Martinez in Soho: The new members’ bar where forgotten classics are given new life
Though you might not have heard of the martinez – we certainly hadn’t – the taste of the signature cocktail after which Soho’s newest members bar is named might be more familiar than you expect. This lesser-known concoction was actually the precursor to 007’s infamous drink of choice, the martini, but though the venue on Greek Street is as suave as Bond himself, it isn’t quite so stuck in its ways: here classics are shaken and stirred, giving rise to a delectable list of forgotten favourites and intriguingly twisted tipples.
The room itself is an airy loft-style space decked out with artwork by Madrid-based painter Tomás Balentza. His work has previously been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, but here it looks at home amongst the mid-century and art deco design features, timeless yet traditional. The central feature is a theatrically lit bar, and a DJ in the corner provides a nice backing track that has the bartenders dancing as they work.
We are treated to a selection of cocktails overseen by acclaimed mixologist Dré Masso in collaboration with The Cocktail Lovers’ Gary Sharpen and Sandrae Lawrence. We start with a Champagne Juliette – Veuve Clicquot paired with St Germain, vanilla, lemon and fresh mint, and then move swiftly onto a tart Charlie Chaplin, a definite highlight combining apricot, sloe gin and lime. The Toreador gives similar sweet and sour notes, this time through a blend of Ocho Blanco tequila, peach, lime and bitters, while the Fish House Punch is a much lighter affair, fruity with peach and orange but layered with tea, Courvoisier Cognac and El Dorado eight-year-old rum, served up in a tiki glass with soda.
Italiano Sour is another standout choice, a tempting, textured mix of Montenegro, Galiano, Disaronno, vanilla, lemon, bitters and egg whites. The Nuclear Daquiri marries Wray & Nephew rum with lime, green chartreuse and falernum before the martinez itself makes its entrance in three different evolutions: the original with Old Duff Genever, a woody glass that’s perfect for whisky lovers; Old Tom Gin for the sweet-toothed; and Ford’s London Dry for a more local take.
There is also a modest yet mouth-watering food selection available courtesy of Michelin-star chef Hervé Deville, including small plates such as Martinez Croque, a meat medley and a trio of mini homemade desserts. The staff are experts on the menu, and those who become a member can expect to receive a one-one one drinks orientation, in which they can discuss their own personal preferences in order to curate a journey tailored to their changing tastes. If you’re looking to rejoin the bar scene without the queues and the crowds, Martinez is a safe option. It’s buzzy but not too busy, and offers an exclusive drinks experience that will resurrect unfamiliar classics and yield new discoveries on every visit.
Photos: Azhul Mohamed
For futher information or to become a member of Martinez, 49 Greek Street London W1D 4EG, visit their website here.