With its lush and leafy Spanish and Tudor-themed outdoor gardens situated discreetly above Kensington High Street, The Roof Gardens is undoubtedly one of the capital’s finest nightlife experiences in the warmer months - but what about the rest of the year? Well, they’ve recently installed the Tanqueray Live Lounge, a branded marquee space that’s going to be in place way into 2011 and, in doing so, they’ve turned The Roof Gardens into a wonderful winter retreat.
Hundreds of feet above Kensington High Street, The Roof Gardens is firmly in the luxury, international-class bracket that its owner Richard Branson is so comfortable – and effective – at operating in. Whilst the main club space can get a bit full-on later on in the evening, as the Hooray Henrys and the designer-clad girls mingle on the dance floor, the gardens and the Tanqueray Live Lounge offer a very different experience altogether. Here, you can wander around the authentic Alhambra-inspired section, with its palm plants and pretty wooden huts, or you can head into the Tanqueray Live Lounge, which is located past the trusty barbecue grills in the grounds of the Tudor garden.
Once inside the Live Lounge, it feels like you’ve been invited to a very posh wedding reception, with the white domed marquee spread over three distinct spaces: firstly, you’ll find the luminous back-lit bar area, where the studious staff mix up cocktails and premium spirits; secondly, there’s a very pretty space for the live music complete with a little stage and twinkly fairy lights; finally, the VIP area offers a chance to sit down and some privacy for those who crave – or require – it.
Chilled and relaxed in the main, as the night wears on the conversation levels go up a few decibels and the music adds an extra layer of enjoyment to proceedings. The outdoor area, where those attending the Tanqueray Live Lounge and those attending the club night inside cross paths, crackles with banter between international guests and a very well-to-do Brit crowd.
Jazz FM host Saturday nights and they’ve already brought in some very respectable names from the world of jazz, soul and world music. Entry costs around £15 for both Fridays and Saturdays; staying for the club night in the main space costs extra.
Naturally, the cocktail selection contains Tanqueray-based concoctions. The Rumour, a mix of raspberries, mint, lemon juice, rhubarb syrup and raspberry liqueur, served in a martini glass, proves a particular crowd-pleaser. For a more refreshing drink, the lavender Collins, a long drink that combines apple juice, lemon and lavender bitters, is just the ticket. A selection of premium spirits, bottled beers and champagne are also available. Prices are, as you’d expect, pitched at the higher end.
The Last Word
The Tanqueray Live Lounge transforms The Roof Gardens into an excellent winter venue. Yes, the outdoor space may be at its most bewitching on sultry summer evenings, but the Live Lounge is, in its own right, an experience you won’t forget.