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 new 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.