It’s an often-repeated fact among bar buffs in London that there were only two American bars left in London – at the swanky Savoy and the suave Stafford hotel in St James’s. This sophisticated sort of cocktail bar was imported to London from the US around the turn of the century, and brought with it all the art deco flourish and dimly lit extravagance we like to associate with that era. It was about as far from the British pub as a drinking experience could get.
But add another to the list – the brand new Beaumont hotel in Mayfair has an American bar, and it’s (almost) as good as the other two. The only thing stopping it from being quite such a destination for a superbly dated style of service is that it serves as a throughway for restaurant diners.
Everything else about it fits the bill perfectly. For a hotel only opened late in 2014, the lobby and bar have a timeless elegance about them. Service is Stateside slick. Cocktails are strong and liberating: just the sort of thing Prohibitionists would have hated. Free snacks – candied nuts and olives – are refilled. The room is wood-panelled, dark and discreet, with portraits of twentieth-century American greats looking down approvingly from the walls. Stop here for an Americano, or a Bronx, or just a martini, made the way they would have been 100 years ago. And one of the best things about the Beaumont: it’s about two minutes’ walk from Oxford Street. There’s no excuse for dropping by a chain bar or West End drinking barn after a shopping trip now.