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Dukes Hotel

Critics' choice
St James's

If you want to go out for a single cocktail, strong and expensive and very well made, go to Dukes. You might assume that it’s exclusive because it’s in a luxury hotel, but you’d be wrong. At some bars you will be viewed as too old or too young, or too smart or too scruffy. Not at Dukes. Everyone – repeat, everyone – gets the warmest of welcomes. There are three small rooms, all decorated in discreetly opulent style; you don’t feel comfortable in these plush surroundings, you feel cocooned. The bar is justly famous for the theatre of its martini making – at the table, from a trolley, using vermouth made exclusively for them at the Sacred distillery in Highgate – but other drinks are just as good. Their Martinez (gin, sweet red vermouth, orange bitters and maraschino) is the finest cocktail we’ve had this year. Nibbles, including the best nuts in town, are replaced when finished. No string of superlatives can do justice to Dukes.


Venue name: Dukes Hotel
Address: 35 St James's Place
Opening hours: Open 2-11pm Mon-Sat; 4-10.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Green Park tube
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