The Oxo Tower always startles me by how far away it is from wherever you are coming from. There it glows, a powerful beacon despite its relatively small size. But as you walk towards it you realise it’s not getting nearly close enough. The night I visited the revamped bar, it was an icy, windy night. By the time my guest and I arrived, our hands and noses were frozen off. But what a way to forget frozen joints: the view was and always is the magic of this place, and now the bar is positioned to take full advantage of it, with a funky interior by Shaun Clarkson (think mustard tub chairs and LED lights).
Once past the snooty receptionists, a delightful cocktail list awaits you. We tried the Press Gang – a modern version of the maritime tipple – with rum, ginger liqueur, lime, raspberry, ginger beer and bitters; and the (most unusual) Most Unusual Cucumber Sour, whose celery bitter-infused gin comes with a rather frightening topping of fennel and celery foam. My friend adored it, I hated it. There’s plenty more to try: the perfect past-time on a cold or rainy winter’s eve. OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank SE1 9PH
Tel. 020 7803 3888.