Pulling off a good hotel bar is no mean feat.
Many such attempts result in an experience devoid of atmosphere and do too little to attract passing trade from non-hotel staying guests, but a revamp of this Harrogate hostelry in recent years appears to have avoided such pitfalls.
The West Park, which is part of the award-winning Provenance Inns group, faces out over The Stray and is lined with tables along its frontage for drinks in the sun after a day’s shopping or a shift in the office. It’s location also sets it up nicely as a starting point to launch a night out further into the town centre.
Its pavement seating and modern frontage make this a hotel bar that you won’t just walk by without a second glance and inside, a large open space greets those wandering in off the street. Here, the look is one of up-market sophistication: comfy leather bar stools and seating in shades of turquoise. Deep brown, lacquered floorboards and a chocolate milkshake coloured bar area complete the slick look.
At the bar there is a choice of around eight beers and the drinks menu lists around half a dozen red and white wines and a couple of rosé options. A wide range of spirits are available to buy by the bottle and come with an unlimited supply of mixers.
To the left of the bar there is a large glass fronted display case in which purchased but as yet unfinished bottles are held for customers to dip into again on a return visit, whether this is a service that is available for non-hotel guests, isn’t readily advertised.
Cocktails are also served, including all the old classics, as well as sparkling wine and champagne - and watch out for the huge magnum of champagne sitting next to the door on your way in.
For a distinct Harrogate experience, there is a sharing drink called Tea Party On The Stray which comprises of Bloom gin, vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur and apple schnapps infused with botanicals and fruit and cooled over dry ice to give a tea pot steam effect.
For summer days, there is additional outside seating at tables to the rear of the bar.
As this is a venue that plays up to Harrogate’s high society aspirations, the service is speedy and professional and the clientele tends to be aged 30-plus. Expect prices to match but know you’ll spend the time supping and socialising in comfort and a touch of luxury.
A round consisting of a pint of Moretti, an Aperol spritz, a mojito and a Yorkshire Country Garden cocktail came to a cool £25.20.
One perk is the promise of a free taxi home, dependent upon hitting a spending limit on food. Any ordinary hotel bar this is not.