Sprawling cityscapes; landmark locations; expertly-mixed drinks... it’s a formula so perfect that it works every time. From Helix at The Gherkin to the Heron Tower's Duck & Waffle, us Londoners just can't seem to stay on the ground floor. The latest destination on my sky-high hit-list? Oblix East at The Shard; time to see if the SE1 spot really lives up to the name.
With airport-style bag checks and a private elevator, getting inside The Shard feels like serious secret agent business. But once you reach level 32 of the landmark skyscraper, it’s a simple choice between Oblix East and Oblix West. To the East: a lively, laidback venue awaits, while on the West side, you’re met with a more refined dining space. For us? We were on a mission to sample the new cocktails and bar dishes at the former.
Nabbing a huge table by the window, we were perched in prime view of London’s iconic sights. As we overlooked Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge out in the distance, it was straight onto the drinks menu. For me, the juicy Manga-Rita (£14) which packed a tequila-laced kick, underpinned by mango, yuzu and orange curaçao. Served in a striking lotus flower-style glass that required both hands to drink, it was far from standard. In contrast, my date’s Rambling Rose (£14) was an elegant, tall number. Delicately layering Tanqueray gin and sparkling wine over house-made rose sugar, we were met with an indulgent, yet clean mix reminiscent of a Turkish delight.
While the kitchen at Oblix West leans towards scallops, steak and British classics, the food on this side is more ‘elevated casual’. A trio of mini wagyu burgers (£17) were slathered in matured cheddar and truffle mayonnaise, with tender fried chicken (£22) served alongside caviar, sour cream and chive. As for the fish and chips (£17), we swapped seabass for incredibly light morsels of battered lobster (additional £7). Not your usual chippy tea.
Ditching dessert for another round of drinks, we moved onto the stronger stuff. First, the Third Formula (£14); a heady concoction of dark rum, house-made sweet vermouth, fig, cherry – served up short and well rounded. Opting for a classic with a twist, I went for the banana old fashioned (£16) which stirred banana and vanilla with Maker’s Mark and Oblix’s own house blend (a collaboration with That Boutique-y Whisky Company which our waiter insisted on us trying... we were not disappointed). Smooth, subtly sweet and balanced, it was the perfect sundowner.
The DesignMyNight Digest
We might be drawn in by the views and location, but ultimately it's the attentive staff ready to recommend drinks, suggest tasters and cook up tasty bar snacks that really win us over. If you're after all the feels of an upscale venue with less of the pomp, Oblix East is up there... literally.
💰 The damage: £119 between two, plus service charge.
📍 The location: just outside London Bridge station on St Thomas Street.
👌 Perfect for: drinks with a view.
⭐ Need to know: request a window-side table, you can't beat this spot.
We've got more where that came from; discover our list of London's finest bars with a view.