Marianna Hunt

The best bars for celebrating Independence Day

The best bars for celebrating Independence Day
The American Bar, The Stafford
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While most parades and public fireworks displays have been called off for 4 July, it is still an excellent excuse for a good old American knees up.

Good food and drink are key to any Independence Day party. From smoky barbeque joints to slinky speakeasies, here are the best places to celebrate in London.

The Stafford

The Stafford Hotel’s American bar was designed to dispel any sense of homesickness among visiting Americans in 1920s and 1930s London. Day-to-day items donated by visitors over the decades, from baseball caps to toy aeroplanes, dangle haphazardly from the ceiling.

It is one of the longest surviving American bars in the city and a plaque on the wall commemorates world war two resistance fighter Nancy Wake, who stopped by every day at 11 a.m. for more than 50 years for a gin and tonic.

In the style of true American cocktail bars, tuxedoed bartenders shake and stir up all the classics. They also do their own in-house specialities and five different types of negroni.

Over the summer months the bar is hosting regular BBQs in its courtyard and on 4 July there will be a special menu, featuring spicy grilled shrimp and jalapeno pepper poppers.

M Victoria

A live band performing up-beat American classics will have you singing along between mouthfuls during Independence Day bottomless brunch at M Victoria.

This grill — with its sleek steel and glass interior — specialises in cooking with coal, wood, smoke and ice. Its pièce de résistance are its steaks, which come from six different countries and form the main event at the brunch, served with a fried duck egg, chips and blue cheese hollandaise.

For the veggies, it’s corn and zucchini (Brits, read: courgette) fritters with halloumi, avocado salsa and onion jam. Both are followed by a hefty pancake stack, with berry coulis, brûléed banana, cream cheese and much more.

Free-flowing cocktails and prosecco are included in the price (£65 for 90 minutes), with tipples ranging from espresso martinis to negronis.

Prairie Fire

Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore... you’re in Wood Lane Arches. Prairie Fire is a Kansas City-style BBQ restaurant and taproom, located in these former railway arches by Westfields shopping centre, now converted into trendy eateries.

The menu is a true Midwest feast, with platters piled high with crispy tater tots, melt-in-your-mouth brisket and molten cheese. The meats are slow-cooked on a bed of oak and hickory wood, often for 14 hours or more. There are some veggie options, including mac n’ cheese. The taproom serves a huge range of craft beers from both Britain and the States as well as bourbons and whiskeys.

Kansas City is seen as the true home of the American BBQ and Prairie Fire was established by local-turned-Londoner Michael Gratz.

The interiors taken inspiration from American diner culture with industrial lighting and steel counters. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


From Midwest to midtown Manhattan... Fitz’s in London’s Russell Square has all the glamour of the drinking dens frequented by socialites in 1920s New York.

One room is lit up by a Jazz Age mirrorball, bedecked with ostrich feathers, Victorian curiosities and a circus tent canopy ceiling. Another has velvet upholstery and a specially commissioned mural, dappled with light from the original 18th century stained-glass windows.

The equally extravagant cocktail menu changes regularly. Previous specialities have included the Golden Echo, a potent combination of pear brandy, walnut liqueur, rum, lime, toasted sesame, bitters and ginger beer.

On 4 July the bar will be serving a few specially curated tipples, including a black cherry punch. There is a slim bar menu, featuring chicken wings and courgette fries.

Brick Lane Taproom

This pop-up on Brick Lane is part taproom, part love letter to New York. Housed inside the Truman Brewery, basketball jerseys and American football shirts dangle over the long trestle tables.

The beers come from a range of craft breweries from both Britain and America. Wines, spirits and cocktails are also served.

Items on the Brooklyn-inspired menu range in price from £5 to around £10 and include loaded hot dogs, cheeseburgers, halloumi fries and falafel. There are often DJs doing live performances of an eclectic mix of music.


Signature martini, Christophers

Hidden within this Grade-II listed Victorian building is a ground floor martini bar with spectacular light installations hanging for metres above the tables.

Christopher’s grill is one of the most well-respected American restaurants in London and its central location in Covent Garden is an added bonus.

Follow up your martini (we recommend the 'almond cigar' version, with Amaretto and orange bitters) with dinner in the sleek dining room, where American stalwarts such as Caesar salad and fillet steak are served up with plenty of lavish garnishes and dressings.

It also does a weekend brunch menu, featuring Maryland crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise.

There is a club room on the top floor for private dining.

For the home birds

If you’d normally prefer watching the parades on TV to being in the thick of it on the streets, curate your own 4 July night in. Crosstown, the doughnut maker, has launched a series of special Independence Day delivery boxes.

These include limited-edition flavoured doughnuts, such as the Brooklyn Blackout (rich black chocolate cake dough filled with dark chocolate custard), the Apple Pie and the Red, White and Blue (a cherry compote filling with creamy key lime glaze and a blue-coloured crumble).

Crosstown is also making its first foray into savoury, with boxes of mustard-smothered hot dogs and American craft beers. Vegan options are available.

Prices start from £23 per box.