Best Bars in King’s Cross… There’s a lot happening in King’s Cross these days. For starters, we’ve just opened the fifth branch of Pall Mall Barbers at 68 York Way, just a stone’s throw from the Regents Canal. Now that the dust has settled (not literally – it’s brand spanking new), we’ve finally had a chance to explore our new home, starting with the local watering holes. It’s thirsty work, but it’s about the journey, not the destination. We’re still working through our list, but in the meantime, here are a few of our favourites so far.
Pall Mall Barbers’ Guide to the Best Bars in King’s Cross
Booking Office Bar
Euston Rd, NW1 2AR
Tucked away neatly in the plush surroundings of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is one of the best-kept secrets in Central London – the soaring arches and flattering lighting of the Booking Office Bar. The former ticket booking office of the newly-restored station has been sympathetically reimagined as a rather grand cocktail bar, which – despite its location and popularity with locals – somehow manages to conjure up an empty table just when you need it. Their speciality is grown-up punch, served with childish whimsy. Depending on the menu that month, yours might arrive in a vintage medicine bottle, miniature cauldron or crystal-cut goblet that changes colours before your very eyes. It’s the sort of thing that ought to be tedious, but is executed with such flair that even the most jaded drinker will be delighted and certainly puts it top of our list as one of the best bars in King’s Cross. The “Mystic Potions and Elixirs” menu is clearly inspired by tales of a certain boy wizard – a fitting treat, then, if you’ve spent the afternoon queuing at Platform 9 ¾.
3 King’s Boulevard, N1C 4BU
Think of a wine bar, any wine bar and the first image that springs to mind is very likely a bunch of red-faced blokes in suits, quaffing a bottle of red that costs more than your monthly rent. Vinoteca is doing its very best to shed that stuffy image – they don’t shy away from the high-end stuff, but they also proudly serve a couple of boxed wines by the glass. Apparently, it’s not just for student house parties anymore. The Kings Cross branch is the biggest and shiniest to date, which is welcome news if you’ve ever tried to squeeze into a table at the original Clerkenwell outpost. It’s also the only branch to offer breakfast and breakfast wine, which somehow seems perfectly respectable if you’re sitting on a canal-side terrace.
3 Varnishers Yard, N1 9FD
It must have been about 2009 that sherry went from being your nan’s favourite Christmas tipple to an official Thing on the London bar scene. When it opened in 2010, Bar Pepito was the very first dedicated sherry bar in town. The menu helpfully explains each sherry style, but unless you’re already an expert in fortified wines, it’s far more fun to order from the flights menu. £8.50 gets you three different 50ml measures from any style to compare and contrast. The bar itself has fewer than twenty seats, so it’s not ideal for big groups, but just the thing for an intimate catch-up – making it one of the best bars in King’s Cross.
3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
“Canal side dining” and “lazy weekend brunch” aren’t phrases you might have associated with Kings Cross even a decade ago. Thanks to the tech boom and an unstoppable army of property developers, it’s now just the sort of place you can do both without a hint of irony – there’s even an outpost of John Lewis in the station, for goodness sakes. The Lighterman takes its name from the Victorian barge operators (known as “lighters”) who used to cruise up and down the Regent’s Canal. Despite the nod to local history, it’s very much of this century. There are three dining areas housed in the mid-century modern building serving weekend breakfast, Sunday roasts and every meal in between, but head for the ground floor if you’re only interested in the drinks menu. It offers a truly impressive dedication to local produce – you’ll even find a few British wines listed alongside the London-brewed ales.
52 York Way, N1 9AB
“Fairly busy due to having a ukulele cabaret on…” is how one recent Trip Advisor reviewer summed up the Lincoln Lounge. Depending on your perspective and mood, you’ll either find this charming or “charming”. The Lincoln Lounge is for all of us who’ve ever been bewildered by the difference between a flat white and a cortado, and couldn’t care less how our gin was distilled. It’s a Proper Pub with no airs or graces for anyone who just wants a decent pint and a place to rest. Staff are friendly, prices are reasonable and there’s not a Wagyu beef burger or rustic ciabatta in site. These sorts of pubs are sadly few and far between in London these days, so cherish it while you can. Oh, and ukulele cabaret takes place on the second Tuesday of each month. Use that information as you will.
What do you make of our list of the best bars in King’s Cross? Any favourites we’ve missed out? Let us know.
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