The largest champagne bar in all of Europe is situated within St Pancras station? We'll drink to that
Did you know that the longest champagne bar in all of Europe is in St Pancras station? Sitting alongside the platforms from which the Eurostar departs, all 98m of Searcys St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar has recently had a revamp, and the results are very smart indeed.
Stools at the bar provide a good vantage point for looking out for people disembarking their train from France, or a good spot for a quick pre-Paris glass of something celebratory, but as we were planning a slightly longer stay, it was in one of the booths where we settled in.
Complete with heated, red leather banquette seats, cosy wooly blankets (you are in the station after all, and while it’s not freezing, the extra layer was appreciated) and impossible-to-ignore ‘press for champagne’ buttons, they accommodate up to around four people comfortably and sit in full view of the tracks, but behind a glass wall so you don’t feel the arrival of the under-the-channel trains, just see them.
Setting aside, the drinks and food menu also set the tone for appreciating the best that both sides of the Channel have to offer. The champagne list is, naturally, the main draw, and offers a lot more than you might expect. There’s the ‘house’, Besseret de Bellefon Grande – a fruity blend that definitely encourages a press of that champagne button – as well as Searcy’s own cuvee brut, a crisp, fresh champagne which, at £9.95 per glass, is our pick for a good all-rounder.
At the more expensive end of the list, there’s the likes of Louis Roederer, Pol Roger and Bollinger (this is a place to celebrate after all). Searcys is also working with various other houses throughout the year, and on our visit they’d paired-up with Perrier-Jouët to offer some very special glasses for sale. The overall selection is varied and impressive, and sommelier Jon, who is from Champagne and clearly about as passionate about the region’s eponymous drink as it’s possible to be, was delighted to guide us through the list, as well as extolling the virtues of various non-champagnes that also feature. Greyfriars, an oak-aged English sparkling, was a particular highlight, and more than held its own against its continental counterparts.
It’s not just about the drinks though, and if you’re staying for more than a glass, the good news is that the menu of snacks and small plates is equally pleasing: if you didn’t think that champagne and pork pies were natural partners, think again. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the union of France’s famous fizzy export with the celebrated British picnic staple is almost a holy one. And it’s a fitting pairing when you’re sitting under one of the UK’s most celebrated architectural wonders, watching trains set off for Paris.