The Pinnacle Guide

THE GUARDS BAR & LOUNGE
At Raffles London

London, UK

This grand hotel bar, set in London’s historic Old War Office, brings innovation to its drinks, while honouring Raffles’ rich history and cocktail legacy.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

The Guards Bar makes serious considerations during the tender deal process to work with B Corp products and those that have good sustainability factors like Sapling and Nc’Nean. Raffles also works closely with ecoSPIRITS – a company that reduces single use glass by receiving spirits in 6 litre eco totes.

DETAILS OF NOTE

When visiting The Guards Bar guests should ensure they see the Louis XIII Mathusalem 6L decanter housed here. The cognac is a blend of hundreds of eaux de vie, a century in the making, but it’s the glassware that catches the eye. Each decanter is 11kg of solid crystal, hand-made by 20 extremely talented master artisans.

The Pinnacle Guide

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Nestled within the historic confines of The Old War Office, and overlooking the grandeur of Horse Guards and Buckingham Palace, The Guards Bar is something of a visual delight that offers even locals a chance to revel in London’s rich history.

Stepping into The Guards Bar, guests are immediately enveloped in an ambiance that marries the grandiosity of the building’s Edwardian heritage with modern touches. Rich hues of reds, opulent wood panelling, and bespoke artwork adorn the space while the historic panelled windows allow a soft light in, complemented by intimate table lanterns and striking chandeliers that punctuate the space. If guests could imagine themselves drinking with Churchill, this room is exactly where he’d be.

The bar itself stands as a focal point, offering sixteen signature drinks that pay homage to British ingredients, local producers or international influences in a nod to the Raffles locations found across the globe. In addition to this, the bar will always have three variations on the Singapore Sling, created at Raffles Singapore in 1915. A London Sling will remain a staple with a seasonal sling rotating to highlight drinks from other Raffles Hotels.

A third of the menu can be made alcohol-free and staff are well equipped to venture beyond the menu, trained with an arsenal of classic drinks. Cocktails at The Guards Bar are well presented in a simple style, with thoughtful attention to detail in garnishes, such as the ice for the London Sling that has a cherry frozen within it as a nod to the original Singapore variant. The team at The Guards Bar have shared access to a high-tech lab space within the hotel, featuring a whole host of equipment including a rotavap, centrifuge and thermomix, where the extensive prep for the drinks takes place. The space is also utilised by staff at the beginning of menu development, which changes annually, and several tastings are done before drinks are trialled in service, to ensure the team are happy before it is ultimately signed off.

The commitment to excellence extends beyond the menu to the service itself. From the moment guests step through the doors, they are greeted with genuine and warm hospitality. Coats are seamlessly whisked away, and every need is anticipated with professionalism. It’s impossible not to be swept away by the storied history that surrounds The Guards Bar, as steeped in legacy as it is, and it serves as something of an oasis amidst the hustle of Whitehall.

The Guards Bar gave much thought when it came to advertising for the team to ensure the people they hired represented the community they serve in London. They invest heavily in diversity, equity and inclusion training for the team as well as the necessary education that comes with 5-star hotel and bar service. Each member of staff has a clear career development plan and is invited to train within other departments within the property to ensure a fully rounded education. When it comes to giving back – they have a partnership with Westminster City School to directly support the local community.

“The drinks list was innovative with a wide range of spirits from all over the world. They had very clearly opted for the best spirit for each cocktail, rather than perhaps being led by a single brand owner.”

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