25 March 2017 | 5 °C

The Betjeman Arms

The Betjeman Arms

This has been selected by the Londonist editorial team as an impressive example of a station pub done well.

Station pubs have the reputation for been fairly dull, transitory places whose sole purpose is to kill time waiting for a train. Step forward the Betjeman Arms in St Pancras International station, a tasteful, pleasant pub you're just as likely to visit intentionally as to wait for a Eurostar.

One of Geronimo Inns' 'bloody good pubs', the Betjeman is of course named for the late Poet Laureate who helped save St Pancras station from demolition in the 1960s. Looking from the pub over the remarkable Eurostar terminus, it's incredible to think how close this glorious building came to being flattened. The least Sir John should expect is a pub in his honour. Now he's got one, as well as a much-loved statue out on the concourse.

The interior of the pub is a brightly lit warren of small areas separated by paneling, with decorations include toy trains — too high up to have a cheeky play with, unfortunately — and French-themed art.

There's a fine selection of beers and ciders on tap, including five from the ever-excellent Meantime brewery, and a healthy wine list. Food is of a high standard though there's no guarantee it won't be served on one of those cursed wooden boards currently in vogue.

The terrace area overlooking the platforms is heated and has its own bar, though it's not always staffed. There's also a front terrace, overlooking the forecourt of St Pancras, meaning the pub's capacity is much bigger than it would seem when sitting in one of the enclosed areas inside. The pub got a makeover in autumn 2014, realigning the bar and sprucing up the dining areas.

We recall with fondness the time we were sat in the back room, chatting away with some scientists over in London for a conference, when two loud-mouthed Chelsea fans walked, in full colours and full of chanting. One of them then sat down at the piano and offered up a note-perfect Chopin recital. Betjeman would have loved the poetry of it all.

Be careful in here — it's very easy to get lost in your surroundings and forget you're actually waiting for a train under the Channel.

An 'old Joanna'. Good old knees-up not pictured.
An 'old Joanna'. Good old knees-up not pictured.
Not a view you get from many pubs.
Not a view you get from many pubs.
The 'outdoor' area.
The 'outdoor' area.

Monday: 9am-11pm

Tuesday: 9am-11pm

Wednesday: 9am-11pm

Thursday: 9am-11pm

Friday: 9am-11pm

Saturday: 9am-11pm

Sunday: 9am-11pm

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