After the smashing (pun intended) success of the continued Champagne Campaign at the Connaught Bar during the last trip to London, a beautiful change from my beloved Claridge’s Bar stop, my girlfriends and I decided that the only logical thing to do was to launch a comprehensive comparison study of the major legendary hotel bars here in London. Next stop: the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy.
One of London’s longest and most expensive hotel renovations re-opened one of the city’s former legendary bars. If the Connaught bar was a jewel box, then the Beaufort is like a full on chest of gold. It’s over the top..in a good way. It larger and breezier (so much so that I was actually a bit cold) but black velvet at every turn and the little gold pavilions on the side warm you right up.
Coming over, there was tons of traffic and my cab asked if I just wanted to walk the remaining block to save myself the extra fare. I was about to hop out when I stopped and said that no, I would like the full experience. He laughed and obliged. And it was worth the wait. There is just something about pulling up in a black London cab at one of the finest hotels in the city, if not the world, being greeted by nearly an army of impeccably uniformed doormen, greeting you with “Welcome Back” (who am I to point out that I have nevery actually been there before?). Interestingly enough, part of the full experience was also to get a bit of history from the cabbie. I noticed we were actually driving on the right side of the road – technically the wrong side here. Apparently, the driveway to the Savoy is the only “road” like that from former days when you would pull up by carriage and the drive would hop out to open the door for you to exit.
The champagne cocktails were smooth, and dinner quickly became a bubbly one peppered with cocktail nuts and olives. And who doesn’t love a dinner like that? The bar itself is the former cabaret stage from the hotel’s roaring 20’s, and my friend in the know reports that it’s the best place to sit solo or a deux since watching them mix cocktails is an art in itself. The bar has entertainment nightly and while last night’s act was a bit heavy on the scatting for my taste, but I have to say the guy’s voice was as close to Louis Armstrong as a middle-aged white male can get three-quarters of a century later.
On the way in, I noticed a little shop dedicated to Savoy tea and other goodies – I was trying to get my friends so hurried by. It’s a good thing it was closed on my way out as I was leaving somewhat brazen with bubbly, and I probably would have ended up with a suitcase of random Savoy goodies and a very large dent in my credit card.
Now the only thing is to decide where the next stop on the campaign should be…perhaps a trip back to the Savoy for the American Bar (just named the “world’s best hotel bar”)?
|The Beaufort as cabaret stage, the back portion is now the main bar.|