Whether your poison is rum, whisky or gin, Culture Trip has assembled the very best hotel bars in Mayfair for you to head to the next time you’re at a loose end in one of the capital’s most luxurious districts.
Dukes has mastered the martini better than any bar this side of the Atlantic and is rumoured to have inspired Sir Ian Flemming to create his character James Bond’s favourite drink. 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.
This luxury hotel needs little introduction. Wedged between the glitzy hangouts of Bond Street, Green Park, Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace, Claridge’s is housed in a glorious location. The cocktail bar is as cool as you would expect, with a menu of classics and house creations. Highlights include the collection of unusual champagne cocktails and the bar’s innovative use of fresh fruit in its chic creations.
In search of a decedent location for your next tipple? Then look no further than The Connaught Bar with its Cubist decor and 1920s art. The cocktail menu is internationally renowned and strives to fuse traditional drinks and flavourings with fresh and pioneering new approaches to mixology, featuring exclusive vintages and limited-edition champagnes, spirits and liqueurs. People in the know always order a martini, which is mixed right in front of you. The Connaught Bar operates a no reservation policy, so stop by early to ensure you get the best seat in the house.
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. A particular highlight 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.
The Ritz Hotel, that famous hallmark of London luxury, offers up something truly special with their Rivoli Bar. Take a seat in one of the comfortable, plush chairs and peruse the comprehensive drinks menu. Try the eponymous Rivoli 10, a drink devised to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the bar, constructed from Dalmore 15, Domaine de Canton ginger liquor, sweet vermouth maceration, piquant red cherries and orange bitters. The menu also boasts an array of decadent bar snacks, from an extensive range of caviar to the famous Rivoli club sandwiches. The bar’s decor is decidedly Art Deco, lending a sense of old-school glamour to proceedings. Sit among the glowing Lalique glass panels nestled in the refined camphor wood walls while gazing up at the beautifully gilded ceiling domes.
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 the bar’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.
Intimate and sophisticated, the Donovan Bar is tucked away on a quiet Mayfair side street. The soft lighting, smooth jazz and black-and-white photographs lining the bar all serve to make you feel cosseted in comfortable luxury. The classic cocktail can’t be beaten, and you even get bar snacks for free. Live jazz is played some nights. The tables are small, so arrive early if you don’t want to wait.
Bar 45 offers impeccable service and friendly staff as you might expect from any establishment under the ownership of the Dorchester Collection. The dark panelling, low lighting and small bar provide an intimate atmosphere and a perfect place to escape the buzz of nearby Hyde Park Corner. The handcrafted cocktails are the best feature of the menu, with the Duke of Earl a particular highlight. It’s an Earl Grey tea-infused Tanqueray No 10 gin, topped off with lemon and cane sugar syrup.
This opulent bar is decorated in a beautful Art Deco style. Marble-topped tables and a quiet atmosphere make this an elegant and underrated place for an evening nightcap. It’s open all day and is a great place for a lunch meeting. The cocktail menu doesn’t strike a wrong note, and the helpful staff make it easy to choose a libation that matches your mood.