The entrance to Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel belays the extravagant wonder hidden within. A simple double door leading from the corner of Gordon Street opens into a simple but elegant hallway. Two floor to ceiling mirrors flank the main entrance, causing the brain for a moment to lose all sense of place and direction; an Alice in Wonderland threshold between the normality of day-to-day and the effortless glamour of what awaits you.
Once inside, you find yourself immersed in the glamour of 19th Century Glasgow. Dark herringbone floors lacquered the colour of rich, smooth chocolate lie underfoot. Stoic wooden panelling on the walls envelops you in cosy grandeur. The wide staircase wraps itself around a sparkling drop chandelier. Everything about this gorgeous hotel screams luxury and sophistication.
Upstairs, the elegance and luxury continues. The entrance to Champagne Central itself follows a sumptuous corridor of black and white marble floor. The bar itself looks out over Central Station, hearkening back to the height of rail travel in Scotland and the Grand Central’s beginnings as one of the country’s great railway hotels.
Ornate marble pillars and glittering chandeliers add the decadence of the venue. Staff are friendly and attentive, offering first class table service to all.
The range of guest here is notable, and all are welcome. Friends meet over a bottle of wine to enjoy an afternoon of conviviality. Others stop in for a pint (both Innis and Gunn and St Mungo’s lagers are available on tap) before dashing off to catch their next train home. Other’s sit down to business meeting over a glass of expertly poured gin.
Indeed, the choice and range of alcohol on offer here, not just the champagne, is superb. True, even the base glass of champagne offered a delectable palate of fruity flavours and smooth drinking, but there is so much more to Champagne Central than just the bubbles.
There is an extensive range of cocktails on offer, including old classics such as an Old Fashioned and new favourites designed for Valentine’s Day and Glasgow’s Month of Love.
The Gin menu is separated into local Scottish fare, English and International choices. There are plenty of whiskys to choose from, often with more than one choice from each distillery.
Food is also on offer. A range of small plates all featuring the best of Scottish produce compliment the signature afternoon tea. I myself chose not to indulge on this particular visit, but a glance at the bar’s Instagram feed is sure to entice even the pickiest of eaters. The vegetarian charcuterie board will most definitely be on my radar upon my next visit.
An elegant bar full of class and Victorian Glamour, Champagne Central in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel definitely has my seal of approval, so much so that it may have found itself on my list of favourite places to enjoy an afternoon of drinking and friends in Glasgow.