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Adventures in Cocktails: Harry’s Bar in Venice

Harry’s Bar is famous for its dry martini, and speaking as an afficianado of dry martinis, this seemed the perfect destination for me that first night in the city. I had booked a weekend on the spur of the moment as a birthday treat for myself – one of my New Year’s resolutions had been to travel more, so I could write the whole thing off as virtuous self-expansion.

The bar itself is in a little alleyway, and it loomed suddenly out of the dark once I disembarked from the vaporetto, heading away from the Grand Canal.

Venice at sunset
It was growing dark as I approached, and though everything was beautiful and ornate and picturesquely decaying, it was also freezing, as an icy wind knifed in from the Adriatic. I was ready to go in and try a cocktail.

Martini Hour

The bar is pleasant and comfortable, though quite small, and the waiter friendly as I approached and ordered a dry martini. I must confess I was a little surprised when instead of mixing me one, he took what looked like a tumbler out of a chiller on the bar and set it in front of me (I thought, at first, that it was a complimentary glass of water) and then this was joined by a little dish of olives:
Harry's Bar VeniceI was a little disappointed, as for €20 I kind of want to see some of that that hot shaker action. But I must say, the martini itself was outstanding – deliciously dry, and the olives being on the side instead of in the glass gave it this pristine taste which I did really enjoy.

I meant to go back and try the house creation – the Bellini – another night, but never got round to it. It’s something that will have to wait until my next visit, which will hopefully be not too far in the future.


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