GŌNG Bar, Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard
Situated at the peak of the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is GŌNG on Level 52. The most breath-taking skyline of London that transforms from day to night and some of London’s most exquisite and sublime cocktails awaits you here. Go during the day and marvel at the heavens around you or be seduced by GŌNG’s truly glamorous and dreamy atmosphere at night...
[Christian Maspes perfecting the end to two 'My First Painting' cocktails; Star of Bombay gin, Cocchi Rosa, Peychaud’s, lime, chamomile. He finishes with artistic red strokes and a sprinkle of gold glitter to represent elements of youth and nostalgia.]
Eighteen wonderfully original cocktails, concocted by Head Bartender Christian Maspes has galvanized perfected classics with his own personal flair. This new menu, thoughtfully titled ‘The Circle of Life’ has been curated around four themes inspired by different stages in life, a familiar mood or a captured memory. These celebrate life’s simple and carefree magical moments, daring and reckless pleasures, confident and rich experiences and memories of timeless treasures and accomplishments.
[Left, The Mermaid: Ketel One vodka, Talisker, seaweed, Domaine de Canton, champagne, golden pearls. Right, The Asian Explorer – Tanqueray 10 gin, mushroom infused madeira, nigori, coconut, ginseng]
[Marius creating two of their perfected signature cocktails.]
The finesse and artistry behind these 18 cocktails is the craftsmanship of Head Bartender, Christian Maspes. Creative and playful titles such as My First Painting and Give Me Bubble emulate the adventurous flavour combinations of classic spirits, new liqueurs, specialities, vermouths, sherries and even beer. The menu focuses on seasonal flavours presented in a more experimental yet highly sophisticated fashion. In addition to his impressive work at GŌNG, Christian is also a certified sake sommelier and has worked for other prestigious bars, including The American Bar at The Savoy, Polo Bar at The Westbury, China Tang at The Dorchester and Morton’s Club.
My personal favourites were the Mermaid [pictured above left], an exquisite flounder of flavour combinations of Ketel One Vodka, Talisker, Seaweed, Domaine de Canton, champagne and some golden pearls that are dropped into the glass; and similarly, the Born to Fly [just above], a cocktail presented to us like a glimmering beautifully perched bird in a golden cage, that combines Grey Goose Vodka, fig, basil, citrus and French aperitif.
[Remembering Grasshopper – Cocoa washed Jensen’s dry gin, evergreen purée, yoghurt liqueur with real grasshoppers inside the lollipop]
As if the arrival of this innovative new menu is not seductive enough; GŌNG’s interior, laden with plush, silvery velvet sofas over-looking a sublime skyline, provides the perfect location for a romantic evening. It's unique design is reminiscent of the traditional boudoirs of the West and incorporates contemporary modern Asian aesthetics. The adventurous and mythical elements of ‘The Circle of Life’ menu can be seen to resonate with the bar’s design that was inspired by the mythical aspect of cinnabar, a mineral historically used to create the ‘dragon red’ walls of Chinese Imperial Palaces and believed to enhance positive energy.
Drinks are served until 1am when the bar closes and food until midnight. I personally adored the hue of amber from the candles that illuminate the passionate, flushed reds of table flowers and GONG’s elegant red dress code. This really enhanced the heady and seductive ambience that is set against this spectacular view of London from 1,016 feet.
The bar comprises of two luxurious settings: a cocktail bar and a champagne bar, and there is even skypool pool-side which opens from 9pm. The bar is open from Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 1am and on Sundays from 12 noon to midnight, making this romantic visit a very late-night affair.
To heighten your experience here and enjoy the wonders of space, GŌNG will have an astro-physicist on hand during full-moon nights such as this one to guide you through the mysteries of the sky. On these special dates, you can stargaze with a cocktail in hand, using a telescope [below] located in GŌNG. The next full-moon evenings are set to on the 22nd April, the 21st May and a Summer solstice celebration on 20th June. GŌNG also serves Afternoon Tea from noon to 4pm, Sunday to Friday. If sipping champagne and savouring yummy treats with a breath-taking view sounds like your cup of tea, can find out more about that here.
GŌNG does not take bar reservations and welcomes both hotel guests and non-hotel guests. These special dates would make an ideal evening for a special occasion or to celebrate with that special someone...
Thank you very much to Head Bartender Christian Maspes, Bar Manager Fabio Dal Bosco, Director of Communications Marta Warrens, Director of Food and Beverage at the Shangri-La Moustafa Elgayar, Su-Lin Ong, Marius and the rest of the team.
To find out more about GŌNG on Level 52 of the Shangri-La, The Shard: