You’d be forgiven for thinking, when entering the newly renovated Coral Room bar at the Bloomsbury London, that you had walked into something out of a Wes Anderson film set.
The new all-day dining restaurant and bar — once a simple lobby in the Sir Edward Lutyens-designed Grade II-listed building — is a cavernous, coral-coloured 2,100sq ft double-height space at the front of the hotel.
Designer Martin Brudnizki has kept the original panelled walls, spruced up with the vivid colour which gives the space its moniker, but what really catches the eye is the central bar. A Calacatta marble counter atop a glossy wooden front with antique-style mirroring and brass hardware provides a grand backdrop around which everything else is modelled.
The central counter at The Coral Room
Other striking features are the five bespoke Murano glass chandeliers, specially created for the bar, and 36 original pieces of art by British illustrator Luke Edward Hall of the surrounding area and Lutyens’ work.
The overall effect is an impressive, genuinely beautiful room, that is simultaneously reminiscent of 1920s decadence and Miami art deco. It manages to be design-conscious, luxurious and yet inviting at the same time.
As for the drinks, the hero section has to be the extensive list of English sparkling wines — most available by the glass — which the Bloomsbury champions as one of the largest offerings in London, broken down by county. Single flutes start at £9 courtesy of a Brut Reserve from Devon.
One of the many English Sparkling Wines on offer
I followed a glass of British fizz with one of the bar’s signature cocktails. Staff did well to help us with recommendations, offering suggestions based on our spirits of choice, and assuring us that anything not found on the pink-hued menu can be rustled up behind that magic marble bar.
My choice, a Gin Lane, was a mixture of Hendrick’s gin, Viognier, St Germain, rose syrup and agave, served in an art-deco martini glass; a sweet offering with a hint of elderflower freshness that made it a surprising hit for my normally saccharine-adverse taste buds.
A food menu of small plates and light bites works as a tapas-style evening meal, or a precursor to a larger dinner at one of the hotel’s other eateries. We tucked into a trio of lobster and crayfish mac’n’cheese; Manchego cheese and chestnut honey; and truffle and parmesan fries, all delicious if a little rich. For those with a sweet tooth, there is a good dessert selection featuring classic Bakewell tarts and eclairs.
For those with a healthy conscience The Coral Room caters for all
Breakfast options such as garden pea and feta smash on sourdough toast and rainbow acai bowls make the Coral Room just as suitable for morning meetings, and the bar also caters to teetotal clientele thanks to a small menu of Seedlip’s non-alcoholic spirits.
The all-encompassing effect of the redesign renders the Coral Room far more than ‘another hotel bar’, welcome in an area of London where you would expect an abundance of slick cocktail bars, but where options are actually lacking.
The Coral Room at the Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3NN; thecoralroom.co.uk