To celebrate the opening of historic buildings all over the UK as part of Doors Open Days throughout September, we’ve united two of our favourite diversions – beer and buildings. Read on and raise a glass to Britain’s most beautiful pubs and bars…
The Crown Bar, Belfast
A veritable palace among pubs, the Crown Bar is one of the original Victorian ‘Gin Palaces’, pubs decorated in lavish style where ordinary folk could experience some real luxury. So special, in fact, is the Crown Bar that, in 1978, it was purchased by the National Trust so it could be preserved for future generations. Look out for the jewel-like etched and stained glass, elaborate mosaic floors and the antique bell system once used for alerting staff.
Bar 10, Glasgow
Fitted out by Ben Kelly, designer of Manchester’s legendary Hacienda nightclub, in 1991, the original Glasgow style bar continues to be one of the coolest in the city. After the Hacienda closed in 1997, Bar Ten is one of the only places you can still get a taste of Kelly’s timeless designs for nightlife spaces. The slick interior with black marble, tubular steel and industrial details is as cool and satisfying as the drinks.
Champagne Bar, St Pancras Station, London
Sip on a glass of bubbly under the vast sweeping roof of St Pancras Station, London’s beautifully restored neo-gothic masterpiece. The Champagne Bar is the longest in Europe and has over 20 styles of Champagne to enjoy. See the trains pull in and out with drink in hand and admire one of the great marvels of the Victorian age.
The Philharmonic, Liverpool
When asked whether there were any negative aspects to his enormous fame, John Lennon replied that he ‘missed having a drink in the Phil’. And well he might. The Philharmonic is one of Britain’s most ornate and spectacular pubs. Built in 1903, it boasts curling art nouveau gates, intricate mosaics, Corinthian columns and urinals in pink marble.
The Blackfriar, London
This vaulted art nouveau pub takes its name from the black-robed monks who lived in this area of London during the Middle Ages. Remodelled in 1905 to reflect this august heritage, the Blackfriar is crammed with images of jolly friars making merry in mosaics, sculptures and reliefs.
To find out more about architectural open days check out Doors Open Days for Scotland, Open House London in London and Open Doors in Wales.
The Crown © NTPL/John Hammond, St Pancras © tompagenet, Philharmonic © tompatto, Blackfriar © Ewan-M