With 80 rooms and suites, South Place was, in 2012, the first purpose-built hotel in 100 years to open in London's Square Mile.
The trendy high-end property, sporting interiors by Conran, was conceived by D&D London and is the restaurateurs' first hotel project.
As well as the ground-level bar that's part of 3 South Place diner, there is the Secret Garden bar — a semi al fresco venue on the first floor, which is usually reserved for hotel guests and club members but can be hired for private events of up to 60 people.
There is also Le Chiffre, a lounge for in-house residents and members with a pool table, record deck, fussball, flatscreen TV and library. If you want to apply for membership to the Club, click here.
Despite being in a business centre, South Place attracts an interesting mix of people, from bankers to DJs, and has cutting-edge art throughout. (Most recently, it showcased a quirky collection of Dolly Parton-inspired work.)
Angler Rooftop Terrace is on the seventh floor, and is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (no bookings).
The venue is accessed via the light-filled Michelin-starred Angler restaurant, headed up by executive chef Tony Fleming. (To read about how London's top chefs are taking a more relaxed approach to fine-dining, subscribers can click here.)
Facing west, the terrace is a great place to come for sunset drinks after work, but you need to get there early if you want to get a table (there is a small indoor bar as well). If you find yourself dazzled by the sun, the hotel sells Breo unisex sunglasses for £15 — they come in black, brown, turquoise and red.
I stopped by one Friday at 6pm and found the place buzzing with stylish City professionals. You could happily come here to meet clients or wind down with friends or colleagues outside of office hours. It feels relaxed yet sophisticated.
With seating for about 50 people, it's a striking spot, with the hard lines and grey architecture of the financial district offset by the terrace's olive trees and purple lavender bushes fringing its edges. At one end is an outdoor chef's station where snacks are prepared on a grill. Service is warm and attentive.
Cocktails are a must-try here, with seven Angler signatures (all £12) to choose from.
I ordered the No 69 – served up in a small crystal tumbler, it's a delicious infusion of El Jimador tequila, lime, agave nectar and avocado purée. With a crescent of salt around the rim, it’s a pleasing evolution of the margarita.
Other ones to try include the No 7 (Pampero Especial rum, honeydew melon, chilli, lemon and honey) and the fresh No 10 (Tanqueray gin, blueberries, lemon, soda and lavender).
If you fancy a "Premium Classic" (£12-£18) made with superior spirits, a good choice would be the elegant Vesper, made with Tanqueray No 10, Ciroc grape vodka and Lillet Blanc, served cold, straight up, with a twist. They're strong, though, so go easy.
They also do a Bison Mule. One of my favourite cocktails, it's essentially a Moscow Mule (made with vodka, ginger beer, lime and soda) but with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, which has more flavour.
If you prefer beer, there's a tempting selection of local brews, from Bethnal Pale Ale and Hoxton Stout, to Camden Hells and Meantime London lager. Mixers are by Fever Tree.
There's a wide selection of spirits (at least a dozen rums, tequilas, gins, vodkas and an extensive whisky menu), plus champagne (£88 to £98 a bottle) and wine (from £5 per glass or £21 for a bottle).
Another nice touch is the option to buy cigars — there are six to choose from, with the cheapest being a Romeo y Julieta for £10, and the most expensive a Cohiba Sigla 6 for £60.
With Michelin-starred chef Tony Fleming overseeing the kitchen, you don't get run-of-the-mill bar snacks here.
Served from 1500 to 2200 Monday to Friday, and 1200 to 2200 weekends, there are eight tempting dishes on offer made with high-quality ingredients.
If you're feeling hungry, go for the salt cod fishcakes with fries (£10.50) or the quartet of mini cheese and pancetta sliders (£12.50). Alternatively, you can request a sharing platter for two people (£34.50), which combines both of these with the devilled whitebait and calamari.
If you fancy something lighter, there are baby crudité vegetables with cheese straws and anchovy mayo (£7.50), and a shellfish cocktail with gem lettuce (£16.50).
If you are just coming for a drink, you'll get a bowl of complimentary nibbles to tide you over until dinner.
Even if you work in the City, you may not know that South Place hotel has a rooftop bar, so this is a hidden hotspot worth heading to on a warm summer's evening.
You’ll need to get there early, though, if you want to get a table as it gets busy quickly. The cocktails are excellent, as are the snacks.
- OPENING HOURS Monday to Saturday from 1200 to 2330, and Sunday from 1200 to 2200, weather permitting.
- PRICES Cocktails from £12, food from £7.50, cigars from £10, wine from £5 per glass.
- CONTACT South Place hotel, 3 South Place, London; tel +44 (0)20 3215 1260; southplacehotel.com