Our visit to Roof East was brilliant, marred only by a sharp drop in temperature in the evening and a couple of racist assholes who tried to steal our seats and then racially abused my friend when she wouldn’t let them. Thankfully she is made of stern stuff. But anyway, onto the fun part.
Rooftop bars are ten a penny, and, being in Stratford, you’re not going to get the views that sell some of the others. However, Roof East makes up for this by providing a bucketload of entertainment. You can book yourself into Birdies crazy golf, curling, shuffleboard, petanque, batting cages … OR, like we did, VR foosball! I’ll admit, we wondered why we had thought paying £5 each to pretend to play foosball was a good idea but believe me, it is. As we donned our goggles and picked our teams, a virtual foosball stadium appeared, a virtual ball exploded onto the pitch, bouncing towards me and making me dodge out the way and the game began!
The clever thing they have done is make it like playing a video game with special moves your players can perform (like dribbling up the pitch) depending on whether you can figure out the right combination of buttons, and adding ‘power ups’ that are unlocked when you kick a ball that has passed through one of the floating graphics. For example, the death ball (try not to get the death ball) which turns your innocuous ball into a menacing, spikey red hellball emitting black smoke and indiscriminately destroying any player, not matter which team, it comes into contact with. Quite a shock when that was first unleashed and we couldn’t figure out why!
When your team scores, the player on your side who scored jumps off its pole and does a victory dance while music plays and the other team’s goalie equally frees himself from the bar to lament his poor skills. A couple of seconds later they are snapped back onto their poles, trapped to do their soccer work for the rest of the match.
I can’t really stress how much fun this was – we were shrieking, laughing, dancing along to the victory tunes when we scored. Bloody brilliant. Oh, and if there are too many of you to all play at once, your mates can watch your match on the screen on the wall!
The roof itself is done really well – plenty of bars and lots of free games within them like giant jenga, and something which I think might have been tabletop curling, plus loads of outside seating. The place has a slightly Miami beach feel to it with abandoned cars stuffed full of plants and lights strewn around. Of course there are places to eat – burgers, kati rolls and a vegan bao and dumplings shack.
A perfect destination for a summer evening (a very distant prospect now admittedly) with a group of mates.