The Savoy Hotel, 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
The American Bar is so many things – a venerable institution of nearly 130 years, the bar of legendary bartenders, the home of countless classics, the 2017 World’s Best Bar, and the 2019 Legend of the List, sponsored by Asahi – but one thing that is sometimes overlooked is its music. As the Savoy’s director of bars, Declan McGurk, reminds us, the American Bar is “as much a piano bar as it is a cocktail bar”. Indeed, it’s impossible to imagine the experience of this lavish lounge bar and its five-star service without its resident pianists, holding court, teasing the keys. In 2019, the menu paid homage. The Savoy Songbook menu sees a dozen cocktails inspired by favourites from chief pianist Jon Nickoll’s repertoire – launching simultaneously with a specially recorded album, available on Spotify. With day-night appeal and a customer age range of 18-100, head bartender Maxim Schulte’s drinks tend to not riff too far from the classics, covering the bases. Tend, but not always. The Electric Lover is a liquid ode to Prince’s Purple Rain with purple glitter running through it. And there you have it: a truly classic bar with flashes of eccentricity.