One magical evening a rooftop bar awakened, awash with emblazoned primary colours, punters lining up, tip tapping their feet as the drinks waltzed on by. The sound of tangible slurping was visible, cocktails dribbling onto candy cane walls, pinks and purples dancing in a riot of colour around the tongues who were wrapped around ice and alcohol. And who could forget the vegan bao buns with tofu and katsu that plunged into expectant mouths, morsels clinging on for dear life, as we savored and relished every last drop? We slithered into the press night with excitement, gazing in wonderment at the fuchsia pink interior design that coated Roof East in Stratford in it’s rose tinted lens.
There was the Barbie pink ‘lanes’ juxtaposed with an abstract graphic wall featuring 6 action-packed gaming lanes, where players could Curl, Bowl or Shuffle to victory, while a woman preened next to a pepto bismol pink wall scattered with ‘street art balloons’, oh how she clutched on with raucous delight. And while pink seemed to be the flavour of the month in this retro adventure, Roof East was not shy to latch on to other bright colours like sunshine yellow, teal blues and pillarbox red. There was the sunshine wonderland of the Vietnamese vegan haven Eat Chay, who served up such culinary delights like crispy Korean fried tofu drizzled with heavenly gochujang sauce, wrapped around pickled cucumber and sesame seeds. There was the aforementioned bar, in its pink and abstract art glory, whose cocktails were generously filled with alcohol a-plenty, it was clear we would be getting merry tonight, their cheeky smiles affirmed it.
In this retro playground Roof East was the master of it’s domain, interlinking a love of retro games that we know and love with delicious food, instagrammable walls, and cocktails that weren’t shy to bite back. In short it was a slice of heaven, carpeted in a golden sun that wrapped us in its awaiting arms so maternally. Into the bosom of fun we went, our mouths dry with anticipation, butterflies swanning their wings in our gurgling bellies. We fell in love with Roof East that evening, as we watched the sun crawl into its nighttime slumber and the moon stretch into silvery awakening, its lunar light casting an ethereal quality over Roof East, gasping as the playground transformed into the lascivious den of the night. While our bellies were sated by mouthwatering food from Burger Project, Eat Chay and Kolkati, it was the bar that had us coming back for more, the rum and raspberry ‘Knickerbocker Royale a firm favourite in my camp, a sweet aphrodisiac that implored us into hazy consciousness, it seeped into our veins, we had our alcohol goggles on.
We were getting drunk true, but no matter for it was a lazy Thursday evening, where a long weekend commenced, we craved the freeing feeling of letting our hair down, the alcohol induced exhilaration coursing through our body like electricity. Cocktails upon cocktails clambered into our mouths with careless abandon, oh how we relished them, what a treat we cried among ourselves, sinking our teeth into bao buns with sriracha mayo that dribbled unceremoniously down our chins. Like Skylight, Roof East was another East London bar that was the gift that just kept on giving.
And yet there was more to Roof East than just being your typical bar ‘booze fest’, it was a retro adventure that begged us to take a closer look. There were games that would appeal to even the most novice of players, a fun evening where VR danced on the graves of traditional board games, and punters would roll on the floor laughing at the antics that would commence cheekily in the glow of the pink backdrop that lay yonder. We began with a foray into the monochromatic delight of House of Foos, London’s first supercharged VR foosball experience courtesy of SFG Club, laughing with anticipatory glee. Inside the monochrome transformed into neon football posters in bright green, pink and red, that reminded me of ‘post it notes’, while the footy reached new heights with a VR mix of traditional football and table foosball (on steroids). Unsurprisingly, not being one who was amazing at games, I did not win, but we did not care; having only lost by one point, we reveled in the hilarity of a game which we were terrible at but nevertheless still enjoyed playing, as we kicked footballs in random directions, the laughter bubbling in our throats. We might not have been the best game players, but we were certainly not sore losers, eager to try all the retro games that Roof East had to offer. There was the aforementioned lanes where you could play sliders curling, de la bowl and puck buddies shuffleboards, which were a real treat to give a go, even if it was to laugh at me in a formal dress attempting to play lawn bowls, oh how we chortled.
Perhaps the most innovative gaming experience was the addition of ‘Birdies’ London’s only rooftop golfing experience boasting more patience-testing holes and mind-bending hazards than a buggy ride with an angry Tiger. While ‘crazy golf’ has never been my forte, even the most terrible of players could appreciate Birdies from an aesthetic point of view, with its refreshed, country garden themed course contrasting with bright pink buggies, comic strip style ‘golfing obstacles’ (see the ‘human cannonball’ section as an example) and aqua blue sailing boats, complete with wooden paddles, inviting you into its retro adventure world. And while you might be forgiven for giving crazy golf a miss for fear that you will end up looking like a fool, have no fear because if a gaming novice (i.e. someone who enjoys playing them but is terrible) like me can pluck up the courage to make an ass of myself, then so can you. Believe me it’s worth it. Alongside the Lanes, Birdies and House of Foos, Roof East is also home to Sluggers, which despite the name has nothing to do with slug bonking and everything to do with ‘batting cages’. The ultimate stress relieving experience, Sluggers is not only known as London’s only batting cage, but it is also a hell of a lot of fun. Just imagine you are batting away all your f**kboy ex boyfriends and welcoming in a new happier you. So satisfying.
While retro gaming is not for everyone, Roof East is also home to other wondrous attractions that will have your mouths agape with glazed glee. For the fitness fanatics among us imagine indulging in Rooftop Yoga, overlooking the gorgeous East London skyline, peering into a vision where art and modern architecture collide in satiating harmony. Run by Flow East Yoga, why not salute the beautifying majestic sun in Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes that are suitable for all levels? A anxiety and stress-inducing reliever, rooftop yoga has never sounded more appealing,as you watch the sun unfurl its amber rays and engulf you in its silky arms. Or if you want to pick up the pace and add a little disco into your life, Roof East now offers uplifting silent disco workouts, which unlike the silent discos you had at university, does not involve you hastily making out with randos and shouting at your friends because you can’t hear a God damn word they are saying. Instead come and shake your week off with an uplifting silent disco, where you’ll unwind, dance and accidentally get fit in the process! If you love to dance, but don’t love the weekend nightclub chaos that usually goes with it, then this is the event for you. After all there is nothing more excruciating than trying to bust some moves, only to have someone’s armpit in your face, and another person’s leg in your mouth, as 500 bodies press up against each other in a cramped nightclub.
But perhaps my favourite sounding attraction at Roof East is the Rooftop Film Club which not only am I am dying to try, but is also reasonably priced given the location and setting. Offering cult classics such as Grease, Dirty Dancing and Back To The Future, why not start your summer right slurping on ‘Extreme Ice Cream’ and passionately making out, while a classic movie like Clueless plays in the background, sighing with undisguised contentment? And if you’re hungry, there are plenty of food stalls offering vegan,vegetarian and meat friendly options to whet your appetite, making Roof East the place to be this summer. One thing’s for certain, I’m coming back and that’s a fact.
Have You Ever Been To A Retro Themed Gaming Rooftop Bar Before?
Please note I was invited as a guest of Love Pop Ups London but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by complimentary services.