Six of the best European railway bars

LONDON ST PANCRAS BY SEARCYS

Before zipping from London to Paris via Eurostar, toast the coming 140-minute journey at Europe's longest champagne bar. St Pancras by Searcys sprawls over more than 95 metres of the station's upper concourse. Although you can sit at the bar, it's far more romantic to sink into one of the deep red booths and buzz the Press for Champagne button that summons a waiter. If you're saving the funds for a Parisian splurge, ask for a glass of English sparkling (£9.25) but if it's more like a hang-the-expense mood, the sky's the limit with the menu reaching all the way to a bottle of Krug (£1500). See stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk

GLASGOW GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL

Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel, the first place in Britain to receive a long-distance television picture in 1927, is snuggled into the city's Victorian-era central station. You could sit at a high table encircling one of the marble pillars within the hotel's Champagne Central bar but it's far more interesting to nab a window seat to spy on the comings and goings on the concourse below. The drinks list includes the usual bubbly suspects – Ruinart, Bollinger, Dom, Louis – but also surprises (given the bar's name) with three pages of Scottish, English and European gins. Each can be garnished with recommended herbs and fruits but you're also welcome to accessorise the spirit in your own way. See champagnecentral.co.uk

MADRID SAMARKANDA

At Madrid's Puerta de Atocha railway station, you can hop on a high-speed train to Barcelona and other parts of Spain. Before boarding, allow time to soak up the radical rethink of the Atocha train complex over a cocktail or two. In 1992, tracks were redirected to an adjacent modern terminal, leaving the 19th-century train shed free to feature something totally loco: an enormous tropical garden. Take in the greenery, highlighted with sunbeams glancing through the glass roof, over gin paired with yuzu-flavoured tonic, a margarita, martini or glass of sangria at Samarkanda Restaurante and Gastrobar. See restaurantesamarkanda.com

JUNGFRAUJOCH PROSECCO BAR

They say not to drink at altitude but if you want to toast reaching the "top of Europe" – namely, a glacier saddle in Switzerland's Bernese Alps – you can do so at the observatory near Europe's highest train station. Jungfraujoch​ station is a rather breathtaking 3454 metres above sea level (some people experience altitude sickness at this elevation). A cogwheel train hauls itself from Interlaken on the valley floor, up through several climate zones, to reach the spectacular viewpoint. Take the lift up to the Sphinx observatory – home to three restaurants and the summertime-only Prosecco Bar on the Sphinx Terrace. See gletscherrestaurant.ch

ANTWERP LE ROYAL CAFE

Belgium's Antwerp Central is considered one of the world's most stunning train stations. The Victorian-era building, with its stone-clad terminus, art nouveau flourishes, marble waiting hall and signature iron and glass trainshed, defies easy architectural pigeon-holing. Near the main hall's train platforms is Le Royal Cafe – all sky-high ceilings, gilt flourishes, mirrors, marble, and maple panelling, with ultra-modern cocooned oval seating smack-bang in the centre. Sip on a kir royale or work your way through a few of the local Corsendonk brews. Despite the fancy surrounds, service is warm and friendly. See brasserieroyal.be

PARIS BIG BEN BAR

Paris's Gare de Lyon station, from where trains journey to the south of France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, is home to one of the world's most beautiful restaurants: climb the sweeping Hall 1 staircase to find the wildly over-the-top, gilded belle epoque confection known as Le Train Bleu. If its prices make your eyes pop, turn left for the restaurant's lounge – known as the Big Ben Bar. The long train-like corridor with adjoining rooms is kitted out with low-slung armchairs, sofas and tables where you can relax pre- or post-train ride well away from the hoi polloi. Toast your good fortune at finding this lair with juice, coffee, champagne or wine. See le-train-bleu.com

Katrina Lobley was a guest of Grand Central Hotel.

Comments