Why is DUKES Bar such an iconic part of London?

Alessandro Palazzi, the bartender at DUKES Bar, LondonWhen you visit us at DUKES London, we aim to make sure you have a truly memorable experience. This differs for everyone and can be anything from the truly welcoming service from each and every member of staff right through to the food in our highly-coveted GBR restaurant.

But what so often connects every visitor’s experience is DUKES Bar, our world-famous bar that has been serving up tipples of all varieties for decades.

And importantly, given our position in the heart of Mayfair, DUKES Bar has become a firm favourite for many in the vicinity who aren’t staying with us overnight or dining with us at GBR, but who simply want a perfectly concocted drink in a wonderfully traditional, British setting.

In many ways, this summarises DUKES Bar to the tee. But conversely, it also doesn’t do it justice. DUKES Bar has become one of the destinations if you’re looking to sample an alcoholic beverage or two, so why has it developed such a pull?


Bars come and go in London all the time. It’s not uncommon to see a bar open in the summer and closed down by the following Christmas. If not before. For many, that’s the nature of the business – particularly in such a crowded, densely-populated part of the world, it truly can be a case of fight or flight.

DUKES Bar hasn’t been here for a couple of months. It hasn’t been here for a couple of years. It’s not even been here for a couple of decades. DUKES Hotel was first opened in 1908 and DUKES Bar has been the popular watering hole it is today since the 1950s, itself having really started to establish itself many years earlier.

How DUKES Bar has been able to stand the test of time for so long is actually quite simple – nothing has really changed. People always want great quality drinks, served by staff who genuinely know their spirits inside and out, and love great service. Six decades ago you’ll have entered the bar, sat at a table and a member of the bar staff would have taken your order at the comfort of your table – and that’s exactly the case today.

Globally renowned

Of course, such longevity and levels of service haven’t gone unnoticed and over the years the bar has received acclaim from patrons from right around the world.

For example, the New York Times once said the bar “concocts one of the world’s best Martinis”, whilst Huffington Post captured the setting perfectly by saying “one of the first things that catches the eye in Dukes is the very intimate and traditional British ambience”. Head over to TripAdvisor and you’ll see reviews from guests who’ve visited from as far away as California and Australia.

And when you do read through the reviews, you’ll see one thing mentioned so frequently – our martinis.

Legendary martinis

We aim to cater for all tastes at DUKES Bar, but we can’t deny that martinis are our signature drink. Having been the choice for many guests since the very early days of the bar, our current bartender, Alessandro Palazzi, has over three decades worth of experience in the industry and regularly concocts an array of new martinis – and other cocktails, should his creativity send him in the direction – for our guests to choose from.

For some, attributing the martinis to why DUKES Bar is such an iconic part of London may seem a little trivial, but it’s a genuine reality – we really are proud that our martinis have regularly been called some of the best in the world.

The atmosphere

Some people come to DUKES Bar for a drink before they head out into the city. Others come for a drink after leaving work. Some come to sit and while the hours away alone, whilst others come to spend hours chatting with loved ones over cocktails.

But they all come for the atmosphere.

It’s traditional. It’s respectful. It’s got a buzz that’s difficult to recreate in somewhere new. The entire feel of the bar is welcoming and enticing; it makes you want to sit and stay.

Something new is always welcomed and it’s definitely what you’ll be able to find in London, but we’re undoubtedly proud of the traditional, much loved atmosphere you can sample at DUKES.

Join us at DUKES Bar

Open from 2pm to 11pm Monday through to Saturday (4pm to 10.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays), we really do welcome one and all to DUKES Bar to soak up the atmosphere. With a smart/casual dress code and an enticing atmosphere, we’re sure you’ll enjoy a drink (or two!) and find out just why the bar has become such an iconic, London institution.