American Bar at the Savoy Hotel
We’ll start with arguably the most famous of the American bars in London. And one of the earliest to sell ‘American-style’ cocktails to the British public. As you enter the front reception lounge, turn left and head upstairs to the bar. It’s been frequented by all the great and famous over the years; from Churchill to Marilyn Monroe to Hemmingway. The photographs around the walls let you know you’re in good company. Naturally, dress smart.
The history bit. The name Savoy is derived from Count Peter of Savoie, the uncle of Eleanor of Provence who married King Henry III in the 1236. Count Peter (represented by the gold statue in the photograph above) accompanied Eleanor to her wedding in Canterbury Cathedral. And King Henry gave Count Peter land by the River Thames – upon which he built Savoy Palace, the site of today’s hotel. The hotel opened in 1889 as the first luxury hotel in Britain, funded by Richard D’Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions. The hotel is still pretty palatial.
The American Bar at The Stafford
To the other side of town now, to ‘search out’ the Stafford Hotel on St James’s Place. Given its proximity to the aristocratic houses on The Mall, Queens Walk and St James’s Palace it has plenty of associated connections; evidenced by some of the many artefacts, ‘knick-knacks’ and signed photographs adorning every wall and surface of the bar.
The history bit; it was during the 1930s that many West End hotels in London renamed their bars ‘The American Bar’ in order to attract North American visitors – allowing them a taste of home – Manhattans, Sidecars and Martinis.
The American Bar at The Beaumont
A short walk now, heading north to Balderton Street, Mayfair. Here you’ll find The American Bar The Beaumont Hotel developed by the Grosvenor Estate.
Less heritage than the previous two bars, but a captivating 5-star experience evoking the pre-war elegance of Mayfair. The hotel has won many awards since opening in 2014 – and the meticulous refurbishment of the 1926 Art Deco frontage and Bristol motor car parked outside gets you nicely into the period.
The Grosvenor Estate is now owned by Hugh Grosvenor (the 27 year old billionaire who owns most of the real estate in Mayfair and Belgravia).