HarryÂ’s Sports Bar

With a heap of flatscreen TVs, decent live music and some quirky decorative touches, the Crowne Plaza’s latest launch, formerly known as Harry’s Bar, is ambitious and thoughtful. Yet, the actual realisation of these good ideas doesn’t quite work. Harry’s Sports Bar is by no means a poor venue — the drinks are fine, and the staff are friendly and prompt — it’s just it lacks a little soul. The roof is a quirky, exposed, beech-coloured wooden beam idea, which reminded us a little bit of a warehouse forklift pallet, and the walls are pale green and rich red. As with other sports bars in the city, cricket bats, tennis rackets and pictures adorn the walls. Yet here, puzzlingly, the cricket bats have been treated to a faux vintage makeover, and it all feels rather incongruous. There’s a large sweeping bar to the rear of the space, where you can perch for a drink or simply take a pew on one of the stools and order from there. The menu is a faintly irritating square plastic table feature, which doubles as a light. Once seated, the waitress turns on said light, allowing you to read the contents of the menu. While this is momentarily amusing, having to rotate what’s essentially a square plastic lamp to establish which drink to order is unsophisticated and ultimately, pointless. Non-smokers will be pleased to hear that nicotine fiends are banished to a small, airport-style smoking room, complete with a few tables and a TV screen to feed their habit. This leaves the rest of the large bar smoke-free, which for lots of people will make a welcome change to some of the city’s fuggier sports bars. This is also beneficial for diners and in recognition of this, Harry’s has revamped its menu, offering dishes such as grilled mango and Cajun tuna salad and Thai fishcakes — clearly looking to cater to a slightly more sophisticated taste bud. Grape fans will be disappointed here however, with the choice of just two house varieties (essentially red or white) but there’s an extensive mixed drinks menu, with discounts offered on certain tipples. We don’t dislike Harry’s and we’re sure that if you popped in to catch a match or sample a bit of jazz, you’d come out satisfied. We just think they need to work on ironing out some of the flaws and injecting a little verve.

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