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Shannon Tebay takes the top job at the American Bar

Published:  22 July, 2021

Shannon Tebay has been appointed as the head bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy, also taking on the role of senior mixologist at the hotel.

She is due to join from New York’s Death & Company in August in a move which will see her become the first female head bartender at the American Bar since Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman over a century ago.

She is also the first American to head up the bar. Famous former bartender Harry Craddock was long thought to have been from the United States, but recent scholarship revealed he was born in England.

The American Bar, which regularly tops the list of the best bars worldwide, is due to reopen in September under Tebay’s leadership following months of pandemic-enforced closure.

She joins from New York’s celebrated Death & Company, where she worked for seven years, rising to the role of head bartender.

“Becoming head bartender at the American Bar is not just the professional opportunity of a lifetime, it’s also an opportunity to continue building the bar’s legacy as a beacon of innovation and quality – in both the way we create our drinks and in how we deliver our service,” Tebay said.

“I hope to honour the historical significance of the American Bar and modernise bartending culture within the community at large, championing under-represented perspectives and re-evaluating best practices in order to maximise sustainability.”

A New Mexico native, Tebay began to apply her experience in the pastry arts at the French Culinary Institute to craft cocktails, incorporating various techniques and developing a long list of original drinks.

Franck Arnold, MD of The Savoy, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming Shannon to The Savoy. We admire her vision and her focus on teamwork. We’re looking forward to seeing her reopen the American Bar with a menu that will display her reverence for the bar’s history and showcase the creativity and talent of the team as a whole.”

The American Bar first opened in 1893 and is the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain. Craddock, author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, and Coleman are examples of the iconic bartenders who have passed through the bar’s history, helping it to become one of the world's best-ranked.