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The Bar Necessities: Madison London

Didn't make the trip to Ibiza this year? Madison London offers a decent approximation, with much less hassle and added St Paul's

Madison London

Madison London is as close to Ibiza as it’s possible to get without leaving the City of London. OK, that mightn’t sound very close - few people are in danger of confusing London Blackfriars with the Balearics, especially not in October - but if you wish to replicate that beach bar vibe without an actual beach then Madison is as good a destination as any.

There’s mood lighting, a live band, plenty of foliage, fresh air, clientele who have come from either the catwalk front row or the hospitality lounge of Chelsea FC, and St Paul’s Cathedral looming over the rooftop’s edge like half a baroque moon.

Admittedly one rarely glimpses St Paul’s in Ibiza but then this is the London version. Get with it.

What’s the story?

Madison has been a City staple for a few years now. It sits atop One New Change, a major shopping centre and office space designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

One New Change does a more than passing imitation of an airport, which plays very nicely into Madison’s Ibiza stylings. You half expect the staff to request your passport at the lift.

How’s the food?

What you order is partly dependent on whether you sit in the outdoor bar area or go inside to the main restaurant. I say ‘partly’ because much of the menus overlap: the restaurant gives a larger selection of main course options, the bar a few more snacks. (Buttermilk chicken, for example.)

Let’s assume you have a drink at the bar and then head to the restaurant: it’s not getting any warmer, after all. Frankly you would be doing yourself a disservice to order anything other than steak or lobster; not ordering either steak or lobster at Madison is to fundamentally misunderstand the appeal of the place. One does not come to Madison and order a salad. What’s the point?

So yeah, steak or lobster. Or, if you’re a real pro, steak and lobster: the Surf ‘n’ turf will let you and your companion enjoy both. King shit.

What to drink?

Madison currently has a partnership with Fever Tree, which makes the rooftop feel even more Ibiza than it usually does.

M.I.X.E.D at Madison offers a range of spritz, sodas and of course cocktails to maintain the illusion that you’re pre-drinking for Pacha rather than trapped in a city where everything shuts at 10pm.

Alternatively, the main bar menu has plenty of wine, sparkling wine, and a whole array of spirit brands from all over the world. (E.g. Japanese whisky has its own section.) It’s surprisingly scant on cocktail options, although presumably these can be made to order.

Will it bankrupt me?

It could certainly have a crack. You don’t go to Madison on a budget, and nor should you. However stay away from the punchier booze options and you should be OK.

It’s worth noting there’s a set lunch (£30) and dinner menu (£35) if you want to keep the price down / the company card unviolated by your less important clients.

Anything else to note?

At Madison, every Sunday is Soul Sunday – combining a traditional roast with live soul music. Sounds a lot more fun than church.

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One New Change, EC4M 9AF; Madison London

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