One of London’s slickest rooftop bars – why you have to pay Savage Garden a visit
No matter how many times you find the opportunity to admire London’s iconic skyline from way up high, the sight never fails to leave you in awe. When darkness falls, this hypnotic view turns all the more alluring – as though the city and you are in on the same seductive secret. One night, the city decided to share one of those secrets with me: Savage Garden, a sensuously slick sanctuary of a rooftop bar in Tower Hill.
By Olivia Riccini
Located atop the DoubleTree by Hilton, there is nothing remotely ‘hotel bar’ about this place. A completely separate entity that takes on a devilishly sexy persona, this bar that sits loftily in the heavens thrusts you into ‘main character mode’ as soon as you step out of the lift. Greeted by a glamorous front-of-house, I am directed down a slim corridor, across black marble floors and towards the hum of chatter and clink of glasses. But before I reach this party at the end of the tunnel, I stand mesmerised. Floor to ceiling glass windows frame the nighttime backdrop of London, with all its glowing lights beaming across an inky black sky: a tableau set on making Savage Garden the centre of this magnificent city.
Low-glow lighting seals in the idea of seduction furthermore, the brightest lights seeming to be those of the outside world promising to conceal your whereabouts, safe in this oasis in the sky. But centre stage, as if the control panel of this spacecraft, is an impressive bar. The focal point of Savage Garden’s decadent decor, the bar’s look is the perfect mixture of industrial, futuristic and art-deco. Swirling marble meets industrial steel and sharp right-angles, as an orange glow illuminates a generous stock of spirits and more that line the wall behind the busy mixologists. You do not have to order drinks to know that cocktails are one thing that Savage Garden takes seriously and does with the utmost expertise. We sit down at a marble-topped table with high velour seating, an infinite view of the city before us, including the best of Tower Bridge I have ever seen. It is a panoramic vista that has us so transfixed, we find it hard to peel our eyes away in order to peruse the cocktail menu.
In a city so full of venues clamouring to do ‘something unique’ when it comes to cocktails, Savage Garden has achieved this desire with confident ease. A truly tempting list that depicts its naughty persona, I opt for a ‘Devil’s Advocate’ consisting of Olmeca Blanco, Merlet crème de cassis, pink grapefruit and lemon and fresh sage. Creativity doesn’t stop at ingredients either, placed on the table in front of me, this drink lives up to its name – the spiky tips of two chillies adorn the rim, looking like the red horns of the devil himself. But this is one drink that even the most god-fearing would struggle to say no to, beautifully refreshing with a gorgeous hot spice flavour set against the sour of the citrus fruits, the Devil’s Advocate will have anyone craving another.
As I sit and listen to the chatter of my two friends as we sip our cocktails, I can’t help but think Savage Garden would be the ultimate place for a date. Just like the cocktails, it has all the right ingredients: incredible cityscape views make for a great talking point, the stunning interiors are steeped with sexiness, space and seating allow for intimacy without losing any atmosphere or ambience, and need I say anymore about the drinks themselves? If you’re feeling peckish, there’s even small plates available, a neat addition to the drinks – especially if you’ve met without going home after work, or it’s getting late in the evening.
Ever the foodies, we give the menu a go and order citrus buttermilk chicken sliders with kimchi slaw and Korean style ketchup, alongside a dish of charred octopus with fennel, orange chermoula, toasted kasha. Full of flavour and yes, devilishly moreish, these go down a treat. The sweet vs savoury sticky goodness of the chicken has us salivating for more, so we go ahead and order the honey miso aubergine burgers with fried green tomatoes, basil and mozzarella to share, and these again are supremely tasty.
Desperate to absorb as much of Savage Garden’s glamour as we can for the evening, we order another round of cocktails to finish up. It is only a Wednesday night, but I can see how Savage Garden would be a great place to come with ‘the girls’, or even colleagues, before a big night out at more of London’s clubs and bars back on the ground. Our final cocktails do not disappoint, once again hitting that creative mark and standing out as completely unique to any I’ve had anywhere else. My ‘Poppy Field’ is put down before me, concocted from Chivas Regal 12yo Scotch, Amaro Montenegro, coconut nectar, habanero and sesame. This drink is adorned with poppy seeds around the rim, (as opposed to salt or sugar) and has that lip-smacking ratio of sweet versus the woody, alcoholic kick of the Scotch.
My advice: visit Savage Garden if you are looking for slick sophistication alongside all the sexy seductiveness that London has to offer, against a stunning backdrop of awe-inspiring views guaranteed to give that element of the fantastical.