The Savoy American BarA historic and grand hotel in the heart of London, The Savoy is home to the longest surviving American bar in London and Elite Living Africa was invited to discover this hidden gem

The Savoy recently announced that its American Bar has been named the world’s best bar at the ninth annual World’s 50 Best Bars awards, which took place in London’s Southwark on Thursday 5 October – an incredible achievement, thanks to many things, from its dedicated staff to its gorgeous art-deco inspired interior design.

“One of the most iconic in the world, steeped in rich history, the American Bar at The Savoy is extremely proud to have received one of the highest accolades in the bar industry today,’ says bar manager Declan. Once I stepped inside the American Bar at The Savoy in London, it did not take me long to realise why it had recently been named ‘the world’s best bar’ - it oozes old-world glamour.

As we were greeted by the staff, I marvelled at the opulence that surrounded us - the art-deco interior reminiscient of the 1920s era, the ivory walls dotted with photographs of famous faces and a pianist playing a selection of jazz tracks on a baby grand piano to entertain guests, including the City of Stars, featured in the soundtrack of the hit romantic comedy-drama La La Land.

Once we had been seated, it was clear to see the impeccable level of service at The American Bar. The bar supervisor, Joe Hodrien was very informative as he talked us through the drinks menu which features a comprehensive list of classic cocktails with a twist to vintage concuctions. It truly felt like we had travelled back in time as Joe explained the hisorical significance of our chosen drinks featured in the American bar’s recently launched menu 'Coast to Coast'. 

It uses a wide range of ingredients representing a journey across Britain from South to North, beginning in the Garden of England and finishing at Castle Rock. The long drinks in this part of the menu are served on glass terrariums reflective of the Garden of England in Kent.

Harry Craddock, the then American Bar head bartender, compiled the Savoy Cocktail Book which became a part of every bartender's library since it was first published in 1930. The art deco artwork in the book is influenced courtesy of illustrator Gilbert Rumbold, also the name of one of the menu’s ‘art deco’ cocktails. Grey Goose vodka and Italicus Rosolio (an Italian liquor first launched at The American Bar) is mixed with lime juice and cucumber juice, topped off with and peppermint syrup and champagne - and really what more can you ask for? The Lalique fountain at the entrance of the Savoy lets guests drift their minds back to the art deco era. In 2012 to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee, head bartender Erik Lorincz filled this fountain and served a cocktail to celebrate the occasion Sapphire Jubilee Fizz. One for gin lovers, it presents a mix of star of Bombay gin, violet liqueur, oleo saccharum, pineau des charentes and champagne - the perfect cocktail to toast an occassion whether its a birthday or an anniversary.

If we move away from the art deco inspired cocktails, we will find that equally delighting and on the menu are The Garden of Eden cocktails. This section of the menu features cocktails such as Kentish Cob which refers to a ‘cobnut’ which is a type of hazelnut cultivated and grown throughout Kent. The county itself also represents the majority of hazelnut production within Britain. The harvest generally takes place towards the end of August. The cocktail is a delicious concuction of Bacardi 8 year old rum, coffee and potash farm roasted hazelnut soda, fermented plantain syrup and martini rubino vermouth.

The extensive cocktail list really does have something for everyone. After sampling some of these, I would have to say my favourite would have to be Basil Lonides, named after the British architect who was behind the art deco redesign of the Savoy hotel in the mid-1920s. The perfect tipple for those who prefer their darker spirits - it mixes Ron Zacapa rum, smoky whisky, mastiha liqueur, salted cacao liqueur, cacao infused Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Peychaud’s Bitters. However, if you are feeling really adventorous, try one of the vintage cocktails. At $6,615 a glass, Sazerac, is a taste of history, blending 1858 Sazerac de Forge, with 1950s Pernod Absinthe and vintage Peychaud’s Bittlers.

So whether you take a seat at the bar to engage with some of the world’s most talented bartenders or prefer an intimate atmosphere at one of the tables, The American Bar will transport you back to a time of 1920s glitz and glamour, making it defintely worth the visit.

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