It’s 9.30pm on a still and clear Wednesday night when we pull up close to the towering crane currently occupying Bristol’s Waterfront Square. Mr TGE shoots me a concerned look, “are you sure you want to do this..?” I squint up at the top of the crane, where the most exclusive table in Bristol is currently dangling 100ft up and give a slightly-more-confident-than-I’m-feeling nod. “Absolutely! I bet it doesn’t even feel that high when you’re up there..” I offer, as I trot off to find out just how wrong I am.
Bristol in the Sky is one of the hottest new tickets in town and offers a variety of foodie delights from such Bristol favourites as Rosemarino’s, Henry’s, Romy’s Kitchen and Swoon to name a few. Tickets are on sale for events from the 7th – 12th September and offer a choice of breakfast, lunch, gelato, pie, dinner or cocktails in the sky (prices range from £50 – £150). You can book tickets HERE. So when I was asked if I fancied coming along to try out a cocktail or two with the wonderful Her Majesty’s Secret Service it was an offer I couldn’t refuse….
I did ask Mr TGE if he fancied coming along too but he went a little bit pale and asked me if I remembered the Eiffel tower. Swallowing my snigger I agreed it was probably best this was a lone mission; back in the early days of the TGE household in an effort to win ALL OF THE GIRLFRIEND POINTS I organised a surprise weekend away to Paris for Mr TGE’s birthday. It was a flurry of wine, delicious food and strolling along achingly beautiful Paris boulevards, so lovely! Well nearly all lovely until we reached the top of the Eiffel Tower and saw the dazzling view of Paris in autumn sunshine stretched out before us. Sighing contentedly I turned to Mr TGE who was curiously no longer there… Looking around I spotted him ashen face and plastered rigidly against the central support beam, breathing rather heavily. After a few quick (incredibly tense) selfies, we agreed maybe it was time to go down…
So, cocktails in the sky, probably not up his street. But as it turns out, totally up mine! Arriving into the plush champagne reception there was an excited crowd of bloggers and writers eager to begin their journey. We could see the dinner table (catered by Menu Gordon Jones, apparently he did something fabulous with eel but I never found out what) above our heads preparing to descend and a thrill of anticipation ran through the crowd.
First came a little bit of housekeeping between champagnes (or the more bump friendly soft drink options) however. You need to check your bag into the cloakroom, you’re allowed to take your phone up with you but nothing bulkier than that. Next, a quick trip to the loo, there’s no options once you’re up there! Lastly (and especially if you’re doing a dinner or evening trip) make sure you take a warm jacket with you. We were lucky that it was such a still night but the staff warned us that the wind can get a bit nippy. The final item on the do list was a quick safety briefing (essentially don’t try and strap yourself into the seat as you’ll do it wrong, let the staff do it. Oh, and try not to drop anything once you’re up there!) and before I knew it, it was time to go!
It feels a bit like being strapped into a rollercoaster but even more so – you’re securely fastened into the large padded seat and have a small platform to rest your feet on but other than that you’re dangling! A few nervous and excited glances were exchanged before, with a small jolt, we were up, up and away!
Now, Bristol is a beautiful city at the best of times but I was honestly blown away by what an incredible view we had. As there are no walls or floor to speak of at the sky table you have a totally uninterrupted view across the city and at night the sparkling lights of the harbourside glitter across the water. It was absolutely breathtaking! But we weren’t there just for the view, no no! We had cocktails (mocktails in my case) to drink! Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of Bristol’s best ‘secret’ cocktail bars with many fun quirky details. I do enjoy a bar that requires you to enter through a telephone box, so expectations were high. Luckily, we were not disappointed. Representing HMSS were Lucas and Ben (the ‘fun and fit ones’ I had been assured on the ground. No offence to the other HMSS bar staff, I’m sure you’re lovely too) who were standing by to get the night started in the most intriguing way. Handing out individually addressed airmail envelopes to each of us containing a mystery bottle, we were introduced to the ‘Mile High Club’ (stop it, all of you!), a beautiful light fizzing glass of lime, honey, prosecco and Greek Masitha! Although I had the mocktail version of this I can honestly say I didn’t feel hard done by at all – it was absolutely delicious and looked just like the real thing so I didn’t feel left out. Bristol seems to have a bit of mocktail aversion, the closest I’ve found in most places is an orange and lemonade to be honest, so it was a real treat so have something quite so special.
Helping myself to plenty of nibbles (apologies to the lovely Matt who I sat next to, I definitely ate your share) and sipping my drink, I took in the spectacular surroundings. A cocktail at 100ft sounds like a gimmick and I had been convinced it would be, but it really is so much more than that, it honestly felt like a truly special and unique experience. You can turn your chair round a fair amount (hello dangling feet…) to improve even further on the view and the crane rotates the table every now and again so that everyone gets a chance to check out the vista from all angles. Gazing out over Bristol my attention was brought back to the table as it was time to crack on with cocktail number 2… and this time it was up to us to mix it!
Placed in front of us were bespoke airplane trays with an array of tiny bottles filled with what looked like various potions. Intrigued, we tucked in to ‘Trayviation’, following the guide to create our own cocktail. The boozy version of this contained Bombay Sapphire gin, marachino liquor a palma violet type spirit as well a cherry to finish the whole thing off! My gin was swapped for tonic and I had a little green bottle of pepper-minty potion rather than violet but other than that my instructions were the same. Armed with our own cocktail shakers, stirrers and ice buckets we crafted our own little works of art (well.. ish). I was actually rather proud of mine as I remembered a Mr TGE tip to wipe the rim of the glass with my lemon rind and then gently curve it over so that you can smell it when you take a sip. It was also fairly pretty as well as being totally delicious. Although these cocktails were specially crafted just for Bristol in the Sky I might have to pop by HMSS and request one of these to be whipped up, it was absolutely gorgeous.
All too soon (but was probably somewhere between 45 mins – 1hour) we felt a little jolt and realised our time in the sky was over, it was time to head back down to earth. I once again proved how incredibly graceful I am by promptly falling into the arms of the man who unstrapped me (in my defense those seats are pretty high if you’re 5’3”!) which caused a raised eyebrow. “Good cocktails then?” he asked. They absolutely were.
A big thank you to the Bristol in the Sky and Her Majesty’s Secret Service teams for such a special evening.
Please note: this experience was received free of charge but this didn’t impact my opinion and I was under no obligation to write a positive review. No review is shared with the venue before publication.