By Euan Ferguson
A bust of the Queen Mother grins beside the entrance to the bar in this superlative London hotel. The famously thirsty old royal was apparently a regular here, and you can see why: a gin and Dubonnet next to the fire would feel like drinking in Downton Abbey, such is the Edwardian opulence. Deep red walls with leather inlays, bell jar lampshades, wingback chairs and exquisite spot lighting make for a sumptuous experience, and flawless service from besuited waiters makes the experience even more special.
All this alone would make for a five-star tipple, but there’s more – a terrace looks out over the large manicured garden, a peacefully secluded square that feels a world away from the racing traffic around Victoria.
The bar gets busy in the evenings, due in no small part to the extensive bar food menu, which could never be called good value but provides high-end supper options like glazed lobster omelette and posh club sandwich to affluent Belgravians.
The drinks list isn’t as sophisticated as in some other top London hotels, but the largely older crowd are looking for refinement, not excitement. The Goring bar provides it in abundance.