A few things about the bar itself, it's reservations only and you have to check in with reception on the ground floor on arrival after which you have to go through airport like security but it's all pretty quick. There's an express elevator to the 42 floor and as you step through the door to Vertigo, you're immediately facing south-east so you are greeted with visuals of Tower Bridge, the Thames, the Mayor's office, the Belfast and The Shard; impressive. The seating area in the bar hugs the window line and follows the perimeter of the building clockwise round so that as you walk through the bar, you then look west for St Pauls, the London Eye, and even Wembley in the distance before looking north (Liverpool Street) and then looping back round east to catch the Heron Tower, the top of the Gherkin and Canary Wharf in the background. It's simply stunning.
The offering is basically champagne with some bar food like smoked salmon, Caesar salad, and hams available. If you want full on dining, it's downstairs to Michelin starred Rhodes 24 on the 24th floor. I want to make the joke that prices here are 'sky high' but that would actually be unfair. It's not cheap but they do have location and champagne starts at around £60 a bottle though service charge will be added. Staff are friendly enough but the real reason for coming is to look out the window and gawp.
There are three basic reasons for coming here then: one, impress clients, two, to take friends and family from out of town who will simply love it, and three, for when you just want to remember what a fabulous city London is and you want to look out and be amazed all over again. Noted by Douglas Blyde, the window buttresses are very thick but that also has the effect of creating natural 'dividers' between seated parties in the bar.
The proposition at this bar is so simple and so obvious that no more words are really needed so I'll let the pictures take over. But one thing worth noting though is that it looks very different during the day and at night. If time and season permits, start your visit there during the daylight, watch the sun set over London and see it come to night life, that way you get the best of all worlds.