13th Oct 2012 5:21pm | By Helen Elfer
Having a drink in Duke’s is like being in the living room of extremely loaded family friends that you don’t know very well.
The scene There’s dark oak panelling, expensive looking fireplaces and imposing portraits of His Highness God-knows-who everywhere.
Drinks trolleys look as though they’ve been wheeled over the same carpet for generations.
Men in extremely expensive suits outnumber ladies about 10 to one.
The point of all this heavy-handed, old-fashioned Englishness?
Well, Ian Fleming used to be a regular, and the bar is said to have inspired the legendary Bond bar specification: ‘Shaken not stirred.’
The grub It’s all about the nibbles. New dishes of bright green Sorrentino olives arrive as fast as you can eat them, along with bowls of crackers and nuts.
Behind the bar You’d be crazy not give their martinis a go.
The bartender will talk you through the whole mixing process, with the lemon zest from the Amalfi Coast, the freezing cold Potocki vodka, and the dry vermouth brewed exclusively for Duke’s in Highgate.
The end result is a real world-class tipple.
If martinis aren’t your thing, try the other Bond-themed cocktails, such as the Vesper or the Moneypenny.
Bill please Cocktails start from £16.95; spirits from £8; glasses of wine from £6.75; pint of beer from £6.50.
Verdict Brilliant London experience with superbly tasty (if pricey) drinks.
Dukes Hotel, 35-36 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY
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