Not only are London's top hotels fantastic to stay in, but many of them are also fantastic to drink in. From classic cocktails to stunning surroundings, the capital is home to many great hotel bars including Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental and Artesian at the Langham Hotel.
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London's best hotel bars
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. But add another to the list – the brand new Beaumont hotel in Mayfair has an American bar, and it’s as good as the other two.
Venue says: “Now taking bookings for lunch with a choice of new dishes from soups, salads and sandwiches to burgers and a selection of lunch cocktails.”
The Langham Hotel is one of those high-ceilinged, marble-pillared palaces that many well-padded visitors, yet few resident Londoners, seem to visit. But it’s worth getting your best togs on just to admire David Collins’s design of this handsome room.
The name isn’t just a caprice: this David Collins-designed bar really is as blue as a Billie Holiday album. The sky-blue armchairs, the deep-blue ornate plasterwork and the navy-blue leather-bound menus combine with discreet lighting to striking effect. It’s a see-and-be-seen place, but staff treat all-comers like royalty, and the cocktails are a masterclass in sophistication.
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.
There's no velvet rope barring your way to the Coburg Bar: you can just walk straight on in. And once you've done so, the service will be faultless.The hotel's other bar, Connaught Bar, is both cosy and elegant, with a conspiratorial duskiness.
Machine No. 3
Machine No 3 is a Hackney launderette-turned-cocktail joint, so when, on approach, we noticed that the windows were steamed up, we had high hopes for an atmosphere as pounding as our very own clapped-out washer-dryer. Yet when the door swang open, it revealed just a couple of regulars at the bar and a slightly lost-looking pair of ramblers nursing half-pints in the corner. It’s a shame that Machine No 3 finds itself perched on the corner of a busy junction on the Homerton backstreets: not an area offering a huge amount of natural footfall. Fortunately, their Twitter feed tells a different story of lively gigs, themed events and DJs at the weekend pulling in punters until 1am. We can only assume we picked a quiet night. Beyond this, it’s a sweet space with a community feel – you can order kebab fodder from the Turkish next door or Italian from Well Street Pizza down the road. Old reclaimed furniture doesn’t offer much comfort, but should at least get the patrons moving; there’s certainly ample space for a makeshift dance floor. The cocktail list makes appealing reading, with monthly themed drinks deals and a roster of three craft beers on draught in support. Sadly, a Smoke and Orange (whisky, cinnamon syrup, orange, bitters, £8.50) didn’t quite live up to expectations – not as ballsy as billed and very sweet on the palate. The Elderflower Wash (£8) was easily knocked back though, frothy from egg whites and pleasantly heavy on the gin. And when it’s party time, you probably w
Venue says: “Live jazz, Played in Full hip-hop events, Old Fashioned Tuesday... full listing at machineno3.com”