Earlier this year Dirty Martini opened its doors south of the river for the first time, adding a stylish new addition to Clapham High Street's trendy nightlife scene. Our first venture to this glitzy new SW4 opening involved us taking in a cocktail masterclass.
Overlooking the high street with its tall glass windows, this first floor venue dons an air of cocktail bar chic, accentuated by its wide open spaces, high ceilings, luxurious cream stools, glistening black tables and a sleek bar stretching the back wall. Sitting perfectly centred to the VIP area and weekend dance floor, the bar prominently showcases a host of spirits, champagnes and signature ingredients that make up its martini repertoire.
Atmosphere and Clientele
After settling in with a bellini, our group of five were taken to the bar and introduced to our mixologist for the evening. Professional and knowledgable from the word go, she talked us through the various cocktail utensils and gave a brief explanation of the martini's history. The interactivity of the class would be perfect for a hen do or birthday night with the girls, before retreating to one of the VIP areas for more late night revelry. Guests have the choice of settling close to the bar or nearer the dance floor; I'd definitely opt to be closer to the dance floor if you're looking to show off your martini-fuelled dance moves.
Never one to miss out on a cocktail masterclass, the notion of losing my martini virginity added to my excitement; no more was I going to watch James Bond and wonder what the fuss was about with the olive spiked drink.
Asked to choose two martinis each off the main menu, we all sat deeply immersed in the big decision ahead of us. Of course we had to try a classic martini - shaken and not stirred - which we chose to follow with the Strawberry and Pepper Martini. The first member of our group went behind the bar to concoct a mixture of homemade syrups, premium spirits and some intriguing ingredients. The cocktail was shaken and double strained (bartending lingo) into a chilled glass and garnished to perfection!
When it came to my turn, my love for sweet, savoury and spicy flavours meant I obviously chose the Mango and Chilli option, which quickly became a unanimous favourite of the evening. Each of us took turns behind the bar, while the others sipped at our custom-made works of art and nibbled at the deli platters accompanying our cocktail consumption.
Sleek and sophisticated, Dirty Martini has certainly put its stamp on the high street as a prime spot for drinking and chatting, before dancing the night away to an infectious mix of commercial, pop and party mash-up tunes.