What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold, baby. And that’s exactly what the martinis at Dukes are all about. That and the fact they contain five shots of gin. The old-school hotel bar in St James’s is world-renowned for its sucker-punch martini—this is Sir Ian Fleming’s former favoured drinking den after all—but they’re far from quantity over quality. Spirits and glasses are stored in the freezer and drinks are prepared tableside with a flourish. The small spot, with its carpets, dark blue armchairs, and paintings of nobility on the walls, can feel a little stuffy and old-fashioned but the smartly-dressed staff look after everyone to immediately put them at ease, with little touches like providing magazines to solo drinkers. This feels a bit like a place where time has stood still—especially after one or two of those martinis.
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