Kingsbury's roof top bar hasn't changed much since our last review of its opening month in 2013. We swung by on a cloudy Wednesday evening for sunset and some cocktails.
The view is still stellar (literally, because at night the stars are out and you're just a little bit closer to them that high up). There was a bit of a rough patch a couple of years ago view-wise while we were feeding the port city monster and construction marred the coastline. Now there's just a bit of beachy reclaimed land which looks bare but isn't an absolute eyesore.
Sunset at Sky Lounge is still one of the best options in the city, with it's 360 view starting with the sea, slipping into the port, the Fort area, the World Trade Centre towers, and back to the Galle Road strip that stretches out like a multicoloured ribbon of headlights when the sun goes down. The crowd is generally pretty chill too. You'll get your usual couples, post-work drink buddies, and if you're unlucky or turn up late unruly Indian businessmen.
We love that Sky Lounge is now open till about 5 AM, which means if you're really determined or alcohol-dependent you can catch both sunset and sunrise.
So this is where things get inconsistent and tricky. Sky Lounge's service has long been rumoured to be terrible, with slow or inattentive waiters. This usually gets worse as the place crowds up, with one or two waiters orbiting the usual "big spender" tables waving bottle of Belvedere (or more likely, Black Label) around.
To be fair though, I've personally found their service to be decent. Slow, because I enjoy sitting right at the tables closest to the sea and those are furthest away from the bar, but decent. I was also a fan of erstwhile manager Nish who was incredibly diligent, ensuring I'd get seated on crowded days, check everything was fine, and always remembered my usual sunset order. Service appears to have slipped in his absence, but my complaints are still just primarily about how slow it can be.
As for what we've heard from friends and quality, we're just not big fans of the quality of the service being contingent on the amount you're spending, especially later at night.
They've revamped their food menu, which is pretty interesting and long overdue. There's a bunch of heavy bar options like ribs and chicken wings, but also a selection of Lankan bites/ starters which looked intriguing. They generally also have some food promotion going on (it's tempura right now).
We tried the Down South Special Hot Butter Prawn & Calamari at Rs. 1200. It was a little bit overpriced, especially in comparison to the tempura (Prawns at Rs. 600) but absolutely superb. The seafood was fresh and lightly cooked, and the batter was crispy and deliciously spiced. We swore the spice on it tasted like Doritos Spicy dust, but there's no proof of that.
For drinks, we tried the King Coconut Refresher (Rs. 1200) and Mango Mojito (Rs. 1200) at first. The King Coconut Refresher while sounding delectable (raspberry vodka, malibu, mint leaves, fresh strawberries, king coconut water), tasted deplorable. It was so jaw-achingly sweet, and unappetizing to look at (it came in a water tumbler) that we had to ask for something else instead. The Mango Mojito was absolutely superb, with fresh mango and mint offsetting the generous amount of rum in there.
We then switched to a Cosmopolitan (Rs. 1200) and a Passionfruit Daquiri (Rs. 1200). The Cosmo was fine, rather strong for our delicate sensibilities (jk, we're hardcore), and the Daquiri was great although the abundance of passionfruit seeds made for incredibly inelegant and difficult drinking. They look like martini glasses with low volume, but we found ourselves still drinking them 15 minutes later.
All in all, great drinks barring the King Coconut special. Probably one of the priciest locations in town, but on happy hour (5:30 PM - 6:30 PM & 11:30 PM to 12:30 PM daily) it was totally worth it. with all drinks 50% off.
We definitely really enjoyed our Sky Lounge experience, especially on happy hour. The view was lovely despite the clouds, the service was great despite being slow, and the drinks were great despite the prices. All in all, it works out to a positive and enjoyable evening. It's worth giving their service another chance.
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