In the heart of Tower Bridge a new bar awaited our arrival, where adults gave up ‘adulting’ for childlike fun, and immersed themselves into a world of frivolity and make believe. There would be an inflatable flamingo, plump and pink in a white and blue ballpit, while a silver disco ball danced overhead. There would be a white plush teddy bear splayed out nonchalantly across blue and white balls, with a marghrita in one hand and a diamond watch in another living its best boujiee life. And who could forget the neon lights that shone so brightly above our heads with retro-ifed delight, yellows, pinks and greens pulsating vibrantly? But for now our journey into ball pit land had not yet begun, crawling out of the early evening that yawned into Two Ruba Bar, where teddies and flamingos danced with wondrous glee. Drinks were topped up plentifully and both non-drinkers and drinkers alike could celebrate and get merry, as our party grew to be ever bigger, reveling in prosecco that sparkled on the tip of our tongues. The fizz was fragrant as it toyed with our senses, while we nibbled on plump juicy green olives that were a Mediterranean chica’s known kryptonite. With the addition of cashew nuts, we munched and crunched as we drank, shaking hands among new friends with gladness in our hearts.
For the non drinkers a mulled strawberry mocktail was the order of the day, with fresh lemon juice, strawberry syrup and elder flower cordial topped up with ginger ale, oh what a crowd pleaser this fizzy delight was. And what about wine for the aficionado, rose wine crisp and sweet on our tongues? Our tongues were plied with drinks galore and there was definitely no shortage in alcohol as we laughed in merry unison. The surroudings at first glance was unassuming, minimalist brown leather sofas, glass tables, marble bar tops, plush chaise loungers. In short the interior design seemed more suited to a minimalist’s aesthetic fantasy than a colour lover like myself. But that all changed the moment I snuck a glimpse into Two Ruba and their ball pit wonderland, where bears danced with flamingos as the inflatable palm trees swayed in the imaginary breeze. The lighting might not have been vibrant but the ballpit certainly was, where a silver mermaid sequin wall sparkled under the twinkling lights of the disco ball that moved and grooved above our heads, while the teddy bear swam through a sea of blue and white balls, desperately seeking a chance to get in on the neon fun and action, squealing heard over r’nb crooning . As Beyonce drifted through the speakers, I headed back into the main event, where we awaited the arrival of our canapes and sharing platters, our stomachs gurgling in hungry protest.
We licked our lips and drank our drinks, the first round of canapes had made their way to our tables, where crab and coriader & chilli tostada, beef with salsa Verdi and Sundried Tomato Arancini sauntered into our peripheral vision. I was disappointed to see that there was only one vegetarian canape for me to have, but was reassured that there would be more vegetarian dishes when it came to the sharing platters, where I would be able to have a ‘veggie board’ and vegan jackfruit sliders. Unfortunately as far as food was concerned Two Ruba did not cater for my allergies well, and indeed tried to serve me food that I had repeatedly told them I was allergic to, as well as being slightly dismissive of the severity of my allergies which I was not pleased about. I had notified them several times, both before the event, during the event (before the food was served) and while the food was served, a notable example being me asking what vegetables were in the vegetable platter and them ‘replying vegetables’ even though I had stressed how important it was to accomodate to my allergies. When I had looked over the prep sheet detailing all our allergies, all the allergies plus dietary requirements had been written out several times so there was no excuse to drop the ball as they did. While they did eventually bring me food that I could eat it did take them a lot of coaxing and at times I was made to feel as though I was ‘being difficult when in reality’ I had actual allergies.
An example was when they brought out the ‘vegetarian platter’ which despite assuring me did not have courgettes in, they actually did and when I told them I would be unable to have that, they said I could just have the vegetable crudites that were on the same platter and subsequently privy to cross contamination which would make me ill. I pointed this out, and they seemed to shrug it off, although after asking several times they did bring me the vegan jackfruit sliders and a vegetarian platter without the food that I was allergic to which I appreciated. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, granted Two Ruba had slipped on the food front, as they might not have been used to dealing with a large scale volume of allergies and dietary requirements, so this is something they need to work on, but as far as drinks went, and the ballpit itself, the rest of the activities were easy breezy, lemon squeezy. For my vegetarian options we began with the Sundried Tomato Arancini, which while dry and in need of some moist flavouring to balance out the crispy breadcrumbs, once plied with tomato ketchup and mayonaise proved to be a welcome nibble, while I was waiting for my other veggie options to arrive. I was later told that the arancini had tomato in, so I would have liked a stronger taste of that, but nevertheless it filled a hollow in my belly. The jackfruit sliders was a good addition to the table and I was pleased to see that Two Ruba had provided a vegan option, but despite being a lover of jackfruit, I have to say that the sliders were dry and needed some more oomph to get my seal of approval. Perhaps some spices and chili’s would have livened up the sliders but I did not appreciate that they were trying to create more vegan options for those who were dairy free.
When the additional vegetable platter came out, (that had been created without my allergens) I was pleased to see a healthy sharing platter, where juicy plump kalmata olives swam in a pool of olive oil infused with basil and rosemary, and cucumber and carrot crudites could be lovingly dipped into a small bowl of smooth hummus, with a layer of divine tahini atop. Of all the vegetarian options this was undoubtedly my favourite, and I was pleased to see that there was something that I would be able to eat with ease. While the food had got off to a rocky start, the ballpit at least was an adult’s paradise, as we regressed back into our childhood selves, laughing as we boomeranged with inflatable balls, while music reverberated around Two Ruba bar. I will say that it can seem very overwhelming going with a big group of people, who are all trying to get social content at the same time, but nevertheless that aside, a ballpit and alcohol is always (in my eyes at least) a winning combination. From the whimsical ‘toys’ and inflatables that would attract both adults and children alike, to the music that boomed out of the speakers, it was safe to say that Two Ruba was a bar with a difference. Not too dissimular to Ballie Ballerson in Shoreditch, it was a welcome fun addition to the cityscape of Tower Bridge, and was a bar that I could see being a massive hit with both the locals and tourists who were visiting London.
With small changes to their menu and training to be better equipped with dealing with allergies, I do feel that Two Ruba is a bar that I would be able to visit again and again but purely for the drinks and ballpit as opposed to the food. Nevertheless despite my experience with the food I still wanted to come back to Two Ruba, as I felt the drinks were served well, the staff for the most part were friendly and the ball pit- which of course was the main attraction- was chocker filled with fun and would appeal to people of all ages. Plus what could be a better venue for ‘date night’ than a bar that has a ballpit in it, as you unleash each other’s frivolous sides in a game of who can be the biggest kid? From date nights to Friday nights out, Two Ruba really is the place to catch your next drink this summer. Plus if you are looking for something a little different to your average party time, then Two Ruba has plenty of events to keep you and your friends/family/beau happy. If you love cocktails you might want a cocktail masterclass where you will get to learn and make cocktails which is available for groups of 5 or more people at £35.00 per person. The masterclass includes a welcome drink, 2 cocktails per person and crisps & nuts. Or if afternoon tea is more your thing then enjoy an afternoon tea at a bargain price of £19 per person, with a minimum of 10 people. Perhaps you are a soulful cat and would love to go to Two Ruba’s Wednesday Woruba Jazz nights, where you can listen to a saxophonist player live between 6pm – 8pm or perhaps a boogie is what you are waiting for, where you can enjoy the sounds of a live DJ between 6pm until 11pm on Thursdays. One thing’s for sure, if adult ballpits are your thing then Two Ruba is the venue for you.
Have You Ever Been To A Bar With A Ballpit In It?
Please note we were invited as guests of Two Ruba via Love Pop Ups London but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by complimentary services.