The American Bar at The Stafford

Bars, British·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The American Bar at The Stafford

Gold Award

During the 1930s, several bars opened in London’s luxe hotels catering to high-society’s thirst for US-style cocktails, but this renowned establishment is one of the few survivors. It received a sensitive refurb in 2018, leaving an enlarged, tastefully tweaked main bar alongside the heroically eccentric original lounge. In both you’ll find signed photos of celebrated guests down the decades – everyone from François Mitterrand to Dolly Parton. Similarly absorbing is the St James’s-themed drinks list by legendary manager Benoît Provost. We enjoyed a take on the Queen Mum’s trademark gin and Dubonnet that added pear liqueur, Bénédictine and lemon to refreshing effect, and The Godolphin, a Woodford Reserve bourbon, berries-infused red-wine and cinnamon Sour. Five-star comfort food helps cure hunger pangs – juicy chorizo and pepper brochettes, say – backed up by a stellar wine cellar. On balmy evenings sip a glass in the cute cobbled mews leading to this unique institution.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Bars, British
Cosy, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Traditional
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Beer garden, Outside seating
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+]
Food Hygiene Rating


As the name suggests, The American Bar at five-star The Stafford in St James’s pays homage to the illicit speakeasies that became renowned in London and Paris during the 1920s and 30s. To truly immerse diners in prohibition era England, the bar has been designed with a distinctively vintage feel, boasting subtle lamp lighting, a wooden bar, brown leather seating and an all-round cosy ambience. It’s also one of the longest surviving American bars in London, just to add extra gravitas to its aformentioned credentials.  

Both food and drinks are served here, but let's start with the former. Bar director Benoit Provost and director of mixology Salvatore Megna oversee the cocktail menu, which comprises a mix of signatures and classics, both old and new. Sure, there are other drinks too, such as vintage Champagne, premium spirits and a whisky collection to put all others to shame, but cocktails are its ‘thing’. Choose from the Equilibrium menu for a series of perfectly-balanced drinks which are sub-divided by earth, air, water and fire. You might find one called Nimbus for example, which mixes gin, mangosteen, akashi-tai yuzu, citrus, peach and Champagne, or Sonus made with mezcal, cantaloupe melon, grasshopper salt, green yoghurt and fino sherry.  

You can also find a selection of signature, classic and after-dinner cocktails, as well as numerous twists on a negroni for lovers of the punchy drink.  

Michelin-starred chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen heads up the food menu, with the bar serving lunch, dinner and light bites throughout the day. Offering a selection of American-inspired dishes, smaller snacks might include BBQ Iberico pork ribs, sticky buffalo wings with hot sauce, sesame and soy, mini sausages with American hot sauce and loaded potato wedges. If you’re after a full meal, you can choose from main dishes such as a lobster thermidor sub, chicken parmigiana, a signature burger made with beef, cheddar and caramelised onions and a pastrami-cured smoked salmon bagel with soured cream and lemon.  


Does the bar serve food?

Yes, the food menu is headed up by Lisa Goodwin-Allen and includes lunch, dinner and light bites

Helpful? 0

Is there outdoor seating?

Yes, there is an alfresco courtyard which can also be hired for private events

Helpful? 0

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16-18 St James's Place, St. James's, London, SW1A 1NJ

020 7493 0111 020 7493 0111


Opening Times

All day
Mon 12:00-00:00
Tue 12:00-00:00
Wed 12:00-00:00
Thu 12:00-01:00
Fri 12:00-01:00
Sat 12:00-01:00
Sun 12:00-00:00


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1 Review 

Brentwood Bird

15 July 2012  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 3.5
What it lacked in clientele on our visit, it more than made up for in character and service. Could spend hours in there and still not tire of all the conversation starting objects and pictures on every space (including the ceiling!) Is not the cheapest bar in the world, but the premium included for enticing snacks, huge range of drinks and superb staff, makes every pound worthwhile.
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