An upside-down conical glass that triggers savoury thoughts. Neat liquor pouring into it to form the base. Add a dash of vermouth and some olive brine to spice things up. Finish it ups with some dirty green olives and you’ve got yourself a real treat of a drink. These seven unmissable places listed below are where to go if you’re looking to get the best dirty martini in London:
1. Connaught Bar
Calling them excellent is undermining the level of art the Connaught Bar achieves. Counted among the world’s best bars and the best bar in London, the Connaught Bar is pure heaven for cocktails. But the highlight, the aptly-named martini trolley, is a mobile theatre that brings you the solace you’re seeking on wheels. Choose a gin that matches your taste, or go blindfolded with their in-house option – ultimately, their flavours inspired by perfumeries are a real road to nirvana.
Whether you want to dive into vintage classics that never get old or sip on some more contemporary options, this beloved spot will not disappoint you. Head here for a date or with a group of mates and you’ve got yourself a real night to remember.
You’ll find the Connaught Bar at The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL. Nearest station is Bond Street.
The bar in London’s oldest restaurant – open since 1798 – is bound to draw attention. And if that wasn’t enough, Rules’ menu of dirty martinis surely calls out to all the fanatics. The bar is hidden upstairs as one of the capital’s ‘best-kept secrets’, and often hosts many known artists and celebrities as regulars.
Above all, this place has a face too; Brian Silva, the legendary bartender! He’s been mixing unbelievable martinis for many years at Rules and gives mixing classes to anyone who wants to learn the science. It draws crowds with its outstanding collection of cocktails curated by Brian and his talented team. The martinis here are carefully stirred, never shaken and carefully concocted, so they can truly fulfil your martini dreams!
You’ll find Rules at 34-35 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7LB. Nearest station is Covent Garden.
3. Dukes Bar
Allegedly, Ian Fleming penned the famous James Bond line “shaken, not stirred” at the Dukes Bar. No wonder this place is known to serve probably the best dirty martini in London.
The bar staff are spearheaded by the world-famous Alessandro Palazzi, who likes to break the rules when it comes to martinis. They craft the martinis at your table side on the trolley so you can watch your drink really come to life. Select from the chilled gin or vodka, which is then poured into frozen glasses doused with their in-house vermouth. If you’re really up for something different, go for the incredible vesper martini, which will have you coming back for more.
You will find Dukes Bar at Dukes London, 35 St. James’s Place, London, SW1A 1NY. Nearest station is Green Park.
4. Tayēr + Elementary
Counted among the top ten bars in the world, Tayēr + Elementary are two bars in one place. Tayēr, a cocktail bar through and through, and Elementary, a high-volume service bar. The highlight of Elementary is their ‘one sip martini’, a fresh take on the infamous dirty martini. This drink here has a massive olive stuffed with gorgonzola, the blue cheese, floating in a shot glass. Fused with vermouth di torino and fino sherry, it is a never-seen-before version of this classic martini served in three-sized glasses.
The ambience at Elementary is casual and more wallet-friendly than Tayēr, which is the more subdued or classier of the two and serves a changing and experimental menu crafted by guest bartenders. The place allows walk-ins only, so make sure you get in the queue early!
Served with house vodka and ambrato vermouth, the martinis are the talk of the town here. They always experiment – so this is the past, present and future of classic bartending.
You will find Tayēr + Elementary at 152 Old Sreet, London, EC1V 9BW. Nearest station is Old Street.
5. Swift Bar
Two bars under one roof. The one upstairs lively, the other slightly more relaxed. Either way, Swift pleases your taste buds no matter what you order. The place upstairs allows walk-ins only and lets you have a quick drink before you head out. The burrow in the basement is where the magical cocktails are created while you sit at ease.
The upstairs of Swift serves your dirty martinis in a classic Italian bartending way, and you’ll surely sway your glass to the piano music playing in the background. Their ‘Legends’ menu is also a must-try with cocktails inspired by celebrities like Aisha Tyler, Ernest Hemingway, Snoop Dogg, and Ian Fleming, among many others too.
You’ll find Swift at 12 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TQ and at 91-93 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3HZ. Nearest stations are Tottenham Court Road and Old Street.
6. The Bar with No Name
Who needs a name when you can be known for your martinis? This cosy spot serves one of the most delicious dirty martinis in the whole of town, and we’d really recommend going for the vodka version – it’s pretty much out of this world.
Counted among the best cocktail bars in London, 69 Colebrooke Row has been serving mind-blowing martinis for over a decade now. Their minimalistic approach to mixing is impressive, to say the least, and they’re all whipped up by expert mixologist, Tony Conigliaro. This nameless bar also holds masterclasses where they teach the art and science behind crafting such award-worthy cocktails.
They complete the experience with live music on Thursday and piano nights on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
You will find The Bar With No Name at 69 Colebrooke Row, London, N1 8AA. Nearest station is Angel.
7. Dirty Martini
A place named after the drink itself can never go wrong. Dirty Martini serves marvellous dirty and other martinis with their namesake ‘martini brunch’! Enjoy bottomless special edition martinis and incredible cocktails, all served alongside some mouthwatering grub too.
Come to Dirty Martini if you want to unwind after work, indulge in cocktails before hitting the clubs, or just hang out with your friends on a Saturday night – they’ve got some killer happy hours here too.
You will find Dirty Martini in various different locations across London. You can find out more here.
So there you have it, seven cocktail kingdoms that promise the best dirty Martini in London. We’ll see you at the bar!