In the chic streets of London, where elegance meets innovation, there’s a martini revolution brewing. It’s a celebration, not just of spirits, but of history, artistry, and a touch of the James Bond mystique.
“Shaken, not stirred” is how Ian Fleming’s Secret Service agent James Bond prefers his martini cocktail, and in fact invented the Vesper Martini in the first book Casino Royale.
As we raise our glasses high in honour of James Bond Day, we invite you to embark on a martini journey through London’s most sophisticated bars, where each sip is a masterpiece and every glass tells a story.
In the heart of The Dorchester, Vesper Bar stands as a testament to timeless sophistication having re-launched early this year following a complete transformation. Named after the iconic Vesper Martini, this bar is steeped in Bond lore. Here, award-winning bartenders, headed-up by Lucia Montanelli, craft classic concoctions and experimental elixirs inspired by the iconic hotel’s history. Aside from their perfect Vesper Martini, there is a 007 inspired whisky based cocktail Licence to Chill which comes with a ‘bullet’ frozen within the ice cube. The Bessie Mae cocktail with playful ‘bath bubbles’ nods to The Dorchester’s connections with screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, who, legend has it, signed her $1 million Cleopatra contract in the bathtub of the Harlequin Penthouse. The bar’s new design, adorned with Cecil Beaton pieces, pays homage to an era of glamour, making Vesper Bar the ultimate destination for martini aficionados and Bond enthusiasts alike.
Address: 53 Park Ln, London W1K 1QA
Another Mayfair favourite is The Connaught’s famed cocktail institution, run by industry legend and master mixologist Agostino Perrone. Designed by David Collins Studio, this bar exudes a cool, inviting energy with textured walls and a picture perfect grey bar. Conversations over candlelit tables. Here, mixologists curate both new and classic cocktails, inviting you to experience the art of a perfect martini. The Martini Trolley adds a touch of ceremony, allowing you to customize your martini experience, be it dirty, with a twist, or subtly infused with flavour. Voted no.8 best bar in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022, The Connaught Bar promises an evening of refined indulgence.
Address: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
Arguably best known spot in London for a martini, DUKES Bar offers the full experience. Frequented by Ian Fleming, it’s rumoured to be the birthplace of the iconic ‘shaken, not stirred’ phrase. Here, in the intimate, timeless ambiance, world-class bartenders create personalised cocktails, making each moment unforgettable. After your martini rendezvous, retire to the Drawing Room or the Cognac and Cigar Garden, adding finesse to your perfect Mayfair evening.
Address: 35 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NY
The American Bar at The Savoy stands as a testament to cocktail history. Since 1893, it has been a sanctuary for legendary bartenders and famous faces. Today, it continues to innovate, blending classics with contemporary creations. The Savoy: American Bar Journal, curated by Head Bartender Chelsie Bailey, commemorates bartending’s past, present, and future. It’s a celebration of liquid art, where every cocktail is a tribute to the rich heritage of The Savoy. When venturing to the bar make sure you ask for the signature dry martini.
Address: Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
At BAR45, located in the artistic enclave of 45 Park Lane, a new martini style has hit the menu. Inspired by masterpieces adorning the hotel’s walls, the new cocktail menu is a sensory art journey with the special martini inspired by artist Yayoi Kusuma. The menu also features culinary creations by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, adding a delectable dimension to your martini experience.
Address: 45 Park Ln, London W1K 1PN