In our column, A Seat At The Bar, we showcase the world’s best bars – from plush cocktail spots to dive bars, and everything in between. This month, we’re spotlighting Vesper Bar at The Dorchester.
Expectations were sky-high for the renovation of what is undoubtably one of London’s most glamorous hotels. After much anticipation, The Dorchester has unveiled its magnificent new ground floor, including two dazzling bars; Artists’ Bar and Vesper Bar. Taking the former spot held by The Bar at The Dorchester, the new Vesper Bar takes inspiration from the hotel’s notable connection with James Bond writer, Ian Flemming. Having stayed and dined at the hotel on multiple occasions, one can presume that Flemming also enjoyed a few martinis to keep the creative juices flowing.
Long-time Dorchester fans will not be disappointed. This historic honeypot for both the artistic and aristocratic has retained its unique magic and wears it with an irresistible glitter.
There are certain places that always make you feel like a star. Perhaps it’s the flattering low-glow of the coral pink lamps that make everyone look immaculate, but before even ordering a drink at Vesper Bar you feel as though you’ve just walked off stage at The Oscars.
The comfortably plush 1930s-inspired interiors are the work of Martin Brudnizki (the man responsible for the look of Annabel’s and The Ivy, among others). Emerald green and deep blue curves invite you to melt into an armchair as you sip your perfectly chilled martini. It feels equal parts elegant and snug, as though you’ve stepped onboard the sitting room of an elegant yacht (one we guarantee you won’t want to get off). The music is sexy and sophisticated – be prepared to hit Shazam at least once – and whether you are there with a lover or enjoying cocktails with a friend there is an inescapable feeling of romance.
What To Order
For the martini curious or those who fancy themselves as Bond, the Vesper martini is the obvious choice. Made with Stolichnaya Elit vodka and The Dorchester’s own Old Tom gin, it is the shining star of the cocktail menu and mixed to impeccably lethal perfection. For those who like their martini exactly the way they like it, the team at The Dorchester are at your command, and it is worth highlighting too that The Vesper bar offer an extensive range of champagnes, many available by the glass. Bar snacks are a must and the balance between fresh versus crispy-morish is spot on.
Lobster arrives still tasting of the sea, encased in a featherlight crisp tempura batter, while plump tempura shrimp sit high and proud, balanced on a crown of chopsticks. Even the crudités will have you wishing for more as you dip each perfectly chilled garden vegetable into exquisitely silky tarragon mayonnaise.
Who To Bring
Someone you want to surprise or make feel special. It could be a hot new date or a best girl-friend. The overriding feel at The Vesper Bar is a sense of seductive fun, so be sure to bring someone you can laugh with and who’ll happily order a second portion of shrimp tempura with you.
When To Go
Open to both hotel guests and those looking for the perfect spot for aperitivo hour, Vesper Bar is open from 4PM until 1AM. Go on a Wednesday early evening for a mid-week boost of indulgence and charm.
The Dress Code
While there’s no written rule book on what to wear to The Dorchester, the hotel applauds elegance and style. Take the opportunity to dust off your best stilettos and don’t be afraid to go full sparkle on the accessories.