I have to admit, I am a hippie at heart. I would have loved to go to San Francisco wearing flowers in my hair to meet some gentle people there. I was, of course, too young to experience the Swinging Sixties, ‘Flower Power’, the ‘Summer of Love’ and everything that went with it, but I believe I somehow absorbed the vibes of the time and I to love the era: the music, the films, the literature and that generation’s ideals and hope for peace & love & freedom. ‘Make Love Not War’ is still one of the most powerful manifestos ever. Everybody should adhere to that.
This summer you can experience a small corner of San Francisco in the Sixties on The Queen of Hoxton’s Rooftop in London’s East End, which has been transformed into a tribute of the iconic summer of ’67 with the help of festival production maestros Mad Ferret. The journey begins in the staircase, filled with psychedelic and trippy murals and Sixties sounds (I’ve got a rendition of Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival on my way up – on of my favourite songs) and once you emerge at the top, you have travelled back in time to a place full of colour, glitter, flowers and bubbles.
What also makes you feel like you have travelled back in time (maybe not quite as far back as the Sixties) is the prices of the food and cocktails. A main course with sides for £8, cocktails starting at £5. And though the prices might be cheap, the quality (and quantity) is not being skimped on.
We had a delicious Beatnik Burger (spiced lamb, aubergine & tzatziki) – loved this, a great combination, Salmon & Garfunkel (BBQ salmon filet with pickled ginger in a soya dressing) – the salmon was beautifully cooked and the ginger gave it an extra little kick, and Little Wing Skewers (grilled piri-piri-chicken, chorizo and halloumi kebabs) – very spicy, but in a good way (make sure you’ve got a a drink on hand!), all served with a selection of ‘Aint She Sweet (Potato) (garlic & rosemary roasted sweet potato wedges), Carlos Santana Slaw, 4:20 Salad (cress, rocket & lamb’s lettuce with herbs) and Give Peas a Chance – a superfood salad with quinoa, peas, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, orange segments and avocado dressing.
Vegetarians are also well catered for with Magic Mushroom (a Portobello & vegetable burger with melting goat’s cheese) and Rainbow Drops (a trio of falafels (walnut & beetroot, feta & spinach, chickpeas & butterbeans). All the sides can also be ordered individually.
Do leave room for the seriously trippy Psychedelic Ice Cream Sandwich – a slab of artisan salted caramel ice cream from Hackney Gelato sandwiched in a Yummies Deli rainbow bagel.
Cocktails range from ice cream floats to slushies, summer punches to boozy ice teas.
We tried The Limes They Are A Changin’ – a retro punch with lemon-limeade, fresh lime juice, lime jelly & Green Mark vodka , LSTea – iced jasmine tea, Southern Comfort and Hendrick’s gin and the Here Comes The Sun slushy – blood orange juice, lime, Cointreau and El Jimador tequila. All of these are just perfect for the summer and there are plenty more to choose from. (I now wish I had tried the Drop Sorbet, not Bombs float – Dalston Cola sparkling apple, Hackney Gelato raspberry sorbet & Hendrick’s gin. Next time!)
A whole range of wines, beers and ciders are also available at very decent prices.
This rooftop bar is one of the original ones and still one of the best, reinventing itself twice a year to give you a great place chill out with plenty of seating, and to eat delicious food and drink excellent cocktails. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves and that includes the staff!
Thank you to the Queen of Hoxton and the ladies from the Mothership Group for inviting us to the press evening (and the Love Support Unite heart specs!) – we had a fantastic time and will be back. No doubt about it!
Love & Peace!
Rooftop opening times:
Monday to Wednesday: 4pm to 12am
Thursday 4pm to 2am
Friday 3pm to 2am
Saturday 12pm to 2 am
Sunday 12pm to 12am
This place is hugely popular and there often seems to be a queue to get up onto the roof, especially when part of the venue has been taken over by a private event. But it is definitely worth it, so try and skip off work an hour early (tell them ‘Sabine said so’!) if you don’t want to wait in line.
Queen of Hoxton Rooftop
1 Curtain Road
Nearest tube: Old Street / Liverpool Street / Shoreditch High Street