“The Denmark Tavern and Hotel”, is a riverside heritage café and lodge, inaugurated in 1786 in Serampore, West Bengal. It is one of the oldest hotel which reopened again after 232 years. It is a predominant landmark of Serampore. Serampore is the place where Danish administration had its flagstaff. In 1786 it was well known as lodge with restaurant, coffee room and billiard.
Due to Corona Virus, we are not preferring to go out the state. So, after 7 months of the pandemic situation, on 2nd October, we decided to explore our own city and visit that place which we had never visited before. As we have affinity towards history and architecture, so Denmark Tavern came in my mind. I have heard so many things about the place during its restoration.
After the completion of the projects, photographs of the restored structure were flooded in the social media. From then, I had strong craving to visit the place. So, on 2nd October morning, we first visited Dakhineswar temple and then headed our journey to the TAVERN. I was very much overjoyed because I was going to visit the hotel which is 234 years old.
The geographical location of Serampore itself is very striking. It is situated on the bank of river Ganga and is just 31 km from Kolkata. Due to its vicinity to Kolkata and its accessibility by boat on the Hoogly river, Serampore was very lucrative for Dutch traders. From 1755 Serampore was administrated by Denmark. Danish East India Company established there headquarters here. The flourishing trade attracted merchants and they built palatial houses here. Serampore gained its popularity as the most beautiful town. In 1854 Denmark sold its Indian possessions to Britain. Serampore is very much influenced by Dutch that reflects in its architecture. It has many notable places like Government house and gateways, St. Olva’s Church, the Catholic Church, the Serampore college, the Danish cemetery, the Baptist mission Church and burial ground and the Bengal grand houses.
‘The Denmark Tavern and Hotel’
‘The Denmark Tavern and Hotel’ was opened by a British innkeeper , James Parr in 1786. The way side inn was a treat for voyagers. It was a main attraction for Europeans and travelers. They enjoyed the peaceful riverside atmosphere where they came for a stroll. The advertisement that was published in Calcutta Gazette on 16th march 1786, in favor of Denmark Tavern was “Gentlemen passing up and down the river may be accommodated with breakfast, dinner, supper and lodging, also liquors sold by the single dozen and a good Billiard Table and Coffee-room with the Newspapers”.
Address: Serampore Police Line N.N Roy Street , LP 39, 2/1, Serampore, West Bengal 712201
The simplicity and affable hospitality that was offered then in Denmark Tavern was oozing from this advertisement. Same hospitality is offered now also.
After the restoration (2015-2018), of the dilapidated structure by renowned conservation architect, Mr Manish Chakraborti, it reopened again on 28th February 2018. The restoration work was meticulous. The initiative of the restoration was taken by National Museum of Denmark in partnership with the Danish association Realdania and co-operation from Government of West Bengal.
The two storied restored building, standing still facing the Ganges, is the anchor of Srirampur which bogged every passerby and compel them to spend some time on the Tavern with scrumptious meal.
The exterior façade gives a glimpse idea of the Danish legacy and has double column in the Tuscan order along with a portico to enjoy the beauty of the river Ganga.
The big door embraces the visitors with their big leaf. The captivating chandelier hanging from the ceiling with her dazzling smile welcomes the guest in the reception area. A cozy sitting for the guest is there. The two things in the reception that grabbed my attention was the stunning lamp shade at the corner beside the chair and the high rise reception chair.
The dinning area is elegantly designed. There is an array of chandelier hanging from the double headed ceiling.
There are many dishes available in the restaurant. Amongst them, the famous dish of Denmark Tavern is the chicken roast. But unfortunately it was not available on that day. So, we tried chicken sausage, fish fry, fried chili chicken, fried rice and noodles. All are mouthwatering.
There is a ‘Flurys’ outlet adjacent to the dining area. If you want, you can taste flurys cake also.
Light colour in the wall is very soothing.
To make the building more useful as modern café, some new elements have been added like steel staircase and the balcony in the central room. The property is now owned by the West Bengal government and is managed by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd by leasing the property to a private operator.
Lodging facilities are still available here. Booking of the rooms can be done through “Make My Trip.”
The basic principal of the interior design is simplicity along with sophistication. The stylish design is also being portrayed in the furniture . The soft music, mouth-watering dishes, décor will take you in a different era. The whole ambience is very alluring.
We were basking in the afterglow after having delicious lunch over there. The Tavern is very captivating. The sophisticated décor are highly articulating the legacy of Denmark. It is a wonderful place to nestle and relax. The modern café, Denmark Tavern will beget me to visit Serampore again.
How to reach
It can be reached by river. From Dhobi ghat, Barrackpore, ferry services are available. Serampore can also be reached by train. From Howrah, local trains to Serampore run daily. From Serampore station, avail toto/ rikshaws to reach the Denmark Tavern.