Address: Brown’s Hotel, 33-4 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP (020-7493 6020, brownshotel.com/dining/the-donovan-bar).
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11am to 1am; Sun, noon to midnight.
Transport: Green Park tube.
Go for: Rum, whisky and fabulous photographs.
One of London’s older hotels, Brown’s dates from 1837 and is renowned for being among the capital’s most elegant and discreet destinations. Like the hotel, the Donovan Bar is a fine blend of old and new, and succeeds in being both glamorous and laid-back at the same time.
The bar pays homage to the late Terence Donovan, world-renowned photographer – hence the name – and is decorated with around 50 of his black and white prints. It’s worth visiting to see this gallery which portrays an earlier age of elegance – and also to enjoy the drinks. The well-constructed wine list offers many choices by the glass as well as the bottle; there are also cocktails, but spirit drinkers are probably best served here, particularly those fond of rum and single malt whisky. Bar nibbles are available.
As for the décor, imagine a chic redesign of an Edwardian lounge, incorporating a striking stained glass window of St George. The Donovan Bar is an intimate space, therefore you might have to wait at the bar before securing a table, but it’s worth it, especially if you aren’t picking up the tab.