The American Bar at the Stafford London: West end legend celebrates special US/UK relationship
Every year, without fail, a huge influx of foreign visitors pour into London, many of them with long stays stretching out ahead of them and extended periods away from home.
For the travelling American, legendary London haunt The American Bar is the perfect haven, offering up a slice of home with an authentic ambience and a pleasantly familiar drinks menu to sweeten the deal.
Nestled in the heart of St James’s, the bar is part of the renowned Stafford London hotel, and brimming with history and character, it makes for a unique and comforting hideaway. One of only two bars in the capital to retain a name that became famous during the 1930s as a means of attracting North American visitors, The American bar continues to do so long after World War Two has ended.
Adorned with memorabilia and gifts left behind by visitors through the decades, the walls alone offer enough to keep guests captivated for hours. Whatever the day of the week, a lone bar stool remains reserved, paying homage to former guest and highly decorated war hero, Nancy Wake. Nancy, who was working in the French Resistance, would often while away an evening enjoying a refreshing gin and tonic at the bar, and today she even has a special cocktail named in her honour. The White Mouse – a name given to her by the Nazis after they repeatedly failed to capture her – is made with Saffron gin shaken with lemon juice, honey and champagne and garnished with star anise, to make a fragrant and indulgent cocktail that has long been the most popular drink on the menu.
The American Bar delivers a strong selection of both Martinis, Scotch Whisky and American-style Whiskeys along with a monthly signature cocktail. Other standout US-themed cocktails include the ‘Pride of Baltimore’ made with Bacardi white rum with a touch of Dubonnet, together with orange Curacao, orange bitter and grapefruit juice.
Today, you’ll find head mixologist Erik Rychnavsky serving up unique offerings related to special Stafford tales from across the years, and bar manager Benoit Provost, who joined the hotel back in 1993, is only too happy to tell the stories behind each and every cocktail. The bar opens out onto a wonderful mews outdoor terrace, making it the perfect setting to enjoy dining al fresco on the venue’s delectable selection of lunch and dinner dishes.
Whether you’re a visiting North American or not, The American Bar is worth a slice of your time, offering a nostalgic trip back to a bygone era and providing you with that little bit of escapism we all sometimes need.