Andrea Di Chiara: reopening of the American Bar – Drinks International

In May, the Savoy’s American bar announced it would be launching a new menu to coincide with the bar’s reopening to the public after Covid-19 lockdowns shuttered doors for nearly two years.

“My promise was that these doors would not close no matter what,” Di Chiara says. “We have been closed for a long time. The hotel closed at the start of the pandemic, then when parts of the hotel reopened in September, the American Bar remained closed due to social distancing restrictions.

“Then we reopened the bar in November last year, but six weeks later we had to close again. Finally, we reopened it permanently on February 25. So really, we weren’t open during two years.

“The most important thing for me was to reopen the doors as soon as possible, everything else we can find solutions once we are open but the most important thing was to bring the place back to life and bring back our regular customers.”

The new Re:Invented menu, created by the American Bar team under the direction of Anna Sebastian, served as a retrospective paying homage to past legends who ran the bar in Harry Craddock, Peter Dorelli, Salim Khoury and Erik Lorincz, as well as looking to the future with an emphasis on modern techniques, sustainable practices and seasonality.

“The creation of the cocktail menu was very important for the reopening, explains Di Chiara. “It’s a heavy uniform, there’s a lot of pressure and stares on us, but that pressure gives you more energy and inspiration. With the new menu, we wanted to be as authentic as possible but also keep the simple things.

“We wanted to celebrate what the American Bar was like before, and not just before the pandemic, but all the times the bar has gone through, but with a modern twist, through sustainability and innovation.

“It was important to honor all the incredible hard work that has been done in the past here, the whole menu was created by our current team members and each member is working on a small piece.”

In Di Chiara’s five years at the hotel, he’s seen the American Bar run by a number of bartending luminaries, including Maxim Schulte and Erik Lorincz. In July, the bar revealed that Chelsie Bailey, formerly of Happiness Forgets, would take the reins as 13 of the bar.e head bartender.

“Chelsie’s arrival will be great. Every time you have a new head bartender there’s a new energy, a new point of view and that brings with it a different challenge and atmosphere, it’s very positive.

“Every head bartender is like another piece you add to the bar. But most importantly, I love Chelsie’s approach to life, she’s an amazing personality and that’s the most important thing, c This is what brings great balance to the bar.

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