Monday, 5 March 2012

Vertigo 42

This was another treat over half term. Paul had heard recommendations and wanted to go. I'd never heard of it but got quite excited about it after a bit of googling. Neither of us like champagne, so we were going for the experience and the view rather than the beverage. It needs to be booked in advance and a credit card number given so you can be charged if you don't turn up. We'd booked a 2 hour slot from 6pm till 8pm on the Tuesday night.

Vertigo 42 is so called because it is on the 42nd floor of the second tallest building in the City of London (it's the fifth tallest in London as a whole). At 183 metres (about 600ft) it's definitely high. The bar is basically a circular corridor round the outer edge of the floor. The lifts, kitchen, toilets and so on are in the middle bit.

The windows are floor to ceiling and the wall behind has floor to ceiling mirrors so which ever way you look you are met with an absolutely stunning view. I could easily have stayed all night just gazing at it. Because of the time of year it was dark so we were looking out over a lit London. We were fairly close to St Paul's and could see the Thames, the London Eye, Centrepoint, Big Ben and lots of other tall landmarks.

To be allowed up to the bar we had to give our names at reception and then go through airport type security, walking a though a metal detector and passing our bags through an x-ray machine. The private lift to the 42nd floor practically flew up and I felt my ears popping. Once at the top we had to give our names again and were led to our 'area'.

Each window has a low ledge which is used as a table and a couple of egg style chairs. Further round was the area for groups which had a higher ledge and bar stools. Each 'area' is labelled with the name of the something in direct sight e.g. Barbican and the direction in degrees and minutes.

We ordered a bottle of the cheapest champagne which was £60. It arrived in a silver bucket and a waiter filled our glasses. The waiters continued to fill our glasses each time they got low. We were drinking quite slowly however as we needed to make our one bottle last the two hours! We ordered some salted almonds to go with it. I'm used to bags of crisps in pubs so was very impressed with the way the almonds arrived in a dish on a platter with a white cloth. They were nice and the saltiness took away some of the taste of champagne so we actually found we were enjoying it. By the time we finished the nuts our taste buds had adjusted and we were enjoying the champagne on its own. Now this is a habit I really can't afford to develop!

Would I go again? Definitely, despite the cost. I felt chilled, relaxed, comfortable and in awe of the view. The waiters were attentive but not over-bearing. I had worried that the place would either be a tourist trap or stuffily posh, but it was neither. The clientele seemed to be mainly workers enjoying a special night out after a day at the office.

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