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New to Leeds: Dirty Martini

· Ali Turner · Food and Drink

There’s a new late-night cocktail bar in town – introducing Dirty Martini.

Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini has carved out a niche for itself in Atlas House and it’s going to tempt you in with one hell of a Happy Hour…

Ever heard of Tuttons? It’s one of the longest standing restaurants in central London, and it’s here that Dirty Martini’s story begins. You see, their Covent Garden restaurant had a basement bar and that basement bar was Dirty Martini. It was something of a hidden gem, a sophisticated drinking den where you could grab a cocktail before dinner or continue the night into the early hours – but it proved so popular that they couldn’t keep up with demand, and so they opened another, and another, and another.

Dirty Martini

The rest, as they say, is history. Except, it isn’t, because Dirty Martini is still expanding. They opened their first bar outside London earlier this year in Cardiff, and followed it with another in Manchester just last week. Now they’ve added Leeds to the list with a new bar on King Street, in the ever impressive Atlas House.

So what can you expect from the city’s newest cocktail bar? Well, they’ve been working around the clock to transform the venue from its previous incarnation as The Atlas Brauhaus into its new guise as Dirty Martini. Now it’s all glamour and sophistication – we’re talking luxurious booths, bespoke artwork and statement light fixtures, with a bar that’s decked out with all your favourite spirits.

It’s all about cocktails here, more specifically, martinis. They do 15 of ‘em as standard, as well as an exclusive White Rose Martini, which is made with a tantalising combination of Slingsby Gin, egg white, coconut water, rose water syrup, lemon juice and dandelion and burdock bitters, finished with a dried rose bud.

Dirty Martini

If that’s not your cup of tea, you can go for their traditional Dirty Martini, which promises Ketel One Vodka, Kalamata olives, fresh thyme and just a hint of Martini Extra Dry Vermouth. Prefer it with gin? No problem. But if you want to try something totally different, it has to be the Oranje Sherbet. “It’s one of our new premium martinis and it’s really nice and refreshing,” Jackie Ellis, Sales and Marketing Director at Dirty Martini told us. “It’s made with the new Ketel One Oranje Vodka, and we’re the only bar in the UK at the moment that has that, so you won’t be able to get it anywhere else.”

It’s not just martinis though. They’ve got 50 permanent cocktails in total and they’ll be opening with their Christmas cocktail menu in full swing, which means you can couple your Vespers and Mai Tais with festive tipples like the Dirty Grinch, a naughty little mix of Havana 3 Year rum, Briottet Créme de Cacao, Créme de Menthe, Butterscotch Schnapps and double cream, finished with dark chocolate pencils, fresh mint leaves and After Eights.

Of course, they’ve also got all your favourite tipples, from beer to wine, champagne and spirits. And they do food too. It’s not a restaurant, by any standard, this is nibbles to share – think small plates, platters and fries. There’s a little something for everyone, and veggies are particularly well catered for with all manner of tasty treats, like the crispy vegetable dumplings with sesame dipping sauce and the halloumi, vegetable and pesto kebabs with mint yogurt.

Dirty Martini

Credit: Michael Franke

If you’re not veggie though, Ellis has some insider tips for you. “I love the sliders, they’re really tasty, and the fried buttermilk chicken is delicious, it comes with an amazing Bloody Mary ketchup, which just gives it a bit of flavour.”

As for the atmosphere, it starts out quite chilled. You can come in with your mates and catch up over half price cocktails – that’s right, their Happy Hour is an absolute blinder. It runs from 4pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and all day Sunday – so you can get their famous martinis for just £4.50. And the later it gets, the livelier it gets. They have their own in-house DJs playing the latest house, chart hits and party classics, so you can take your after work drinks straight to the dance floor.

Dirty Martini, Atlas House, 31 King Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HL. Opening hours: 4pm-12am Monday to Wednesday, 3pm-1am Thursday, 12pm-3am Friday to Saturday and 2pm-12am Sunday.