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Savoy’s American Bar names head bartender

The American Bar at The Savoy in London has appointed Chelsie Bailey, general manager of Happiness Forgets, as its new head bartender.

Chelsie Bailey at The Savoy
Chelsie Bailey will become the American Bar’s new head bartender

Bailey will join five-star hotel The Savoy on 19 July, taking over the head bartender role from American mixologist Shannon Tebay.

Tebay joined the acclaimed hotel bar last July and was the first woman to hold the position in nearly 100 years and the first American to hold the title.

Bailey began her career in the south west of England, managing Bristol bars such as Red Light and Filthy 13.

She has won several cocktail competitions including Speed Rack and Chivas Masters in 2016, and Monkey Shoulder in 2017. Bailey was also the UK winner of Bacardí Legacy in 2019 and finished in the top eight in the world.

She moved to London in January 2020 to manage Shoreditch cocktail bar Happiness Forgets.

Bailey said: “I’m thrilled to be joining The Savoy team and working with such a group of talented and dynamic people; together writing the next chapter of the American Bar’s history.

“The Savoy has always had a reputation for innovation and quality; so the role carries with it a sense of responsibility and challenge, but that is what’s so exciting about this iconic position within the bar industry.”

Bailey will work alongside Andrea di Chiara, acting bar manager.

Franck Arnold, managing director of The Savoy, added: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Chelsie to The Savoy and know that she and Andrea will make a formidable duo leading the bar.

“They share a genuine passion for hospitality, a creative spirit and superb attention to detail. But more than this, they are talented, inclusive leaders who will inspire and motivate their American Bar team. We look forward with them to an exciting new period in the bar’s history.”

The American Bar reopened in October last year, and recently celebrated its ‘unique past’ with a new cocktail menu, led by Anna Sebastian.

The Savoy has experienced a number of changes to its team in recent years. In July 2020, Declan McGurk, director of bars, and Maxim Schulte, head bartender for The American Bar, left the company.

At the time, Schulte said he “could not align his vision and goals with the future structure and plans of The Savoy” after the hotel’s staff redundancies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Schulte previously ran London’s Kol Mezcaleria and is working on producing new plant-based drinks under The Herball brand. McGurk joined The Boatyard Distillery in 2020.

Elon Soddu also left his role as head mixologist at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar last year to open his own venue.

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