Beer and Loathing: Madison Tapas and Cocktail Bar, St. Pauls
Madison Tapas and Cocktail Bar, St. Pauls
It’s no secret that I am a lover of good views. When we were house hunting I was within a hair’s breadth of convincing my current housemates to move into a house in West Norwood because from the back garden you could see the entirety of London. But this would have been bad. Not only because West Norwood is universally acclaimed to have nothing of interest within its boundaries but also because it’s about 28 miles away from London. As my housemate so shrewdly observed “I want to live in London, not see it from the back garden”.
Madison Tapas and Cocktail bar, however, offers a view of London from right within its depths. On top of some over designed shopping centre aimed at the 45k+ wage bracket (think sushi bars and branches of Reiss), it looks out over Westminister and the City. If you crane your neck you can see south and a bit of east too. We managed to spot Forest Hill. Which was exciting. But the main thing you can see is St. Pauls. As it is the building next door and when you get up this high and close you really are reminded that it is fucking massive and pretty impressive actually.
But you can scale any number of buildings in the dead of night with a grappling hook to get the sort of views we were being treated to here. What made this different was that you could drink a beer up here. Or in this case. A £9 cocktail. The bar is out on the roof terrace with all the riff raff and tourists that have come up here to do that thing where you take a photo next to a massive monument and pretend you’re leaning against it or crushing it with your fingers. Perspective is mega hilarious if you’re Portuguese. Apparently. Fortunately seperating us from this cacophony of various languages and camera shutters is a small brown velvet rope. Behind this you can choose one of literally two seating options, sofa things so low that I wager it would be more comfortable just to sit on the ground, or super tall bar stools which we chose because it felt like we were lording up over the idiots who had chosen the micro-sofas.
Table service is the order of the day. A nineteen year old will come up to your table, hand you a range of menus and immediately ask what you want. You will not know because you have never been here before and know fuck all about cocktails. You will ask for two minutes. You will fritter away your two minutes staring at St. Pauls and talking about how sick it is. Another nineteen year old will come up and press you for an order. You will panic and order something with egg and red wine in it. The fantastically dressed gentleman on the table next to you (he has his initials embroidered into his shirt cuffs) will attempt to cover a smirk at your clear lack of experience in the world of being waited on hand and foot. Fortunately your egg and red wine cocktail will taste pretty rad and very alcoholic indeed. You will deliberately look like you are really, really enjoying it to try and make the fantastically dressed man jealous/feel stupid for mocking you. However he is not looking. Lame.
I would recommend you not get a portion of the tapas. Whilst I can’t vouch for how delicious it is or isn’t, I can vouch for how much you get for how much money. And that is exceedingly little for £8+. I know we’re effectively tresspassing here and that these minature dishes are not created for the likes of us. They’re created for the type of person who will opt for salad with their burger instead of chips. Possibly without a bun. Think rich mums rather than people who try and get 10p off a large bag of chips.
In conclusion then, this is a top place to go if you want to drink a cocktail you have to take a mortgage out on. If you hate heights and like money though, this may not be the cocktail and tapas bar for you.
Obviously suits. Obviously. Telling you that their are suits here is like me telling you that there are vacuous cunts queuing outside a Tulisa gig. But a couple of the waiters were wearing skinnies and had haircuts so maybe their mates come and meet them from work sometimes. So maybe for ten minutes every day there are some hipsters here. I’m clutching at straws.
Nice and central so it’s easy to get home/wander about looking at churches afterwards. And there’s the view to contend with. This would be a great place to wow a foreign friend or take a rich person on a date.
£23 for two cocktails and a bottle of lager is very expensive by anybody’s standards. I did worry before we went that we wouldn’t get in unless we dressed really smart. And there was a bouncer on the door of the lift but I think he was more there to stop randoms drinking cans on the bit of the roof that normal non-cocktail drinking people were allowed out on.
This bit is going to be weather dependent as all hell. Yeah it’s lovely in the sunshine, listening to the surpisingly sick tunes being played, looking at the big leaden dome of St. Pauls and being all like “No way that leaden dome is big”. But in one of our summer’s signature thunderstorms you would be miserable, the fog would be too thick to see anything of interest and your cocktail would get watered down with acid rain. It would be like being on tidal wave at Thorpe Park, but all the time, and you’d have to protect a beverage.
Do you have any god awful pubs in mind for Jack to go to at some point in the future? If you do please harass him on twitter @beerandloathinz