Best for: A craft brew before heading to Crewe.
Why it’s better than waiting on the platform: Ever been to one of those fake railway pubs they have in places like Newark? Here’s the opposite to that. A place that looks like a gothic Victorian mausoleum, stocked with hundreds of delicious craft beers.
Best place to sit: The tall tables by the railings are within earshot of Euston’s numerous cancellation/platform alteration announcements. This is also a cracking spot for watching British Transport Police haul ne’er-do-wells into their vans.
Best for: A Sunday roast before heading up the East Coast.
Why it’s better than waiting on the platform: Long before Network Rail and the makers of Harry Potter began milking their cash cow, asking “is this where the magic happens?” in King’s Cross would have given you a very different kind of “brief encounter”. The Parcel Yard is packed with posh little dining rooms to enjoy some good pub grub in. Also: good toilets.
Best place to sit: Assuming you didn’t plump for the rentable games room, there’s a bank of solitary stools to the left of the bar with a view of the platforms, display screens and the newspaper of the bloke sitting next to you.
Best for: A snug boozy heaven en route to Devon.
Why it’s better than waiting on the platform: Technically you’re already on the platform – platform 10 to be precise. This Tardis-like tavern used to be a magnificently fake “ye olde” pub called The Isambard, so we were a tad disappointed to discover that – like the rest of London – it had been given a “triple-cooked chips” makeover. Still, it’s a great way of legitimately drinking on the platform without inadvertently appearing on an episode of Brit Cops.
Best place to sit: Take your pick, mate! You can order another round – safe in the knowledge you’re only 13 steps away from that delayed Bristol Temple Meads train. (We counted.)
Best for: Brighton-bound beer that isn’t too dear.
Why it’s better than waiting on the platform: Say “bon voyage” to all airs and graces at one of the lesser-frilled branches of the lovable, cheap chain. It’s not even dressed up with a theme or fancy name. It’s just called Wetherspoons Unit 5. The beauty of this place is its elevated position, with a formidable 360 degree vista of every platform. You’ll think you’re manning your own giant Hornby train set.
Best place to sit: A generous suite of fruit machines is handily perched next to the bar – so you can drop 20 quid and order that second pint of London’s cheapest Brooklyn from the same spot. Otherwise, the Wi-Fi’s free.
Best for: A pint and some crisps before your train to Pa-ris.
Why it’s better than waiting on the platform: If you are in any way interested in architecture, this place will give you a full erection. Enjoy a pint under the glorious arches of St Pancras then, after notching up an admirable 16 likes for your #nofilter Instagram snap of the roof, you can gawp at all the disgustingly cultured people disembarking the Eurostar.
Best place to sit: Don’t muck about queuing indoors – use the handy bar on wheels that’s been plonked right on the platform out back. That ill-advised second pint can be ordered and necked with plenty of time to wedge your foot in the train doors.
Drinking and writing by Si Cunningham. (Additional reporting: William Jack).
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