The Bar at The Dorchester sets the standard for other five-star hotel lounges across the capital. Be prepared to flash some serious cash, though.
The Dorchester Hotel is immediately identifiable opposite Hyde Park on Park Lane by the fancy line-up of supercars that are always perched outside. Once inside the stunning hotel foyer, The Bar is easily found on the left-hand side offering a peaceful respite from the busy check-in area. Refurbished in recent years, it features round tables, mirrors, cosy alcoves, cushioned benches and high stools, with an on-trend black and aubergine colour scheme. It’s comfortable rather than overtly ostentatious, and you can make your mind up whether you want to go for a private corner or poseur’s paradise up at the bar.
The Bar at The Dorchester isn’t overly-fussy when it comes to the dress code, but gentlemen should be aware that they have to remove their hats. From the moment you arrive, staff will go out of their way to make you feel indulged and looked after, and the crowd consists of faces from the pages of glossy magazines, fragrant ladies who lunch, besuited businessmen, and lots of Middle Eastern visitors. The cocktail bar staff are well qualified, so be prepared for lots of information if you decide to ask them questions about anything on the menu. Despite the posh crowd and staff who take their cocktails a little too seriously, you’ll never feel anything other than welcome and comfortable here.
Apart from staff who occasionally arrive unannounced with plates of canapes for you to sample, there isn’t much offered in the way of food in The Bar. If you want to eat, the hotel has fantastic restaurants including China Tang and Alain Ducasse, and afternoon tea is served in The Promenade restaurant.
As mentioned, the bar staff take their cocktails very seriously here. They even have their own bottled gin (Dorchester Old Tom), which tastes noticeably sweeter than more familiar brand names, and an entire page of gin and tonic-based drinks to make the most of this investment. There’s also a whole page dedicated to alcohol-free ‘temperance’ cocktails, which are no doubt welcomed by some of the hotel’s Middle Eastern guests. Be sure to sample a classic Martinez, the forerunner to our modern martini, and get ready to flex that credit card. Cocktails are priced from £13 but average £16.
The Last Word
The prices might be hefty, but The Bar at The Dorchester is pretty much the last word in relaxed and comfortable upscale cocktail drinking.