The Roof Gardens Club, Kensington

The Roof Gardens Club, Kensington

The Roof Gardens Club Review

The Roof Gardens Club is featured in these Guides:

Best for: Finding out about undiscovered musical talents in unique surroundings.

Great: For impressing a date, or a great night out with a group of friends.

“Beam me up, Scotty.” I couldn’t resist uttering those immortal words when I pressed the 6th floor button in the lift. Luckily, no one else was in the lift.

My mission? To investigate the galactic phenomenon that is the Roof Gardens, a roof terrace covering 1.5 acres at the top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street. Yes, you read that right: 1.5 acres! It’s one of the largest roof gardens in the Solar System.

Unsurprisingly, that famous space entrepreneur, Richard Branson, was extremely keen on the venue and has been leasing it since 1981. There’s now a clubhouse and a restaurant called Babylon (Is Mr Branson a secret fan of Babylon 5, I wonder?)

I was there on an arctic Saturday night for their “Live at the Roof Gardens” music sessions. It was bitterly cold; outer space cold. I could have done with a spacesuit. Top marks to the marketing geniuses at the Roof Gardens for coming up with the idea of a marquee in the Tudor Gardens to host the live music experience. Warm, inviting, picturesque and, more importantly, great acoustics. It was truly an out-of-this-world experience, inside a marque, in a roof garden, on top of a building, listening to great bands, with snow falling outside. I felt safe inside the starship enterprise.

AJ Moore was playing live when I visited. It was pop rock infused with musical elements of classical, modern jazz, soul and blues. It was soothing, it was relaxing and he definitely had the charm of a space cowboy. He cleverly got the crowd to take their mobile phones out when he introduced his band, asking them to video and post on Facebook, Twitter and even the less cool MySpace. Showing how exotic bands are these days, he had a crew from Newcastle, Belgium and Columbia.

The refreshment quarters at the marquee had a select offering, but most importantly hip beers like Asahi and Peroni. I felt I’d been beamed up to a new social echelon. The bar near the dance floor in the main building has just about every earthly spirit imaginable, perfect for a cocktail connoisseur like me.

The Roof Gardens Club, Kensington

I have to let you in on a little secret: many moons ago I took a first date to The Roof Gardens, hoping to impress, and, to my surprise, on this revisit, the venue hadn’t dated one bit. The dance floor looked space age; the gardens — Spanish garden, Tudor garden and English Woodland garden — looked timeless. I wish my backyard was this well-manicured.

I had actually hoped to see the garden’s famous flamingos, but given that a layer of snow was covering the roof, their health and safety was probably paramount.

On the night I was there, there was a private party in one area; I believe the dress code was Venetian, given their fancy masks, or maybe it was alien? Overall, it was an extremely friendly and polite crowd, appreciative of music, ready for a party. The party continued on after the live music session finished at 10pm, with a disco night until the late hours.

The staff must be genetically linked. They all possessed the smart looking gene, and had the aloofness gene that you might expect to find in such venues removed. The bar staff who served me remembered my drink of choice the second time I approached the bar. Now that is customer service!

Sadly, I can’t quite afford a trip on Virgin Galactic, but I think this really is the next best thing. I am already scanning their upcoming schedule to see who is performing and gathering my crew for my next voyage. . read more

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