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The Booking Office
Drinking in London is misunderstood. Our pubs are adored the world over and our beloved boozers emulated from Oceania to Oregon. Writers have waxed lyrical over the poetry of a perfect pint. But is the summation of our achievements solely found down the pub?
Not really. A couple of years back the British revival in all things epicurean swept our restaurants (The Gilbert Scott, Dinner) and did not entirely coincide with the refurbishment of St Pancras station to its former glories. Forget long champagne bars and lobby affairs – the Booking Office is powerfully evocative of the wonder of Victorian London and harks back to the romance of the grand railways of Europe. Powerful trains zipped produce, fine food and wines from the continent to and from London and the rest of Britain. The new St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a fitting reminder of the breathy grandeur and bold frontiers these new possibilities represented, for gastronomy, technology, trade and every other facet of Victorian life.
The bar is set inside what used to be the architect Gilbert Scott’s Midland Hotel, and is suitably breathtaking – arched windows, beautifully intricate brickwork and soaring ceilings are uplit dramatically, while touches like luxuriously deep leather sofas and polished marble lend the bar a modern feel. Drinks are elegant modern riffs on old-school British classics like fizzes and sours – the menu was devised by Nick Strangeway and Henry Besant, both renowned within the capital’s cocktail scene. Expect a lot of gin, brandy and cognac mixed with elegant British summertime flavours like elderflower, raspberry and apple. Wines are cheekily classified by provenance – European, historical French clarets and wines from the reaches of the British Empire in all its pomp. Service is utterly professional and prices are high – about £10 for a cocktail and £7 for a small glass of wine. But in a city full of superlatives and one-off experiences, this is well worth the expense and effort.
Opening hours: Monday - Sunday 06:30 - 02:45
The Booking Office, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Kings-Cross, NW1 2ARView Larger Map
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