Where: Tower Bridge
Vibe: Beach Party/Cruise Ship
Price: Surprisingly reasonable
Coppa Club. Yes, it sounds like something out of a Barry Manilow song, but at the Tower Bridge outlet, that actually feels like the vibe they're currently aiming for with their outside deck populated by palm trees. And located with views of Tower Bridge, this is a hugely popular venue, so the buzz is there, tourists mixing with locals, shorts mixing with suits and everyone having a good time.
What I am rapidly learning about bars is that they (seem to believe that they) require a USP - a Unique Selling Proposition. In this respect, Coppa Club at Tower Bridge hit upon a piece of genius. While other bars put heaters outside, Coppa Club laid igloos across the terrace and these igloos have become some of the most sought after real estate in London. Where they really come into their own is at Christmas and you can have dinner in said igloos over the festive period but be quick, no sooner do they announce they are taking bookings and the whole thing is sold out, I know, I tried to book one last Christmas and simply couldn't get anything at any time. Having your own private (heated) igloo looking over Tower Bridge at Christmas has become a big thing. Well done Coppa.
Beyond the igloos, I cannot provide a better or more succinct summary of what Coppa is than their website (so why try), so in their own words:
Coppa Club is a space for eating, drinking, meeting and unwinding. Built around a central, brass bar that’s open on all-sides, Coppa Club has a raised lounge for working and winding down, a 250-cover restaurant with a marble herringbone floor, and a café with booths and a fireplace. Outside, there’s a large, south-facing terrace that catches the sun all day. All our seating is designed to make the most of our view over the river.
Whoa. A 250 cover restaurant. Like the Tardis, it's bigger on the inside so think buzzy rather than bijou. And getting on to drinks, which is why we're here, clearly they need to serve every variety to satisfy every taste, in a mainstream way (so don't go thinking you'll be getting a snail in your cocktail like at Dandelyan).
I love topical, so on the day following Stormy Daniels declining to enter the Big Brother household, looking to the cocktails, a Pornstar Martini leapt off the page. If you're reading this two years from now and Stormy hasn't brought down the presidency, you may be wondering who the hell she is, well, you can find her on Wiki and on Pornhub. See below for the ingredient list (of the cocktail). The dominating flavour in the Pornstar Martini is obviously the passion fruit, leaving me wondering the purpose of the side shot of Prosecco which washes out alongside, but it doesn't really matter and the tropical fruit martini itself plays nicely to my beach bar narrative.
Additionally, I tried am Espresso Martini which seems to be to cocktail lists currently what beards are to Shoreditch, and a Stroppy Cow (Black Cow vodka, Kahlua, caramel syrup, sea salt & cream), dessert in a glass. And credit to Coppa, the cocktails are nice enough and the staff seem to care (about both me and the drink). But here's the other magical thing about Coppa Club, the cocktails come in at £8.45 which, quite frankly, is a bargain given your prime location. A glass of Bollinger is available at £10.95 (£63.25 if you want the bottle) which is as cheap as I can remember in London while if you want a serious drink, there's a bottle of Haut Batailley 2010: on the wine list at £88.95, it is as cheap (for a vintage Bordeaux) as it is surprising (to find it there).
It's the numbers then that make the arithmetic work. As a huge capacity venue, volume permits keen pricing and keen pricing brings in the volume of people to keep the wheels on. And I doubt you ever have to worry about dress code, rubbing shoulders, as you might be, with people who have literally just stepped off the cruise ship that anchored up next to HMS Belfast over the way. I wouldn't go so far as to call it 'the hottest spot north of Havana', but it does have a vibe and can deliver a fun evening out at a very agreeable price.