As the primary location of London’s prestigious clubs and luxury hotels, Mayfair, London is steeped in intoxicating history and an essential destination for any discerning drinker. These are the poshest bars located here.
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Set within the basement of The Dorchester on Park Lane, the China Tang Bar is decorated floor to ceiling with art deco furnishing evoking exquisite 1930s Shanghai. The cocktail menu stays on theme by offering Asian-inspired recipes as well as the ‘classics and forgotten’, expertly mixed by the brilliant bar staff. Particularly outstanding is the Ramos Fizz, a velvety smooth concoction that makes for the perfect nightcap. With its separate street entrance, China Tang hardly feels like a hotel bar.
Bar 45 offers impeccable service, friendly staff and chatty barmen as you might expect from any establishment under the ownership of the Dorchester Collection. The dark paneling, low light levels, and the small size of the bar provide an intimate atmosphere and a perfect place to escape the buzz of Hyde Park Corner on its doorstep. The handcrafted cocktails are the best feature of the menu. A recommended drink is the Duke of Earl. It’s an earl grey tea-infused Tanqueray No. 10 gin, topped off with lemon and cane sugar syrup.
Set within the historic Connaught, the Coburg Bar offers a relaxed, cosy, pub-like atmosphere and a nice alternative to the busier and louder Connaught Bar across the hall. While the atmosphere may be relaxed in the Coburg, the in-house mixologists take their cocktail making very seriously. The menu pays homage to the genius of Harry Craddock. He’s the author of the Savoy Cocktail Book and creator of many masterpieces, including the Yellow Submarine, which still graces the menu today. Also available are a selection of reinterpretations of the legendary cocktails first made famous by the Connaught and to which it perhaps owes its continued success.
Dukes Bar has mastered the martini better than any barroom this side of the Atlantic. The lounge excels in its personal service, making what is consistently hailed as one of the best martinis in the world right in front of your table on a specialised trolley. If the famed mixture proves too potent, you can always opt for any number of equally delicious classic cocktails from the menu including the flawless French 75.
The Egerton House Hotel
Down the road from Harrods, the bar at the Egerton House Hotel is the perfect antidote to a long day of shopping. The barman, Antonio, is as much an institution as the hotel itself. He remains in a class of his own when it comes to the art of mixing a perfect drink. His martinis certainly give other bars a run for their money.
Claridge’s is a name synonymous with luxury and service. It is impossible to go wrong here. Choose to sample their outstanding wine selection in the Foyer or indulge in the connoisseur’s collection at the Claridge’s Bar. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the elegant Fumoir Bar. The latter offers an unbeatable drinks list, served from Lalique glasses within the most sumptuous atmosphere that simply defies superlatives.
Perhaps the most iconic cocktail bar in London, the American Bar was the birthplace of many of today’s classic cocktails. Any self-respecting imbiber must pay at least one visit to this historic institution. But a taste of Eric Lorincz’s award-winning cocktails will have you coming back for more. Get here early as the crowds build quickly and you’ll find yourself waiting for a seat after 6.30pm most days of the week.
St James Bar
Inspired by Coco Chanel’s 1920s Parisian apartment, the St James Bar offers an unbeatably plush and comfortable setting in which to imbibe a range of seasonal, vintage, and limited edition cocktails. The Sidecar is a classic they do very well. St James Bar does not have the same historic lineage as other London hotel bars. Nevertheless it achieves a traditional timelessness that suits its surroundings in Waterloo Place.
The Luggage Room
The Luggage Room, does not demonstrate the same impressive longevity as some other bars in the area. However, its dedication to timeless cocktails merits its place here. It may seem slightly silly to affect a 1920s speakeasy in a city which never bore the brunt of Prohibition. However, once beyond the unmarked black door it is hard not to revel in the ode to the golden age of cocktails that bar manager, Joshua Cowan has created.
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