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#99 The American Bar at the Savoy

November 3, 2011

The 1930 1st Edition of the Savoy Cocktail book is on display, featuring what is unequivocally the best book cover made by man. (This edition will set you back about £375, by the way. But think of the gin sours!)

“Have you been to the reopened American Bar at the Savoy?” we ask casually, with the unmistakeable air of those who have, and will hold it over you. “It’s frightfully nice.”

Oh, shit. We just went and reviewed it, right there. But yeah, it’s a deeply pleasant experience to stride into that exclusive-feeling recessed opening of the Savoy, turn left and up the velvety stairs, to where a hushed concierge will escort you into the tastefully low-lit environs of the American Bar. With any luck there’ll be a piano player warbling his heart out. When you’re in, you’re almost duty-bound to sample a White Lady (that’s gin, Cointreau and lemon juice), since it was invented right here.

All the hipster speakeasies in the world can’t match the old-school splendour of the place. The new decor updates the bar from Shabby-Genteel to Medium Bling, without getting all up in your face about it. The bar is now surrounded with a gracefully curved plastic frame, which does its required job of bringing it slap up to date without Ikea-ing it all up. Staff are attentive and friendly, too. The presence of an enormously fat drunk businessman at the bar, shouting about his last trip to Las Vegas, was a reminder that you’re definitely in hotel-land, though. Let’s hope he’s not there every night.

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