THE A DECK FORWARD BAR & COFFEE LOUNGE
matt@hhvferry.com
The main bar on board was located forward on A Deck. Reviewing the Hengist in July 1972, the Motor Ship was lavish in its praise of this space: "By far the most luxurious room is the [forward] Bar, decorated in an overall colour scheme of green and gold. Sumptuously carpeted throughout in shades of light and mid green, carpeting is even extended up the table supports, the bar has green-grey wrap-around chairs and semi-circular sofa-type seats clustered back-to-back in groups of four semi-circles. Rising from the centre of each group is a gold-coloured pillar with a large spherical light fitting positioned halfway down it. Small imitation marble-topped tables are included and three of the bulkheads are curtained in olive green, illuminated by hidden lighting behind the ceiling. A large attractive bar is fitted at the forward end".

On
Senlac, the colour scheme was radically different, being a dark red rather than the green of Hengist. That apart however, the spaces were identical in arrangement and fitting, and proved to be one of the longest-standing and most succesful of the Ward & Austin designs of the period. As with her sisters, the Senlac's main bar had an adjacent small coffee lounge - the purpose of this was originally to provide passengers enjoying the service of the waiter service restaurant just aft with a space to retire to for coffee, having completed their meals. Whereas this space was merged with the bar on Hengist and Horsa in 1986 whilst still in Sealink service, on Senlac a similar conversion did not take place until some years after the ship went to Greece.

In Greek service, the area was refurbished by Ventouris, with the seating becomeing dark blue; that apart however, there was only modest change until the major Hellas Ferries refit at the end of the century. After this, the original semi-circular booths have largely disappeared, being replaced by conventional free-standing seating around small circular tables. Around the edges, however, the original sofa seating has been retained and the bar servery, despite initial appearances, is mostly intact.
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Below: The same space on board Horsa, which featured a similar colour scheme to Senlac, looking forward from a position to starboard.
Top: Senlac's forward A Deck bar was one of the best examples of Ward & Austin's work for Sealink.
This picture is looking forward from the port side and shows the central semi-circular booth seating, the column-mounted lights, and the bar servery. In this view, the windows on the far side are hidden by the matching red curtains, that area being illuminated by concealed lighting.
(Picture courtesy Bruce Peter)
Below: On board Express Apollon in July 2003. Looking aft from adjacent to the bar counter, the change is evident with the central area now cleared of the fixed semi-circular booths.
However, the sofa seating seen to right and aft is original, albeit reupholstered.
That in the background actually was originally part of the adjacent coffee lounge and the small bulkhead division seen on the right hand side (behind the curving sofa seat) originally extended across this space forming two entirely separate rooms.
Below: Looking across to starboard and aft. The window arrangement gives away the space's previously split identity - the forward grouping (to left) were those of the original bar whilst the two aft (right) belonged to the small coffee bar.
Below: At first glance, the bar counter, now heavily featuring Everest branding, does not appear to be particularly original...
Below: ...however, a comparison with a view of it as built demonstrates that it is structurally unchanged...
Below: ...whilst this close-up shows that the neat oval detailing of the shelves in the background is totally original. Meanwhile, the glass holders seen in the above picture strung along the top of the counter at deckhead level have merely been concealed by the Everest signage.
Below: The bar as it was aboard Apollo Express in her early years with Ventouris showing that, apart from the new blue colour scheme, the lounge was largely intact. (Picture courtesy Richard Seville)
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e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com