The fantasy of time travel is simply a daydream one never expects to embark upon. But as you step into the stately venue of the former ticketing headquarters for London’s St. Pancras Rail Station, murmurs of hurried travelers beginning their journeys linger in the air and you begin to believe time travel is possible. The grandiose new resident occupying the former booking office of the British railway services transports you back, far back, to a time when travel was a luxury and preparation for it was a social experience. The appropriately titled, Booking Office Bar and Restaurant in the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, is an architectural statement of British heritage and history. Gothic arched windows frame the dramatically high ceilings while the 100ft marble bar spans the length of the palatial cathedral-like hall. Rich, stylish furnishings and dark wood décor are the backdrop to the show stopping centerpiece of the room, the original ticket booth, magnificently restored and a true testament of the respect taken during restoration, celebrating both the ephemeral lifestyle of a jet-setter and the legacy of English traditions.
The unique appeal of the Booking Office is reflected in the clientele, a revolving door of diverse guests ranging from business suits to fashionable socialites all with varying purposes and schedules. Patrons can arrive fresh from their Eurostar journeys and nibble on a selection of bar snacks, like haggis bon-bons and modern interpretations of time-honored British recipes. The drinks menu, a declaration of praise and admiration of the Victorian era, features an array of bespoke and seasonal cocktails with contemporary novelties such as Billy Dawson’s punch, served in hand made copper punch bowls. Continuing down the path of reverence to English heritage, there is an abundance of wines, ales and ciders sourced from local and historical breweries. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed on the outside seating area overlooking the platforms of St. Pancras Station.
A ubiquitous café echoing the transient spirit of its patrons, the Booking Office Bar and Restaurant is not just a passage until your next destination, it is your destination.
The Booking Office Bar and Restaurant
St. Pancras Renaissance
Holly Boyle is a freelance writer based in London. She has been a contributing writer for Runway Magazine and Voda Magazine.