An homage to Aqua Nueva and other city-centre rooftop bars

It’s great to find a little place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of City life, admire the view and peace and quiet, over a nice glass of wine. I knew about Boundary in Shoreditch and the Coq D’Argent in the City, but I never knew there was one smack bang in the middle of Oxford Circus.

But the other night Madame Jo Jo took me to Aqua Nueva, opened at the end of 2009 but hidden from me behind a small door on Argyll Street. Once past the bouncer, we were in a lift and up 5 floors, through the posh sushi and tapas restaurants (apparently quite expensivo) and straight onto a lovely terrace bar with sofa seats and a view across the rooftops of Soho. I didn’t mind that it was a little pricey, nor that it felt a little too City-fied, it was a lovely little tonic from busy City life. A bottle of wine and a sunset later and we could have been rooftopping somewhere exotic and calm, and I loved that feeling. So, if you’re in the middle of stressed-out too-many-people-argh Christmas/ birthday/ wedding shopping and you just need a breather, head there and get on the roof for a glass of wine and enjoy the view.

And while I’m at it, here’s some other City-centre rooftop scenes that I’ve enjoyed over the last few years:

1. London – the rooftop bar at the Saint Georges Hotel at the end of Regent Street is sadly sans outdoor terrace and with the worst carpet I’ve seen since 1984 (and you may be sharing the bar with wedding parties…) but it has the most wonderful view over Oxford and Regent Streets, and is especially magical when the Christmas lights are on.

2. Istanbul – the rooftop bar at the  Mamara Pera hotel  by the Galata Tower (see photo below) has awesome views over Istanbul and is right by Nevizade Sokak which is filled with fantastic mezze restaurants.

3. Prague – the rooftop bar at the U Prince Hotel on the Old Town Square is great for getting some breathing space when the summer crowds are getting a little heavy. One lift up and you have great views of Prague castle and Mala Strana and the Old Town Square. Cranky service but you’ll put up with it for the relaxation value. Cowboys by the Prague Castle is great for rooftop cocktails too, with views over the Vltava to the centre.

4. Paris – Cocktails with the beautiful (slightly snooty) people at Georges in the Pompidou (see photo below).

5. Edinburgh – a few newish posh rooftop bars/restos like the fourth floor restaurant at Harvey Nicks (I found a great photo of the view but sadly my big heid was in it), Oloroso on Castle Street and the Tower Restaurant at the Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street.

6. That scene in Sex And The City when Samantha has a rooftop BBQ at her new appartment in the Meat-Packing District with Carrie and the girls and her new “lady” friends.  [Note: I am sure there are lots of wonderful rooftop bars in NY but I’m yet to go, is on my list, sigh…]

Aqua Nueva on Urbanspoon

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