Friday 23 December 2011

The Booking Office bar at the Renaissance Hotel, St. Pancras, central London

Built into the booking office of this grandiose Gothic station, the Renaissance Hotel has a jaw-dropping bar with a soaring ceiling, tall arched windows and fine vintage wooden panelling interspersed with heavily-restored brick walls. Although the furniture and lighting is mostly modern and angular, you still feel like you are sitting in a cathedral. It can be difficult to secure a seat, but once you do, the waitresses provide exemplary table service. Prices are high and the choice of beers is limited, but your ale does come in a pewter mug and is accompanied by some exotic nibbles. It is also worth wondering through to the beautiful and extravagantly spacious lobby next door. It too has bare brick walls, lead-paned arched windows and many of the original station's fixture and fittings, framed by attractive sky-blue ironwork, complete with rivets, nuts and bolts. 8/10