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7 April 2011

Between the Gares

After all of the building work and all of the fuss, the St Pancras Renaissance hotel has reopened. Well, sort of. Technically, the bar manager said, they aren't open until May 5, but the Booking Office Bar was awfully busy this evening for a place that hasn't officially opened. It was standing room only, in fact, although to be fair, there was a fair bit of standing room. My bus journey into work takes me past the hotel so it was nice to finally have a drink there this evening after tracking its progress for so long.

A Victorian Manhattan and a Cosmopolitan Daisy
The inspiration for the drinks listed on the pretty cocktail menu comes from the 1870s, when the hotel was opened in its original incarnation, and includes "a range of Victorian and contemporary punches" -- my Cosmopolitan Daisy (gin, orange curacao, lemon juice and raspberry syrup) was a little too hot pink to be too Victorian but it was very fruity and pretty potent. The Victorian Manhattan (sweet vermouth, whisky, sugar syrup, angostura,curacao, lemon zest), meanwhile, was darker and less sweet -- much more suitable for William Rackham than for Sugar. At £7 a pop, they're also pretty reasonably priced for this part of NW1. We were also served a small pewter tankard of what I think was salted/flavoured popping corn, which was tasty and toothsome.

The bar itself, which is, of course, in what was once the booking office, is high-ceilinged and airy, with the same red-brick walls you can see on the building's exteriors and a view of trains departing from St Pancras for Paris or, at least, Sheffield. In a part of town where you usually have to choose between grungy pubs and overpriced gastropubs, the BOB is a nice addition. I'll just have to remember to book next time, if I want to enjoy one of the comfy-looking booths.

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