A decent gin and tonic in the Galvin at Windows bar in the Park Lane Hilton, London

A decent gin and tonic in the Galvin at Windows bar in the Park Lane Hilton, London

A weekend in London with my friend WifieWhoLunches: we had planned a few days of drinking champagne in nice places and generally being kind to ourselves.  We work so hard the rest of the time, you see.  Anyway, on Sunday evening, after an early dinner, we decided to see the city from above.  We had started our day at the Southbank Centre on the lovely garden terrace at the top of the yellow staircase.  And so, having failed to book at Paramount, not wanting to queue for The Shard, and having already enjoyed great drinks and outstanding service at the Oxo Tower, off we went to the rooftop bar at the Park Lane Hilton.  Tips for high places in London or elsewhere are welcome, just add them in the comments below.

The Gin

Well, every bar in London has a reasonable selection of gin, so nothing to worry about there.  So, we decided to go for gin based cocktails from the “Prescription” list.  As we ordered our “Penicillin” the waitress looked surprised.  “I just need to check, do you like smoky whisky?” she asked.  We laughed.  You see, the Penicillin here is a concoction of Monkey47 gin and Laphroaig and a few other little bits.  Well, we like smoky whiskies, we always did, and since we stopped smoking cigarettes decades ago, whisky and salmon are our only sources of that smoky taste.  It tasted delicious. Such a pity my sort-of-nephew CocktailBanker was not with us to critique the cocktails and service.  If you think I’m fussy, you should hear him on his specialist subject: “How to prepare and serve a proper cocktail, properly.”

cocktail menu

drinks table

The service

We were welcomed by a smart young man who took our coats and then passed us into the care of a young lady.  All weekend we had enjoyed excellent service, usually given by bright young things from other parts of the European Union.  Such a fabulous opportunity for these young people to improve their English, and wonderful for us to enjoy the enthusiastic service they deliver.

The Ambience

The bar is comfortable and relaxing.  It is not overly decorated, with just the 1930s style bar and lighting. All the window nooks were occupied when we arrived, but we were happy enough to sit on the leather chairs in the second row and watch the people as well as the view.bar galvin

Other guests

The bar was not busy when we arrived. There was an exotic looking long haired young man dressed like a rock star and he was accompanied by a stick thin (heroin chic?) young lady who may have been a model, or may have been someone he just met that day, or may have been his good lady wife. Their appearance was scruffy, but obviously expensive. It looked like the lady had had more than Penicillin.  In the nook opposite, a family seemed to be celebrating some anniversary and a few couples were taking a drink and enjoying the view of sunset from the 28th floor.

The facilities

The main purpose here seems to be to offer the glamorous clientele the opportunity to touch up make up and so on, since there are lots of seats and mirrors, but only one wash hand basin. It was spotlessly clean and very comfortable.bathroom galvin
vanity zone galvin bathroom

What my guests thought

Well, no translations to be checked on behalf of CraftyLinguist. But my friend WifieWhoLunches has been to a fair few fancy hotels and restaurants, and she certainly knows what she likes and does not like. She likes venison, goat’s cheese, chocolate, duck, red wine, white wine, tea, cakes, sticky toffee pudding.  But most of all, she likes good service, and champagne.  Her final verdict was:”We enjoyed lovely cocktails served by friendly and helpful staff looking out at the sunset over the skyline of London.  Great end to a great day out.”

Final recommendation

We had a lovely time at Galvin at Windows and, although we probably paid the same for those 2 cocktails as we had paid for dinner earlier, it was a great experience and we award Galvin at Windows 4.5 tumblers out of a possible 5.view from galvin bar

http://www.galvinatwindows.com/ http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/visitor-info/shop-eat-drink/restaurants/roof-garden-cafe/bar http://www.harveynichols.com/restaurant/the-oxo-tower/bar/