It’s July 4 and what better time to enjoy a drink at The American Bar?
Small, yet bursting with memorabilia and what feel like the memories and shadows of good times gone by, The American Bar is not what you would expect to find on in the quintessentially English Stafford Hotel.
The walls are decorated with thousands of items of customer-donated gifts from around the globe, each battling with hundreds of signed celebrity photographs. Even the ceiling is hung with a colorful collection of club ties, sporting mementoes, and baseball caps.
The Bar is also famous for its Martini’s and ‘Boss’ Brew,’ a dark English beer brewed by Daniel Thwaites, a Lancashire-based, family-controlled brewery.
A Brief History…
During the 1930s, when cross-Atlantic ocean-liner travel reached its peak, most West End hotels in London renamed their bar ‘The American Bar’ in an attempt to attract the business of the increasing numbers of North American visitors. These intrepid travelers brought with them such exotic drinks as Manhattans, Martinis, Sidecars and The Vanderbilt and so the cocktail era was born.
Over the years most hotels have renamed their bars but only The Stafford has kept the name ‘The American Bar.’
The collection that is now in the bar started when an American guest gave Charles Guano—the hotel’s late, beloved Head Barman of 42 years—a small wooden carving of an American eagle. Shortly after, a Canadian guest gave him a small model of an Eskimo, then an Australian presented a model of a kangaroo and so the collection grew and grew.
Today, every available wall and surface is crammed with an intriguing collection of artifacts, knick-knacks and photographs cataloguing the many vast and varied personalities who have frequented The Stafford over the years.
Leading the show from behind the bar today is manager Ben Provost. Reported to have a fantastic ability to remember guests’ names and exactly what they drink, a visit to the American Bar is as much to see this charismatic professional as to see the bar itself.
The American Bar is open daily and also serves light snacks and suppers. Gentlemen are required to wear jackets in the evenings.
16-18 Saint James’s Place
London, United Kingdom SW1A 1NJ
020 7493 0111