There are lots of places to meet at Victoria Station. The trouble is they are all disgusting. By far the most attractive option has to be the Grosvenor Hotel's ludicrous Harvard Bar. Decked, inevitably, with fake rowing paraphernalia, and carpeted with a queasy

mixture of chess and backgammon, it is still a cool and secluded alternative to the burger bars and croissant shops of the concourse.

The clubby pubby room leaves plenty of space between armchairs inhabited by elderly Awaydays knocking back a quick whisky and soda to fortify themselves for the journey on Network SouthEast. The overall number of briefcases and shopping bags suggests that the hotel's guests drink elsewhere. Obvious assembly point for groups travelling to Gatwick together or for meeting someone whose train is likely to be late. Wine pounds 2.50, gin and tonic pounds 2.20, Malvern water pounds 1.15. Pub hours.

The Harvard Bar, Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria Station SW1 (071-834 9494).

Louise Levene

Monday: Balls Brothers, St Pauls EC4.

(Photograph omitted)