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THE SCENE: This basement bar in Mayfair is a rare thing in London: a stylish spot that also manages to feel relaxed.

It’s perfectly suited to a catch-up session with mates, thanks to (a) a long, imaginative and affordable cocktail list, and (b) an unintrusive soundtrack that eliminates the necessity of yelling in a friend’s ear until you’re hoarse and they’re deaf.

We also dig the schizophrenic decor, which takes in exposed brick, factory pillars, sparkly disco tiling, and a green-leather-padded tunnel. Staff are aspirationally skinny/ beautiful, but not snooty.

THE GRUB: A good selection of snacks, from calamari and fried gyoza to chilli mushrooms. Prices start at £3.50 and go up to about £6.25.
BEHIND THE BAR: The martinis range from standard to out-there: cardamom and pineapple is subtly strange, and the breakfast martini contains homemade marmalade. Dirty’s signature cocktails are also adventurous; we like the orange and chilli sours with bourbon, egg white, marmalade (again) and a throat-tickling red chilli on top.

BILL PLEASE: The martinis are all £8; cocktails climb no higher than £9. Two-for-one happy hour on martinis between 4pm and 10pm Monday to Thursday means you can work your way steadily through the list.

VERDICT: Perfect for a long night with friends you haven’t seen in ages. Laura chubb

10C Hanover Square, W1S 1JH 
Tube: Oxford Circus


Dirty Martini, Hanover Square - bar review
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