Destination: England: London
The Four Seasons’ three-story Italian bar and restaurant, including an outdoor terrace, takes its cue and name from the plum-colored Amaranthe flower. Inside, it’s romantic and cozy with rich burgundy tones, wine-colored velvet armchairs, padded red leather walls and a sleek black-leather bar. Bold touches by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon include colorful Murano glass installations featuring the four seasons and the martini trolley, the latter personally designed by Rochon. It’s a fabulous spot for a cocktail after a Mayfair shopping or sightseeing afternoon.
The American Bar at the centrally located Savoy is a great spot for a cocktail.
The Connaught has two seductive spots for drinks and conversation. The larger Coburg Bar, to the right of the front door once you enter the lobby was designed by Parisian based India Mahdavi as a “destination bar”. It draws the most modern of Martini drinkers with seductive elements like deep purple velvet club chairs and perky orange leather ottomans. The Julian Opie artwork perfectly fits the urbane but unstuffy vibe. For a more glamorous gathering, the Connaught Bar lays on the shine and dazzle as only designer David Collins can. You can enter from Mount Street or a hallway off the lobby by the elevators. Either way, you will instantly be immersed in the high-gloss style of London now. The walls have been dressed up with silver leaf and linen panels of pale pink, pistachio and lilac. Of course, there are special whiskies and wine available as well as a light menu in case you want to nibble with your cocktails.
The Roof Gardens feels more like a hidden oasis than a rooftop bar, even though it is perched 100 feet above one of London’s busiest streets. Completely renovated in 2010, the 1.5 acres of open-air gardens occupy the entire roof, circling the main bar and club area in three distinct sections; the Spanish Garden (complete with mini-Alhambra), Tudor Garden and traditional English Garden. There are even resident flamingos, ducks and fish. Go for an alfresco supper in the summer, or join the party-goers at the club late night on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Artesian Bar
A very sexy spot for pre-theater drinks near the West End is the newly glammed up bar at the Langham Hotel.
The Donovan Bar
One of the swishest places for drinks in Mayfair is the redone bar at Brown’s. Olga Polizzi, sister of Sir Rocco Forte, who owns the property has brought her flair to what once felt like a warren of dark rooms and made them cool and classic. Named after the British photographer, Terence Donovan, who captured well-known figures in iconic moments, the bar features more than fifty of his black-and-white prints. Cult leather designer Bill Amberg fashioned the handsome bar that now complements the stained-glass window preserved from the original hotel. Afternoon tea is served, and there’s live jazz from later in the evenings during the week.
Vista at the Trafalgar
The roof garden at the Trafalgar hotel is the perfect setting for pre-dinner drinks high above the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square. The city looks completely different from day to night, so go a little early and watch as the lights come on around Nelson’s Column (it’s hard to miss across the street) and the London Eye in the distance.
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