Some luxury hotel bars may be better looking, others less dependent on the reputations of bartending heroes and a celebrity cast list, yet anyone who is serious about martinis will eventually make it to this art-deco legend. Be prepared to queue at peak times as out-of-towners assemble and guide-totin' Yankees tick the American Bar off their London ‘to-do' list. As the soft strains of Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach tinkle away on the ivories, punters enjoy timeless classics such as martinez, white lady and hanky-panky (created here in 1924) – although piano man (a summery gin and quince mix) might be more appropriate. You may not adore its layout, lighting, view or its eye-bothering carpet, but you can't help but feel the love for a legend that is forever synonymous with spotless cocktails.
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