Monday, July 09, 2007

London BAR King - 'Dirty Martini'

Last time I sat down to write a piece on drinking in London it was 'Flaming April.' Perhaps that was the kiss of death as the venue I suggested was al fresco on a moored boat.
Now nearly three months on, after enough rain to have sunk the vessel in question, and in typical pessimistic fashion I have decided to write off this so called 'Summer' (all due of course to global warming and my larger than life carbon footprint!!!!!!!!!!)
A more apposite experience all things considered might be to therefore venture below 'sea' level in order to find liquid sustenance.

May I suggest then getting down to 'Dirty Martini' in Covent Garden, as I did last Thursday.
This idyllic intimate milieu is ideal if you want to avoid being seen (maybe its our caveman instincts), but sometimes you want to go out and circumvent the goldfish bowl experience aka that of a large, uncomfortably busy, ear-splitting, boisterous bar or pub.

'Dirty Martini' is in Russell Street, and although it is right in the centre of the tourist zone and literally only yards from the market itself, it is unexpectedly chic.
The lighting is cool. Being an underground retreat it is dim and moody with the odd splash of blue uplighting here and there.
The booths are lined with burgundy leather sofas and low stools and there are areas of bare brickwork in amongst mirror clad columns.
All this gives it a dark almost eerie effect, but at the same time it also helps generate a tranquil, serene, almost calming atmosphere.

Not surprisingly at 'Dirty Martini' the tipple of choice is the 'martini' itself, and boy oh boy do they know how to mix one.
Having been a cocktail bartender in a former life, a martini has minimal ingredients but is a 'bastard' to make..... WELL!

They have a 'happy four hours' from 5pm to 9pm and a first-rate martini in The West End for £3.95 is plenty good reason to get down and dirty!

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