An eccentric joy worthy of an HM Bateman cartoon, the recently enlarged American Bar at the inimitable Stafford Hotel has entertained everyone from Winston Churchill to Dolly Parton in its day – check their portraits among the jolly jumble of memorabilia on display. Nifty glasses of aviation, gimlet and any other classic cocktail you care to call are prepared by a butler-ish head barman and his suave equipé; from £15 a pop, prices are not too painful – especially as drinks are served with generous savoury nibbles. Bar food might be described as Colonel Blimp goes gastro: mulligatawny coconut rice with crab; fish fingers with tartare sauce; Reuben sandwich with hash browns; wild-mushroom risotto and traditional puds. Smoking cigars on the terrace overlooking a picturesque mews is another civilised pleasure at this irresistible institution.
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