Following the £220m revamp, The Savoy’s devotion to debonaire drinking now stretches beyond the iconic American Bar.
The Beaufort might be the second bar, but second-division it is not. It’s a considerably more salubrious space to sip than the American Bar, and combines a wow-factor interior with good service and top-quality (if pricey) drinks.
Art deco opulence abounds. Although it’s as dark as a pawnbroker’s soul, £38,000 of gold leaf adorns the alcoves and ornate cornicing, the fittings are exquisitely finished and the black velvet furnishings and drapes suitably plush. It’s very glamorous, that’s for sure.
The broad range of bubbly leans heavily towards Louis Roederer: the Champagne house has backed the bar. Prices start around £16 for a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier and go up to as much as you want to pay. Beers, meanwhile, cost £6 and include Meantime Pale Ale or Guinness.
While the Beaufort doesn’t boast the wealth of cocktails available at the American Bar, the seven-strong list is worth exploring. The Sugar Strut, which blends Bacardi 8 Year Old with Guinness Foreign Syrup, is a terrific twist on a rum old fashioned, and the Gilded Cage, made with vodka, fresh passionfruit and chartreuse comes served in a birdcage and is designed for dual-drinking.
Yet it’s The Winston, priced at £50, which is the most masculine two-fingered salute to the recession. Inspired by Winston Churchill’s habit of wetting his cigar in his Cognac, it has Hennessy XO, blood orange purée and quince liqueur muddled with a Romeo y Julieta cigar (seriously) and served straight up.
If you’re going to have one drink at The Savoy (and let’s face it, one is all most of us can afford), then, in terms of appearance and atmosphere, the Beaufort Bar edges it over its American counterpart.
The Beaufort is definitely the looker of the pair – though the American Bar is hardly the ugly friend. But the American Bar is the only one you will ever be asked about. Take your pick. Be warned that at both bars, you may need to queue to get in, and bookings are not taken.