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.
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.
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:
I 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.