Cool Place: The Art Deco Bar of The Queen Mary

They say the Queen Mary’s haunted, which means it has long hallways with a slight shabbiness that suggests a quickly-hidden death. It makes sense, that a decommissioned cruise ship that now serves as a hotel would have a ghost or two. But a skeptic can easily wander the Queen Mary without being overtaken by spooky whims…until they head to the Art Deco Bar on the ship’s upper floors. Then, there’s no question: this place is alive, and it’s tickled pink to know you’re here.

What is it about the Art Deco Bar of The Queen Mary that is so jarring? Perhaps it’s that charming shabbiness in a place so obviously designed to house a fancy party. Perhaps it’s that old roaring ’20s veneer that is admittedly reminiscent of The Shining (though for the record, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, only wishes it had a bar like this). But more likely than not, it’s the mural over the bar.


The best way to describe the mural over the Art Deco Bar is that it portrays a ritual to a god you can’t afford to worship. A ring of masked revelers from varying eras dance around the statue of a fearsome knight atop a horse. One woman smiles out at you as she falls. Another refuses to hold the hand of a dandy at her left. All of them seem excited, thrown into a leering frenzy by too much champagne and music only they can hear.

But hey, what’s a mural? Have a seat. Have a whiskey; fuck it, have two. Concentrate on the mural. Make eye contact. Drink until the carpet patterns swim, and the ornery bartender urges you to head back to your cabin. And then, when your mind is susceptible to hypnosis and you’re no longer able to keep track of time, walk the halls. You won’t walk alone.


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