London and New York are my two favourite places. So of course I wanted to visit NY-LON – an airport themed bar and lounge at the 02 arena, devoted to these two fantastic cities.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta are the airlines behind this venue which was first created in Madison Square Gardens, New York. The aviation theme was obviously such a success, they delivered a cool and classy replica over the pond in London, with plenty of that loveable Virgin style.
On arrival, it really felt like we’d arrived at an airport with the check-in desk style reception and airport screens.
In front of you is the VIP area – a small but sleek set-up with a secret meeting room which you enter by pushing the illuminated drinks shelves.
The room itself, as expected, is just as cool. Think cloud-shaped lights, an opulent long meeting table and polaroid-style illuminated photographs on the wall, of exotic destinations.
To the right of the reception is a corridor displaying the names of all the destinations that Virgin Atlantic and Delta fly to. You then reach the fabulously chic lounge that’s packed with beaded curtains, Virgin red seating, New York and London themed cushions, more cloud-shaped lights and incredible convoluted mirror walls.
It was a Monday and there was no event on at the 02, so it was quiet. But it worked to our advantage, as it also meant we had the full attention of our brilliant waiter, Marcus.
The cocktail menu here is a collection of whimsically named transatlantic tipples. While the Manhattan was a bit powerful for my liking, the Cropduster – an innovative take on the Mojito – was a delight. It had a Bacardi rum base, but was packed with plenty of spicy and sumptuous flavours, thanks to the cinnamon syrup, ginger ale, chocolate bitters and of course mint. It was like Christmas in a glass but was apparently inspired by Delta’s agricultural heritage. I’ll certainly be trying to recreate this at home.
Food wise at NY-LON, it’s all about sharing platters and small plates. The small plates are either London or New York themed and the sharing platters are either ‘Land’, ‘Sea’ or ‘Dairy’. We went for one New York plate (Mac ‘n’ cheese) which was deliciously creamy, and two London plates. The crisp rabbit with heritage carrots and parsley was delicate and pretty yet indulgent, and the Billingsgate fish pie was on a conversation-stopping level of good.
The platter wasn’t so heart-stopping, but it certainly delivered a bit of New York inspiration with juicy pastrami, sour wallies (gherkins) and sauerkraut, and thick chunks of rye bread. I have to get back over to NY and try the real thing to see if this is authentic. Until then, this was an attractive and pretty tasty recreation and made me fantastise about booking my next big trip.
More cocktails? Ok, why not. It was hard to say no to this bartender’s incredible skills.
The 30,000 feet was an inventive take on the Old Fashioned, with some good old Woodford Reserve Bourbon, maraschino cherry and juice, Peychaud’s bitters and gin barrel aged orange bitters. It will certainly put some hairs on your chest, but BC agreed it was a smooth yet well-bodied drink with a delicious sweet tang. I couldn’t turn down the Flying Lady – a fabulous NY-LON interpretation of the Cosmopolitan. You can probably imagine the fruitiness when I tell you it contains Grey Goose L’Orange vodka, limoncello, orange bitters, lime and cranberry. If I could drink this onboard my next transatlantic flight, I’d be a very happy (flying) lady.
I still get that fluttery feeling of excitement in my stomach when I’m at an airport, so to introduce the aviation theme and luxurious airport lounge style into a bar is just brilliant. Add in the cool aeroplane-window toilets, fantastic cocktails and delightful staff and you have a venue that’s undoubtedly worthy of a visit. I left this stylish venue feeling like I was on er, cloud nine (sorry). Make sure you check it out.
Until next time x
Thank you to NY-LON for hosting Oh So London as part of this review. All views expressed here are my own. For more information visit the NY-LON website, follow them on twitter @NYLONatThe02, check them out on instagram @NYLONatThe02 and find them on Facebook. If you’ve been inspired to hop on the next flight to The Big Apple, Delta & Virgin Atlantic provide ten daily flights between London Heathrow and New York – with eight to New York-JFK and two to Newark.