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The Drinking Man's Guide To London - Suggestions For Classic Hotel Bars Please

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Gus, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    My wife and I are headed to London in mid- December. Staying in Mayfair for a week I want to make my way around to five or so classic hotel bars. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area we have our fill (over dose?) of hip mixologists and trendy cocktails. I am yearning for a nightly, traditional, simple cocktail served in an elegant setting with flawless execution.

    I'm looking for suggestions for 5 London hotel bars with perfect martinis and service.

    Near the top of my list would be the Connaught Bar (the smaller one in the back as I recall?). Where else would you suggest? Are any of these especially good during the pre-Christmas season?



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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014

  2. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    This looks like my kind of place. The Rivoli Bar at the Ritz, London.


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  3. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    Vox just tweeted me this suggestion, the American Bar at the Stafford.

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  4. romafan

    romafan Distinguished Member

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    I know it's not a hotel (and a little touristy) but if you're truly a drinking man I'd recommend the Grenadier in Belgravia

    Grenadier
    18 Wilton Row, Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 7NR


    "A landmark in its own right, The Grenadier is royalty amongst London pubs. This historic treasure chest is not your usual insipid public house. The Grenadier reputation is as illustrious as it is mysterious.

    In 1665, the First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards was formed. As a result of the heroism they showed whilst fighting off the French Grenadiers at Waterloo in 1815, they were renamed by Royal Proclamation as the ‘First Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards’, thus becoming the only regiment in the British Army to be named for one of its battle honours.

    The building was built in 1720 as the home to the Foot Guards Regiment. It was famously known as the Duke of Wellington’s Officers Mess and was even frequented by King George IV. In 1818, it became a licensed premise to serve as The Guardsman Public House. It is so called after a young Grenadier, affectionately named Ceric by locals, whom is said to have been caught cheating at a game of cards. The story goes that his comrades savagely beat him to death as a punishment. An exact date as to when this happened is unknown, but it is presumed that that fateful night was in the month of September, as this is the time of year that The Grenadier receives an onslaught of supernatural and spooky activity! Past visitors of the pub have attempted to pay off Cedric’s debt by attaching money to the ceiling, which, after over a century, has been totally covered with transatlantic money.A solemn, silent spectre has been witnessed creeping slowly across the pub. Objects seem to either disappear or move without explanation. Tables and chairs rattle inexplicably, as well as an icy chill that befalls the pub that can last for days. Footsteps have been heard wandering around empty rooms, and every so often, low sighing moans are heard from the depths of the cellar. Famously, on one occasion, it was reported that whilst the Chief Superintendent from New Scotland Yard was enjoying a drink in the pub, smoke began to waft around him. As he reached towards the smoke, it is said that an invisible cigarette burnt his hand. These peculiar happenings are attributed to the murdered Grenadier returning to the pub. Thanks to 'Cedric', The Grenadier is often regarded as one of the country’s most haunted pubs."

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  5. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    I love the Grenadier. I have fond memories of visiting it on a cold, Decembers night a couple days before Christmas on my very first trip to London thirty years ago. They actually had coal burning in the fireplace which was ideal for taking off the chill. Its really a pub but fun and a quaint location.

    This trip, I'm seeking the "white starched napkin" type of hotel bar for the perfect martini or Manhattan.
     

  6. culverwood

    culverwood Distinguished Member

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    Two more hotel bars for your list:

    Langham Hotel - the Artesian - top cocktails

    Browns - Donovan Bar - cosy

    +1 for the Stafford and Dukes is close by (“The hotel bar which some say concocts one of the world’s best Martinis” New York Times.)
     

  7. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks culver wood. The Artesian was just suggested to me last night by one of the better known bartenders in San Francisco. The same bartender mixed us up a couple of Dukes recipe martinis :)
     

  8. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Distinguished Member

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  9. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    Cary - cool story about Dukes. Thanks for the link. London seems to one of the best cities for an elegant cocktail experience.
     

  10. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Distinguished Member

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    I love the Rivoli bar. A bit on the pricey side (£20/$35 per drink), but definitely worth it. Wearing a coat and tie will certainly not make you stand out there, and the waiters still wear dinner jackets. You should go for a high tea as well, I highly recommend making reservations at The Athenaeum. It's very close to the Ritz. The service is truly outstanding, and the teas and food are exquisite. Having a lovely afternoon tea is probably even more quintessentially London than going to a cocktail bar.

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

  11. Gus

    Gus Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks Monkeyface. Looks ideal :) I see that the Athenaeum also has what seems to be a delicious Gentleman's Afternoon Tea. Perfect for those who don't have a sweet tooth.

    Traditional English Savouries
    Suet Pastry Crusted Miniature Beef Steak and British Ale Pie
    Wild Boar Sausage Roll
    Homemade Seasonal Terrine
    Chili Cheese Straws with Decadent ‘Welsh Rarebit’ Dipping Sauce
    Warm Wookey Hole Cave Aged Mature Cheddar
    and Crispy Bacon Scones
    Selection of sweets
    Hot and Sticky Mini Toffee Pudding with Walnuts
    A wedge of Athenaeum Whisky Fruit Cake
    Homemade Whisky Chocolate Truffles
    A delicious Dram of Single Malt Scotch Whisky (25ml)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

  12. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Distinguished Member

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    I've made it a regular Sunday afternoon occurrence, and I wasn't a tea drinker at all before moving here.

    I've heard good things about the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy as well, but I haven't been there myself yet, so I can't personally recommend it.

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    Now I know you said you didn't want to go to cocktail bars outside of hotels, but Mr Foggs is be worth checking out. It's in Mayfair, and the decor and drinks are excellent:

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

  13. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Distinguished Member

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    Been there, done that. And WORTH it.

    In the era of being a Fairmont Hotel- I kinda felt that the Beaufort is more modern theater hype than quintessential cocktail bar.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014

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