Mayfair area guide

Discover the finest restaurants, bars and pubs in Mayfair, peruse the shops or get pampered at the finest spas and find plenty of things to do in W1

Mayfair is named after the May fair that was held there for almost 100 years, until it was banned from the area in 1764. Now Mayfair is a carnival for the rich and powerful. Its shops are temples to luxury goods, and its restaurants are among the finest in the country. When visitors tire of eating well and trying on designer clothes, they can have a drink in an exclusive Mayfair bar or relax in one of Mayfair's many sumptuous hotels.

What are your favourite Mayfair haunts? Let us know in the comments.

Mayfair highlights

Bars and pubs

Mayfair bars and pubs

Mayfair has long been a favourite haunt of the rich and privileged, but that doesn't mean the bars are stuffy. Places like Trader Vic's and the infamous Mahiki are fun and kitschy. Those wishing to enjoy more elegant surroundings might try the sophisticated and inviting Coburg Bar or American Bar, with its gorgeously low-lit interior.Think we've missed a great drinking spot in Mayfair? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Shopping in Mayfair

Acne Studio When it was established in 1997, Acne was less a fashion brand, more a high-concept collective. Four friends sat around in a posh Stockholm new build, thinking about product design and sharing a single motivating idea: the Ambition to Create Novel Expressions (Acne, get it?).  b store One of London’s trendiest clothes shops, b store’s reputation as a stockist of innovative fashion labels remains unimpeachable – where else can you pick up clothes designed by this year’s Saint Martin’s graduates?  Browns For the ultimate fashion fix look no further than Joan Burstein’s venerable store, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010. Among the 100-odd designers jostling for attention at its five interconnecting shops are fashion heavyweights Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga and Christian Dior.  Dover Street Market Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo’s ground-breaking six-storey space combines the edgy energy of London’s indoor markets – concrete floors, tills housed in corrugated-iron shacks, Portaloo dressing rooms – with rarefied labels.  Louis Vuitton Maison Designed by New York City’s Peter Marino, the Maison (which is LV lingo for megastore) is similar to flagships in New York, Paris and Hong Kong, but stocked with the most rare and exclusive of Louis Vuitton finds.  Marc by Marc Jacobs So cheap are the branded trinkets prominently displayed as you walk into London’s first Marc by Marc Jacobs store that you could be tempted to walk straight out again, mista

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Art

Royal Academy of Arts

Britain's first art school was founded in 1768 and moved to the extravagantly Palladian Burlington House a century later. It is now best known for the galleries. Expect to pay for blockbusters (like 2008's popular 'From Russia' show) in the Sackler Wing or main galleries, while shows in the John Madejski Fine Rooms are drawn from the RA's holdings – ranging from Constable to Hockney – and are free. The Royal Academy's biggest event is the Summer Exhibition, which for more than two centuries has drawn from works entered by the public as well its Royal Academicians. The nozzles of the courtyard fountain are layed out to match the position of the stars and planets on the night in 1723 when Sir Joshua Reynolds, artist and RA Founding President, was born.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Handel House Museum

The house that was Handel's home between 1723 and his death in 1759, where he composed his 'Messiah', 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' and several operas, is now a museum devoted to the composer's life and work, presented in the context of the London he knew. The refurbished 1720 interiors of Handel House Museum include furniture taken from the house after Handel's death. 23 Brook Street, the upper floors of which were home to rock legend Jimi Hendrix in 1968 and 1969, provides a space for changing exhibitions and events. The house was part of the same development as number 25 and has been restored accordingly. Music-inspired family activities, lectures and concerts are a regular feature on the programme of Handel House Museum. Talks take place on Saturday afternoons, on subjects including costumes, paintings, music and London in the eighteenth century.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants in Mayfair

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34

Nearly all of our fellow diners at 34 were Americans: the sort who roll up their sleeves to talk loudly about Mitt Romney. But that’s what half of Mayfair is like, a bubble of foreign wealth that bears little relationship to most Londoners’ lives. This establishment and the international super-rich live in symbiosis.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Brasserie Chavot

Smart French food is back en vogue. Balthazar in Covent Garden kicked off this season’s revival with a Yankee high-five to the brasserie – but Chavot ups the ante. The dining room is almost sepulchral in its formality, with smiling but no-nonsense service.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Burger & Lobster

Don’t be put off by the gimmicky concept or swanky addresses of the four branches of this Russian-owned chain; this sleek eatery represents remarkably good value for money… if you order the lobster. As you walk through the door in the Mayfair branch (an attractively converted pub), a blackboard tells you all you need to know about the menu: you may order a lobster (boiled, grilled or in a brioche roll with mayonnaise), or you may have a burger.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Cecconi's

Cecconi’s, located just behind the Royal Academy, shows London at its most cosmopolitan. A chic restaurant and bar with wraparound windows and striped marble floors, it’s part of the cool Soho House group. Service comes from classy white-jacketed staff and food is served all day – everything from egg white omelette to lobster spaghetti. The fare is pleasingly simple rather than imaginative.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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