Dry Martini at The Melia White House
Photography by Dry Martini
Words by Simon Difford on 28-Oct-2015
19 Albany Street, (lies off Meliá White House Hotel lobby), London, Greater London, NW1 3UP, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7391 3000
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Monday-Sunday 6pm-1am
Door: Open door
Style: Lounge bar
Recommended for: Child friendly, Cigars/smoking
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar snacks
Owned by: Javier de las Muelas
The original Dry Martini in Barcelona is something of a relic from a bygone era. It is a place where the eponymous Dry Martini is ritualistically made by bartenders in white jackets. So famous is this very classically styled cocktail bar that reproductions are appearing in cities around the world. This London incarnation, which opened in October 2015, is situated in the somewhat unlikely no-man's-land that lies north of the Euston Road, between Great Portland Street and Warren Street tube stations, within the bowels of the vast Meliá White House Hotel.
Given the bar's Barcelona origins and Meliá being a Spanish hotel chain, the location is perhaps understandable. Previously a pub, the space now occupied by this London outpost of Dry Martini is large, so large that part of the room has been given over to a glass walled preparation area housing vacuum packing machines, dehydrators and other science lab-like equipment essential to modern-day bartending.
The impressive long bar counter, a copy of the original in Barcelona, dominates the the room. Dark woods and a rainbow of stylish sofas - red, blue, and yellow - arranged across a chequerboard carpet complete the feel of a relaxed lounge. Like the original, a digital counter behind the bar registers how many Dry Martini cocktails have been ordered since the bar's opening and when we visited in late October 2015, this stood at 892. Well at least it did after we'd ordered two more.
Martin Siska and his slick team of bartenders stir the Martinis with the same inimitable style and touch of theatre as their colleagues in Barcelona, using equipment custom made for the bar. Fabulously tasty Spanish olives complete the drink with a tiny square ramekin provided for its stone.
Despite that name the cocktail offering here extends well beyond Martinis for a drink to suit all palates. I particularly liked the stirred down and boozy 'Nevermind' with Scotch, Ramazzotti, falernum and Green Chartreuse. Many of the drinks are made using the bars own range of 'Droplets' a range of highly aromatic non-alcohol bitters like flavourings. The name behind these, and indeed every detail which jointly comprise the exacting Dry Martini brand of bars, is Javier de las Muelas.