Dive bars: I love a louche lair populated by weird, wired interestings whose only brush with daylight will come as they slope home, bleary-...
Monday, 10 February 2014
The Golden Arrow, St Pancras
In my fluffier Mills and Boon moments, I imagine bars in railway stations to be high on romantic thrills. One last Belvedere martini at The Gilbert Scott or The Booking Office Bar before you French kiss your fantasy Parisian chaud-ie 'au revoir' at l'Eurostar terminal? Oui, oui, OUI! The reality: a swift can of Carlsberg at Liverpool Street before Anjii from accounts skulks back to her old boy and brats in Billericay? Not in my script! Conveniently located next to St Pancras and Euston, named after The Golden Arrow - that most glamorous of London-Paris pullman boat trains from an age when continental travel was not yet within reach of the sans culottes - this 'premiere upscale' hotel lounge promises much. In the event, it reminds me more of another form of travel. Hard-edged, shiny, sleek, 60s postmodernist corporate canteen-like decor, I'm in an American airport circa late-TWA...and the vibe such as there is, is dull as Dulles International. A stellar range of 200 fine whiskies, Calvados and cognac such as Rémy Louis XIII (at £175 a shot) deserves more seductive surroundings. Ditto, classic cocktails (£9.50) and house ideas such as Appleton 12 chocolate mojito, or pullman connection (a Ketel One, Midori and lychee fix). The bar’s Enomatic system offers a useful range of wines by the glass, albeit none from England on the list we’re handed. Likewise, a selection of contemporary local beers might anchor the hotel to its host city - a trick attempted here by those ubiquitous flying top hat/ bowler hat lights. It's a lame attempt to get the London look. Pizzetti, Reuben sandwich, ham and cheese croquet (sic), tiramisu: you could be almost anywhere at an Arrow that fails to hit the bullseye.