The Roma Bar…
It stands to reason that some of Plymouth’s best bars are located inside our amazing hotels.
At the New Continental Hotel our sophisticated Roma Bar holds echos of Art Deco styling. It has high ceilings; a mirrored bar fascia; marbled style tiles and gold finishes. It creates a destination of style and escapism … all in the heart of Britain’s Ocean City.
The Roma Bar at the New Continental Hotel provides a relaxed and open environment. It really is the perfect place for an informal drink; a catch-up with friends or a debrief with colleagues after work. What’s more, EVERYONE is welcome!
Unwittingly, at first glance it might seem that our chic little bar has taken inspiration from the hotels rich history.
In 1936 Richard, an influential London business man, reported as friend with Mr Selfridge himself, was part of the Trust House Ltd. The company who owned the hotel at the time. Richard designed and developed many areas within the hotel that you see today, and some that have since passed. One of his passed creations being the American Cocktail Bar, which was located near the Ballroom.
It was the first of its kind outside of London; equipped in the latest style of the times. It was furnished with chrome stools and chrome tables. It had a semi-circular bar and was a place that women were welcome – even when unaccompanied by a man!
The toilet-rooms also sounded like they paid homage to the decadence of 1930s Shanghai! They were decorated in a scheme of primrose and pink glazed tiles with plush gold finishes. There was also a separate cloakroom and ladies powder-room; with a full-time assistant on hand for your every whim!
The cocktails were named after the best-known authors of the time. Guests were offered an unsurpassed range of hand-rolled cigars that came with ‘the full service’! There were staff on hand for the cutting and lighting of your cigar; either at the bar or at your table!
The experience did not end there!
For the VIP’s, they were offered a space in the heated indoor car park! Also the first of its kind outside of London!! The parking was a service reported at being ‘very acceptable’ to many. It offered spacious underground parking for 50 cars which was beneath the Ballroom (also Richards creation) and it meant that access could be granted to the Cocktail Bar and hotel via a private stairway. So, there was no need to go outside of the building in all your evening finery!
The Central Location…
The Cocktail Bar was a hideaway which was popular for many. There are reports of customers sipping on the many whiskeys on offer and botanical cocktails as they ‘escape reality with pure fantasy’.
It would also seem there was a great working relationship between Mrs. Hoyle and the Trust House Ltd. Mrs. Hoyle was in charge of The Palace Theatre at the time and it would seem that collaboration was in the air even back then! They would share patrons and market shows for each other. Partly due to location no doubt, but also after the Ballrooms completion in February 1936, when it became heavily programmed for weekly live music events and dances.
The dream was to have as much live music as possible to lift spirits in Plymouth, with a large dance floor ‘on springs’, concealed lighting, air purifiers and enough space to seat comfortably 350 people in one sitting. Under the Ballroom was the heated indoor car park, now Club Continental.
The Roma Bar Today…
Although many features of the American Cocktail Bar are now only in the words of historical documents and newspaper articles, the Roma Bar has echoes of the relaxing and welcoming old world bar.
It is still a perfect destination to meet friends or colleagues; perhaps meeting before a show or an evening meal at Steve’s Brasserie. Open to all, not only yo residents, the Roma Bar is open daily from 5.30pm and is in the perfect city centre location. Perhaps to take a breather after shopping, work or sightseeing and to step away from the bustle of Plymouth, yet being close enough to step right back into it again.
So, make some time to perhaps enjoy one (or two) of the 13 Gins on offer (including of course Plymouth Gin) and soak up the history that is hidden within the DNA of our beautiful, historic city centre hotel.