With the festive season fast approaching, open air ice skating rinks are beginning to pop up all over London, and last night I popped along to the launch of Skylight’s Winter Season in Tobacco Dock, Wapping.
Skylight is located in a multi storey car park in Pennington Street, which once housed the dreadful Sun newspaper.
The venue’s entrance is inauspicious to say these least – these poor women had to stand out in the cold all night to greet visitors. Not a heater in sight!
I was instructed to ‘follow the arrows’ and head up several flights of stairs.
Opening in Wapping on 25th May 2017, Skylight occupies three floors of a former car park, and in the summer launched as a lawn club themed summer pop-up.
For the winter season – which opens tonight – they’ve gone for an urban après skate bar theme (whatever that is) with several bars, fondue and the ubiquitous ‘street food,’ plus a rooftop ice rink, ice hockey shooting and DJs.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of heating inside so things were very snug in the main bar/eating area.
On-trend coloured neon illuminated the interior.
The food stalls were at the far end, and being a freebie press launch, the queues were pretty big. There seemed a decent selection of hot food on offer, but by the time I’d arrived they’d stopped taking individual orders and you had to try and get the attention of a passing waitress offering tray snacks.
I only managed to bag some spicy rice/tofu thing which was pretty awful, but tables nearby seemed to be enjoying tucking into the cheese fondue (which normally starts at a hefty £14.95 per person, with chocolate fondue at £9.95 per person).
Still the booze was free, and I was happy enough with the bar offering of Coors Light, Blue Moon, Wolf Rock, and Rekorderlig, plus an ‘apple crumble cocktail,’ mulled wine, mulled cider and the usual wines and spirits.
Next to the pergola bar on the rooftop was “London’s only rooftop ice skating rink,” which offers visitors the chance to swish their way around the modest rink for up to 45 minutes for £10.
With The Shard and the lights of the City in the background, it does make for a dramatic skating experience.
The pergola bar is adjacent to the rink, giving drinkers the opportunity to watch over-confident skaters facepalm into ice.
A purpose-built heated ‘lounge marquee’ with another small bar occupied the raised deck.
Sitting in a tent with a blanket to keep me warm has never been my idea of fun, and I felt sorry for the parka-clad bloke working the bar.
Here’s the view from the top bar looking north.
Star of the show for me was Gus and his delightful hot chestnuts.
A proper London geezah, he’s been dispensing roasted chestnuts since 1977 and they’re ruddy delicious too. Find out more – and book him for your events – here.
Skylight’s ice hockey penalty shooting game is priced at a reasonable £3 for 10 shots, “with exciting offers and prizes to be won.”
Back in the bar area, there was plenty of fondue action going on.
Filming the woman eating a fondue who is filming herself eating a fondue. How very meta!
The DJ – bless ‘im – played a suitably inoffensive set of dance tunes that left the dancefloor untroubled. These gigs are always tough.
A last look before heading home.
The venue is open until 11pm from Thursday to Sunday, with free entry.