especially those in my local area in Kent. However Bar Blue does deliver, and it delivers well above the standard I am used to.

Looking at the cocktail menu, especially the ‘favourites’ section, there is an abundance of originality showing that the owners have looked at the cocktails and thought seriously about offering a high quality, varied selection of ‘fruity’ & ‘exotic’ cocktails.

A range of exciting cocktails available for you at Bar Blue…

Whilst the time constraints of other visits only allowed for us to enjoy the one drink, let nothing be taken away from the overall experience, not only was the cocktail consumed one of the best I’ve ever had, I would more than happily visit this bar every time I went out in London. I’ll definitely be heading there when I go back to London Bridge in a few months.

Now, onwards to the cocktail(s) themselves…

The menu itself is well presented, protected with the hard cover and the font is very easy to read. Not only that, but they stock a lot of different spirits, liqueurs & cordials, which they like to show off. This can be seen by looking at the favourites section again; for the 13 different cocktails they have, they use 30+ liqueurs, spirits or cordials/purees. The use of so many ingredients results in a wider selection of cocktails and flavours (using all of the ‘main’ spirits: Tequila, Whisky/Bourbon, vodka, Rum & Gin). The cocktails that stick out (for me) are the Saigon Sling, Almond Breeze and the Warsaw Cooler, all three are slightly longer drinks and contain a healthy mix of sweet and sour and all taste a little exotic; Perfect for those summer evenings chilling out by the Thames (it’s a 30 second walk from the bar’s front door).

A couple of Saigon Sling’s half way through…

Now the only cocktail tried on this trip was the Saigon Sling. The menu has this to say about it:

“Saigon Sling: Bombay Sapphire Gin, Krupnik Honey Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Peychaud’s Bitters & Ginger Ale”

It was simple, yet full of flavour, and although the top up of ginger ale was not excessive, it balanced with the rest of the drink extremely well. As you can see from the picture below they went down rather well. It is this sort of drink I believe will take London (and hopefully other cities/towns) by storm this summer, refreshing drinks bursting with flavour.

Now I don’t often rate a venue like this but, in all honesty, I don’t get to go to bars like this often. With its contemporary and spacious design, this bar is perfect for an afternoon/early evening drink with your friends. Whether you prefer Beer, Wine or their extensive collection of cocktails/champagne then this is the place for you and your friends. If you’re ever in the area of London Bridge then I highly recommend checking it out.

The Bar at Bar Blue, very contemporary, and very well stocked…


Décor: 8/10

Minimalist interior is perfect for lunchtime business meetings and early evening drinks with a few friends, but it might struggle upon an evening to fit a large number of people in. Overall a great looking bar with a great terraced area showcasing their large range of Spirits & Liqueurs.

Service: 9/10

Fantastic service from a friendly and helpful member of staff, and knew how to make the cocktail off the top of his head…

Drinks Selection: 10/10

As if their menu wasn’t extensive enough, they even offer to make cocktails not on their menu, not a lot of places offer that these days…

Drinks Ordered: 9/10

The drink we ordered, it was agreed, was amazing. It was perfect for the stuffy London weather, refreshing enough to help chill us out, but packing enough kick to let you savour the alcohol used. The only thing holding the score back is that Beefeater Gin was used instead of Bombay sapphire and this probably changed the drinks overall flavour a little. Otherwise it was perfect.

Overall Score: 9/10 – Amazing! You should go, and take your friends too!!

This is by far one of the best bars I’ve ever been to, not to mention its part of a famous visitor’s attraction: Vinopolis. The drinks were perfect and the place was fantastic to just sit and chill and it’s now the first ‘Best of London Bars’ on this blog. Again I strongly recommend checking them out!

For more information about this venue, including offers and other news please check out their Facebook page, website and twitter feed via the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cantina-Vinopolis-and-Bar-Blue/84763028147?fref=ts

Twitter:  @VinopolisLondon, https://twitter.com/VinopolisLondon

Website: http://www.barbluevinopolis.com/

Cointreau Fizz Garden – 25.06.2013

A Night of Fizz and glamour, for the most part…


So straight away I must disclaim: I suffer from hay fever and this did somewhat spoil the mood, but all the same I tried to take that out of the equation when writing this post…

Cointreau are a big brand, owned by Remy Cointreau (a huge alcohol company – many fingers in many pies), and they have been putting on a weekly event recently: The Cointreau Fizz Garden (5th Floor Magdalen house, London Bridge).

Tickets for this event were given away for free on a first come first served basis through Cointreau’s UK Facebook page. I got tickets for me a 4 of my friends for the 25th June event.

I went up with my friend Peter on the train and went to the Bar Blue before-hand, and met up with my friend Jack, and his girlfriend and her friend around 6.30pm. After making our way up the very cramped lift, we walked out onto a roof terrace that resembled a wonderful garden scene (something one might see at the Chelsea flower show), wooden seating, some tables scattered around and some wonderful looking (but fake) flowers draping the trellis, cutting off the London high rises (all but the Shard anyway)…

Me and Peter enjoying a chat whilst sipping on a Fizz…

We were all given 3 tokens each (enough for 3 cocktails each) and when we sat down and had a read of the flavours of ‘Cointreau Fizz Cocktails’ available, it was apparent that the flavours had been well thought out. Some combining fresh flavours like cucumber and basil, others opting for the subtle yet refreshing flavours of orange and lime, the cocktails offered contained both safe and edgy flavour combinations; something for everyone…

My friends; Jack & Lauren having a look at the drinks being prepared, it was a rather chilled atmosphere at the beginning of the evening…

However as the night went on, it became apparent that only 3 cocktails were offered to us. Although it was still a great selection, this was not made apparent until we got to the bar and saw the amended menu’s there. This was a shame as some of the cocktails not on offer looked amazing (I’m especially thinking of the Passion & Pepper one).

The biggest problem, however, was the amount of people allowed to attend. Whilst I’m all for letting as many people as possible experience a bespoke event like this, there needs to be some sort of line drawn so that the people at the event can enjoy it fully. After going to such lengths to ensure an amazing venue, with a great view and then managing to create a garden-like atmosphere there, it seemed a shame to let it be ruined (in part) by the attendance of so many people. At one point me and my friend were waiting, at the front of the bar, for around 35 minutes before being served and even then the sheer volume of drinks orders meant we were kept waiting as the bartender made 8-10 drinks at a time.

The Shard in all it’s glory, rising high above the rooftop. A wonderful sunset…

All that aside the event itself was, overall, fantastic. The sun set behind the shard and the light was refracted and reflected all around us, combine that with great company and a very cool acoustic set from a talented musical duo, and then throw in the sometimes strange and weird tasting canapé’s the Cointreau ladies were serving, well, you just cannot fault it too much.

It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth going all that way to experience and if I’m completely honest, I’d go to another one! Especially if they addressed the minor issues.

The Verdict:

Cocktails: 9.5/10

The idea of keeping the cocktails in the ‘Fizz’ genre was fantastic, and the selection of flavours was plenty varied for the beginning of the event, in the least.

Cocktails tried: 10/10

I tried the Strawberry & Mint and the Original Fizz cocktails, both of which were fantastically balanced. The use of fresh ingredients was evident and really gave the drinks a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ not to mention a little kick.

Décor: 8.5/10

The first impressions were stunning. To see the transformation from a London rooftop to a Parisian garden was simply superb. Colours were well thought out and the table arrangement was well planned. The only improvement would be to the ceiling, although half was open and showing off the view of the Shard (again this was a stunning view), the other half was covered by dirtied plastic sheeting and really did ruin some of the illusion.

Service: 7/10

At the beginning of the night the service was excellent and it was easy to go and get a drink. However as more people started to turn up it became clear that the bar was far too small and they had not planned for so many people/orders coming in. The Staff seemed quite overwhelmed and always behind (not their fault, there was only 3 guys behind the bar). The food service (canapés) was slightly better however, with the two ladies making their way around the crowds gracefully and making sure everyone got the choice to try a selection of savoury and sweet dishes.

Overall: 8.75/10

Overall this event was fantastic. Whilst there were some flaws on show, the event came across as well thought out for the most point. The service really lacked but mainly to the high influx of attendees in the latter part of the evening. Receiving the ‘goody-bag’ on the way certainly went some way to making up for it. I definitely recommend you all try to get tickets to any future events they hold if possible.

A rather packed bar area led to long waits for drinks, but everyone was in high spirits…

For more information on this event, and any others on offer by Cointreau, check out their Facebook page, twitter feed and official website on the links below:

Website: www.cointreau.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CointreauUK

Twitter: @CointreauUK, https://twitter.com/CointreauUK

Disclaimer: all pictures used on this post are either my own, or from the Cointreau Fizz Garden album.