The Shard Restaurants & Bars | Everything You Need To Know
Last Updated: 12th October 2018
Once upon a time a chap called Irvine Sellar tried his hand at smashing life.
And so The Shard was born.
He didn’t just want to create a building, he wanted to create a vertical city: homes, offices, a hotel, shops, restaurants, and bars. And so, with the help of architect Renzo Piano and a little *ahem* gold dust, he did just that. All within a singular unicorn horn.
There are six restaurants and bars in total: Bar 31, Aqua Shard, Oblix, Hutong, TĪNG, and GŎNG, all of which boast floor to ceiling windows and a 40 mile panoramic view of the city. But beyond that, they’re all pretty different. You’ll find everything from a swanky sports bar to once-in-a-lifetime Chinese, so we’ve written you an all encompassing guide to make sure you know what you’re getting and where.
Starting from the bottom:
It’s their casual ground floor bar and restaurant – the swanky sports bar meets New York Deli. Think tall ceilings, long glass counter tops, and huge menu blackboards; all wrapped by an outdoor terrace for the summer months. More relaxed than the upper floors, you’ll find live music (Friday and Saturday evenings), 82 inch sport screens, and craft beers on tap – alongside wine, spirits, and surprisingly well-priced Champagne. They’ve also got exactly four cocktails to choose from, although their Copper Pineapple of lime juice, pineapple, Bermondsey bee honey, Domaine de Canton, chocolate bitters and Absolut Elyx suggests it’s more quality over quantity. The food, meanwhile, is essentially healthy, guilt-free dishes, often with an Asian Twist – with Vietnamese prawn rice paper rolls; salmon and crab tacos; and a variety of Buddha Bowls.
Address: Bar 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: Tues-Wed 11am-10pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-11pm | Cuisine: Asian Fusion | Price: £ | Brunch? No | Afternoon tea? No | Sunday lunch? No | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
31 floors up, you’ll find Aqua Shard: an all-day affair fit for impressing. You can get up early, or take the morning off and watch London wake up whilst you drink coffee and ponder which freshly baked pastry to eat next. On weekends they serve brunch, from Lobster Benedict to French toast with caramelised banana, alongside a selection of appropriately light breakfast cocktails like the Sunny Side Up, with rum, cognac, absinthe and custard cream. The setting makes for an incredibly persuasive working lunch, or afternoon tea with the in-laws. And then there’s dinner. The restaurant dims apart from a few hanging lights and the glittering London skyline spread-out below. In the centre of the room is a big, square bar framing a pyramid of spirits lit up in gold. You can prop yourself up on a stool and order from a long list of both classic and signature cocktails, before sitting down to eat. Here you can feast on the likes of seared, hand-dived Orkney scallops and Colchester rock oysters gratin; followed by salt marsh spring lamb loin with black garlic, wild asparagus, and fennel pollen; or the 42 day dry aged Hereford beef. The wine list is long, colourful, and spans a least sixteen countries, or, should the occasion call for it, you can order a magnum of Dom Pérignon Champagne. It’s hard not to feel on top of the world.
Fancy reading about Aqua Shard in a little more detail? Please do, here.
Address: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: Mon-Thurs 7am-1am, Fri 7am-3am, Sat 9am-3am, Sun 9am – 1am | Cuisine: British | Price: £17 for a starter, £38 for a main, lunch set menus from £28 | Brunch? Yes, from £44 | Afternoon tea? Yes, from £49 | Sunday lunch? No | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
Level 32 hosts Oblix. It comes from restauranteur Rainer Becker (the mastermind behind Zuma and Roka) – although unlike his other two restaurants (and Aqua below), it’s much more relaxed. The menu is NY Grill-inspired, made up of salads; steaks BBQ’d on a charcoal grill; slow-roasted joints from a spit; and pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven. Space-wise, they’ve split it up into ‘East’ and ‘West’ which – other than which side of London you’re looking out over – essentially translates into these few details: West is more formal table dining. It’s also for rotisserie lovers, as they offer a much bigger selection; plus they have afternoon tea and Sunday lunch. East, on the other hand, is more laid-back and vibey. Think lounge bar with sofas and low tables, as well as posers on stools. If you’re looking for a three-course brunch go East, while later in the day, it’s where you’ll find live bands and DJ sets (Wed-Sat).
Fancy reading about Oblix in a little more detail? Please do, here.
Address: Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: Mon-Wed 12am – 12pm, Thurs – Sat 12am – 1pm, Sun 12am – 12pm | Cuisine: NY Grill | Price: ~£15 for a starter, £30 for a main | Brunch? Yes, from £55 | Afternoon tea? Yes, from £38 | Sunday lunch? Yes, £48 | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
As you climb higher up The Shard, it would appear your bill follows. As such, Hutong is most certainly one for special occasions. However, if the dollar’s there it’s a pretty special place. An almost replica of its namesake in Hong Kong, it’s moodily lit and full of the same carved dark woods and red Chinese lanterns, not forgetting a wishing tree inviting you to take a punt at your hopes and dreams. The menu is an eclectic mix of Sichuan, and Northern Chinese dishes. As well as eight different types of dumplings (one of which is stuffed with Rosé Champagne-soaked shrimp), you’ll find all sorts of fried, sautéed, and slow-cooked meat; seafood such as their Kung-po style whole lobster; plus a refreshing number of tofu and veggie dishes (Sichuan-style aubergine tempura and chef’s pickled vegetable fried rice). The drinks list is also worth getting excited about, with cocktails like The Yellow Dragon (tequila, mango purée, yuzu liqueur, dragon fruit, pomelo cordial, and lime) or the aptly named Comfortably Numb (Stoli vanilla vodka, lychee liqueur, fresh chilli, lime, and Sichuan pepper honey). Alternatively, the wine-list spans eleven pages (and the world), with a tidy 27 Champagnes.
Address: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: Lunch: Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-3.30pm; Dinner: Mon-Sun 6-10.30pm | Cuisine: Sichuan and Northern Chinese | Price: ~£15 for a starter or dumplings, Mains £30+ | Brunch? No | Afternoon tea? No | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
Whilst the name derives from the Chinese word for living room, beyond the occasional sofa strewn with pillows, it feels much more like what it is – a pretty large hotel restaurant – to us. Technically part of the Shangri-La hotel here, it’s split up into two parts: the restaurant and the lounge. The former is the pricier option, serving up a selection of European dishes (rabbit terrine and beef fillet), whilst the latter is Pan-Asian (wok-fried Cornish lobster and pad thai) and the slightly less expensive of the two. Their afternoon tea earns them a cool point, serving up more than thirty teas alongside the usual silver-plated tower of sandwiches, scones, and cakes. They also have a pretty huge wine list (cool point number two), so whether you’re in it for a £9 glass of Garnacha Blanca or a £1,320 bottle of vintage Cristal, they’ve got you covered. See? Just like a regular living room.
Address: Level 35, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: 6.30am-11pm daily | Cuisine: European & Pan-Asian | Price: 3 courses for £55 in the restaurant; £15 for a small plate and £40 for a main in the lounge | Brunch? No | Afternoon tea? Yes, from £52 | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
Found on the 52nd floor, GŎNG is officially the highest hotel bar in Western Europe, the penthouse of hotel bars. And like any self-respecting penthouse, it’s made up a number of ‘intimate chambers’; a cocktail bar, a Champagne bar …and an infinity swimming pool*. Taking inspiration from the ‘dragon red’ walls of Chinese Imperial Palaces (made that way from cinnabar, a mineral believed to enhance positivity), as well as the boudoirs of the West, it borders both sexy and, to be frank, sleazy. The bars are grey marble, surrounded by scarlet red stools and decorated with tall silver vases filled with pom poms of red roses; or there’s a number of low tables with tea lights and grey patent leather pouffes. Wherever you’re sitting, the drinks menu makes for pretty neat reading. The cocktails are based on the most transformative inventions in history, like the compass, the helicopter, and gelato. Plus, there are a number of top-notch Champagnes available by the glass – and, should you get hungry, there are small plates too, like prawn ceviche with coriander and fresh chilli, or avocado and rice noodle rolls.
*…sadly only open to hotel guests.
Fancy reading about Gong in a little more detail? Please do, here.
Address: Level 52, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Opening times: Mon-Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12am-12pm | Cuisine: Japanese-inspired | Price: £18 for a small plate, of which you’d want 3-4 | Brunch? No | Afternoon tea? Yes, from £52 | For more information, or to book, visit their website here.
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