GNH Bar is a modern take on the station hotel bars of yesteryear. Given the fast-paced nature of modern society, combined with the multitude of transport options available, station hotels are a somewhat relic of a former time. So a new multi-million pound renovation would seem risky business, but risks can become huge successes, when executed well – I went down to take a closer look at this new King’s Cross creation and here’s what I thought.
As far as station hotel bars go, the GNH bar exceptionally well designed. Access to the bar can be gained from street side, the hotel and the station – creating an ever-evolving ebb and flow throughout the night, from all directions. The décor, throughout the venue, resembles the famous bar from New York’s Grand Central Station. Every feature of the main bar is beautiful, elegant and grand. This includes the two large chandeliers that dominate the bar area, the red velvet drapes, the bespoke oak wood bar and even the staff uniform. Strategically placed floor to ceiling mirrors create faux space but the dark furniture inject a sense of privacy.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
The GNH Bar almost certainly falls into the ‘convenience’ category of bars – not surprising as it is attached to both a hotel and International train station. This means the clientele is comprised, in part, of travellers or hotel guest. This created a constant flow of different faces and allowed the atmosphere to thrive and evolve. Despite this, there were still an impressive number of destination drinkers – those that were visiting the bar based on its quality as opposed to its location. Couples and groups of friends entered, filled the remainder of the seats and the Hotel restaurant (Plum and Spilt Milk) had a good crowd despite it being a Wednesday evening.
Food and Drink
Having perused the menu, the reasons as to why this was such a popular spot became apparent. The cocktail list was inventive and lengthy, but at the same time they managed to salute classic cocktails with impressive results. Notable cocktails were the Queen Boudicca, Lady’s Violets and The Vodka martini was exceptional - the highly knowledgeable staff created all drinks quickly but still to perfection. The bar snacks must rank amongst some of the best in Town. Delicious runny yolk Scotch Eggs, Cheese Burger Sliders and crab cakes were the real winner, but in truth, there were absolute no faults in the execution, presentation and taste of any of the dishes or drinks.
Kings Cross’ recent renovation has seen a stark increase in the volume of bars in the area. I would be hugely surprised if any of them are comparable to GNH Bar. Such is the quality of food, drink, service and décor; GNH Bar stands as one of the area’s best bars, and not just a place for a quick drink before or after a journey. A quality bar in its own right, and rightly so.