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Stag Ideas

Praying for a layover: the world’s best airport and railway station bars

Red7 , March 6, 2014

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Redseven spent time sampling the gorgeous cocktail punches at Booking Office Bar, St. Pancras Station, London.  We stumbled upon the hidden treasure during a listless wander through the echoing white chambers of the enormous train station while waiting for a connection. A small door upstairs leads to a decadent time capsule capturing the lost tradition of the station bar.

The drinks menu is historical, with inspiration taken from cocktails served at banquets in the old hotel, including punches served in copper punch bowls. Booking Office bar feels like an exclusive escape, kept secret from the hurrying commuters and weary travellers at 9pm.

In tribute, we’ve unveiled some of the most luxurious and unique railway station and airport bars in the world, that capture the days when long journeys were a glamorous, refined pursuit.

Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Paris

Le Train Bleu restaurant and lounge was built in 1900 and displays the best in French opulance. Guests recline on leather chairs, flanked by 41 paintings on floors and ceiling, chandeliers and gold décor, while dining on a traditional French menu, including specialities such as Charolais beef tartare. The wine menu is extensive and on the pricier side.

Pool Bar, SIN Airport, Singapore

Hot and weary travellers can freshen up with a swim at Singapore Airport’s Balinese-inspired Pool Bar and sip cocktails in the Jacuzzi whilst watching planes take off and land overhead.

Campbell Apartment, Grand Central Station, New York

The plush 1920s former office and salon of infamous American tycoon, John W. Campbell at New York’s Grand Central Station has been transformed into an extravagant cocktail bar with an extensive and inventive cocktail list and a smart dress code.

Tootsies Orchard Lounge, Nashville Airport

Grab one last slice of Nashville before you leave at the iconic Tootsies Orchard Lounge. It may not be fancy, but it sure is an experience. Expect live country music, a wall of fame of Nashville’s country stars photos and memorabilia, beer and mouth watering southern grub.

One Flew South, Atlanta Airport, Georgia

One Flew South bar and restaurant at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport stands out for two reasons: it’s home grown produce and furnishings made from Georgia’s rare Cherokee Marble and native pinewood flooring and ceiling, and it’s cocktail menu. The cocktails are inspired by the 1920s Aeromarine airline, who allowed passengers to drink aboard flights during prohibition era.

Centurion, Newcastle Station, UK

Centurion Bar in Newcastle railway station is a Grade I listed First Class passenger lounge built in 1893. It has been named as the most impressive bar in Newcastle thanks to it’s beautifully renovated décor after being used as cells by the British Transport Police in the 1960s, and being butchered by British Rail with external piping and bright red paint. Luckily, the bar has been rescued and restored to its former glory.

Traxx, Union Station, Los Angeles

Traxx in Downtown LA provides a slice of old school Hollywood glamour for the lucky traveller who stumbles upon the art deco wooden fittings and marble flooring of the bar and restaurant in the station’s Old Telephone Room. Guests can treat themselves to the lunch, dinner and bar menus with upmarket dishes including venison and pork loin. It’s worth a visit whether you’re waiting for a connection or not.

Reunion, Victoria Station, London

Finally, London Victoria Station’s Reunion Bar in the Grosvenor Hotel provides a worthy rival for The Booking Office. Transformed from Victoria’s old First Class Lounge, this classy joint serves up a signature cocktail menu, champagne, fine wines and succulent sharing platters.

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