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Dr John Hawkins

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Martinis at Duke's Bar

Posted on 2011/09/21 05:16:43 (September 2011).

[Wednesday 14th September 2011]
I'd been wanting to go to the bar at Duke's Hotel for a while now, having read a bit about it, and gained the impression that it was a bit of a London institution - particularly famous for their martinis. As it's a fairly smart sort of a place, it also seemed like a good excuse to give my new suit a second outing.

I'd originally invited a few people along to join me, but for various reasons in the end it was just me and Al - so it was more of a quiet, civilised drink rather than a big group outing - but still very pleasant nonetheless. I tried two different martinis whilst I was there - I forget the name of the first, but the second was "Ian Fleming's Classic Vesper".

It made for an interesting experience - I'm not sure I'm exactly falling over myself to go back as soon as possible though. Duke's is probably an even more upmarket venue than Claridge's Bar, where I'd taken my suit on its first outing, but the atmosphere was perhaps a bit on the stuffy side - not quite the buzz that is present in Claridge's. Whilst waiting for a table in the lobby I heard somebody arrive and say "We're here to meet Lord Mountbatten (or some name like that)". I suspect Claridge's bar is more of a venue for "new money" whereas Duke's seems to be a genuine bona fide haunt of the actual artistocracy. Although, that said, I did also spot Simon Cowell here this evening.

After our martinis at Duke's we were both a bit peckish so decided to go and get something to eat. I suggested we go back to Cecconi's near Savile Row, which I'd really enjoyed on my previous visit with Chie. It was oddly ironic that we had drinks at a table in Duke's, but then ate dinner sitting at the bar in Cecconi's. I had a pasta dish (I don't remember the name of the pasta - sort of like a thin spaghetti but a bit different) with black truffles. It was frighteningly expensive for a bowl of pasta, but quite delicious.

Click here for some pictures Al took this evening.



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