Champagne Bar at the Royal Opera House
In that 1980s ode to excess that is Pretty Woman, Richard Gere’s character, before taking prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold Vivienne to the Opera, spins her some line about people either loving or hating the Opera the first time they see it. Fair enough, you just better hope your first opera isn’t Tosca, an opera of monumental sadness even within a genre that specialises in tragedy.
But one thing I can safely say about the opera is that if you visit the Paul Hamlyn Hall Champagne Bar at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden you will love it forever. It is simply stunning… and what’s more stunning is that so few people actually know that Joe Public doesn’t have to book a ticket to the Opera to enjoy it.
So, why the song and dance about the bar? Well, it’s in an amazing space. An enormous, towering atrium protected and illuminated by a vaulted glass ceiling high overhead. The bar itself sits at one end of this impressive space beneath a vast, optical illusion inducing mirror. Not only does this seem to double the already generous space, but high above, it gives the impression that the pod like amphitheatre bar is suspended in mid air with no discernible means of entry other than a pair of wings.
This is a champagne bar and in this glorious space, within one of London’s cultural powerhouses, that is only appropriate. Fine fizz of all types is available by the glass or bottle. If you have an appetite for food as well as champagne and culture, surrounding the bar on the mezzanine floor is the excellent Amphitheatre Restaurant and Bar.
If you’ve never been, make sure this is on your to-do list. It’s a magical, memorable place for a drink… with or without the opera thrown in. And while you raise a glass, you should also offer a toast in memory of the late publisher Paul Hamlyn, who gifted the Royal Opera House £10 million to refurbish this breathtakingly beautiful space.
Open for special events or book for afternoon tea
The Champagne bar at the Royal Opera House is at
Royal Opera House