Oh The Stafford, what a hotel you are. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about “old London” which the new and modern hotels can never seem to replicate. These old timers evoke sophistication, have so much history and so effortlessly impress – you won’t find anything in London like The Stafford and more importantly, The American Bar. A hidden gem nestled deep within the luxurious area of St James’s with its own terrace, charm and some of the best classic cocktails in London.
Inside, it’s incredibly eclectic. Very old school, very British – but also very American. Every single part of this place is crammed full of history from celebrity autographs, sailing memorabilia, artefacts and photos of people who simply love this place. The crowd is interesting too – again eclectic, very interesting and mostly wealthy – it was very much my scene and we even made friends in the short time we were here. With Londoners keeping much to themselves these days it was refreshing to quickly meet like-minded people and those into food just as much as we are. We settled in with a couple of cocktails. A delicious and refreshing julep, alongside the house-classic Spitfire – made up of Chase marmalade vodka, fresh passion fruit, elderflower cordial, vanilla syrup and Champagne. The cocktails here really are excellent.
One thing that did surprise me about The American Bar was not the food, but how it was served – on a lap tray. When we first sat down at our cocktail sipping table we did wonder just how we were going to eat without breaking our back, cue the lap trays. It was a little like eating in your living room. We quickly adjusted as the whole room were eating off their laps. The menu here is extensive for a bar and we wanted just about everything on it, from American classics, British favourites, pasta and whole offering from the josper grill from which our steak was cooked in. A delicious 10oz grilled 28 day New York strip loin and 8oz fillet steak, both cooked perfectly with a lovely smokiness running through it. The chips were excellent too – crunchy and very fluffy in the middle. A couple more cocktails helped washed down our steaks in the form of a refined bitter Negroni and a well prepared whisky sour.
We didn’t think we’d have any room for dessert, but we did. Somehow no matter how full you are your body makes room for sugar and calories. White chocolate crème brulee with a scoop of delicious Bailey’s ice cream was first out from the kitchen and very indulgent. Better still was the peanut butter sundae – rich, calorific, nutty and moorish. A very nostalgic dessert which brought back some old memories, yet this time a little more grown up with a couple more cocktails alongside it.
I can’t believe I’ve left visiting the The American Bar at The Stafford London for so long. The atmosphere here is unlike anywhere else in London and its so infectious. With great food, fantastic cocktails and even better service there really isn’t anything to not like about this place – although lap eating may not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a place to chatter the night away then book a table a now and don’t forget to save a little outdoor time to enjoy this bars huge outdoor terrace for soaking up the summer rays. This may well become my new favourite drinking den and it should yours too.