Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

16 November 2010

Drink at the Stafford's American Bar

The American Bar, at the Stafford Hotel in Mayfair, dates back to the 1930s, and since the 1970s has been the venue of an interesting tradition. Started when West End hotels began looking to the increasing American market arriving by ocean liner, it is now more famous for the tradition of guests leaving personal gifts for the hotel, which have over the years covered the walls and ceiling.


Your author popped in the other night with Rajul from London Hotel Insight, and found a spot amongst all the paraphernalia for a very pleasant drink, attended to by Benoit Provost, the head barman who has been at The Stafford for 12 years. The tradition began, we are told, when the walls were so bare that an American guest gave Benoit's predecessor a small wooden American eagle. This was duly followed by an eskimo, given by a Canadian, and a Kangaroo, given by an Australian.

Today, the bar is covered with yacht club flags, signed photographs and historical artefacts. These are kept alongside glasses which various royals have used on their visits, model aircraft from pilots who drank at the bar during the Second World War, given on their returns, and photographs of Nancy Wake, the highest decorated woman of the Second World War, who drank here when it was run by Louis Burdet, famous for his time as a leader of the French Resistance.

The only downside is the cost of drinks. This being a hotel in Mayfair, a pint is at least £5, so it's currently more like drinking in the Euro-zone than in America, and there is also the dress code - Jackets are mandatory for men. All this, and your author can't help wondering who will be the first hotel to beat the rush to designate a "Chinese Bar".

For more on the American bar, and see some better pictures, click here.

2 comments:

  1. Adding this to the list of things to check out when I make it to London.

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  2. It's certainly worth visiting. If ever I had the money I might even consider staying at the Stafford. They certainly seem to take care of their guests.

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