A tidy list of delicious cocktails in a cool, luxurious setting, Dirty Martini is a tucked-away bar that’s worth seeking out.
Tucked right in the corner of Hanover Square, just a short walk from Oxford Circus Tube, the latest Dirty Martini (the original one is is Covent Garden) looks exclusive even from the outside. Walk down the staircase into a basement-level bar and you’ll see sleek seating, green leather and lots of dark wood in a dimly lit setting. The bar is in the centre of the room, with lots of different styles of seating to each side. To the left are low stools and tables and, through the heavy velvet curtain at the back, a whole separate room with loads of space and its own bar, too – ideal for private parties. To the other end of the bar are more low stools and tables, with booth-style seating and two particularly cool areas; one large tunnel-like area, with funky lighting, green leather seating and tables in the centre and a second, smaller area almost bed-like, with enough seating to lie down (not recommended – even after one too many) and a small table in the centre. Although there’s plenty of space here, it’s easy to find yourself a secluded spot.
Dirty Martini is usually buzzing, and seems to draw in the crowds even on early weekdays. This probably has something to do with the happy hour that runs every day – 5-10pm Monday to Thursday, 5-8pm on Friday and Saturday, and all day on Sunday. A laid-back atmosphere helps people to relax, but the cool decor helps to maintain a feeling of style – you’ll feel better if you’ve dressed up a bit to come here. Smartly dressed staff are attentive, with the deal mainly being table service rather than ordering at the bar.
A succinct list of bar food includes olives (£3.50), calamari (£5.95) and fried chilli button mushrooms (£5.75), as well as charcuterie and deli boards from £14.95, and hot platters at £15.95.
As the name suggests, there’s a good list of martinis here, all priced at £8. The lychee martini is a refreshing drink, with gin, lychee liqueur and lychee juice, but for a real indulgence, try the chocolate martini – vanilla vodka, hazelnut liqueur and crème de cacao shaken with cream and cocoa. If martinis aren’t your thing, never fear – there’s plenty more to choose from, too. The passion royale (£9) is a mouthwatering blend of fresh passion fruit, passion fruit syrup and vanilla vodka, topped with prosecco. If you’re trying to watch the waistline, there’s even a list of skinny cocktails, priced at £9 each, including the skinny blackberry and tarragon martini – gin shaken with fresh blackberries, tarragon, apple juice and agave syrup – at just 110 calories, you don’t even need to feel guilty. You can buy a select number of spirits by the bottle, from £90 each, and beers are £3.95. And if wine’s your thing, glasses start at £4.75 and bottles at £16.25.
The Last Word
Well priced for the area with a good range of drinks and a secluded spot for everyone, Dirty Martini is as sleek as the drink it’s named after.