Photo: Kelley Wren

Photo: Kelley Wren

The classic Martini has been around since before the 1900s. That’s given bartenders plenty of time to perfect the original, as well as create brilliant variations. While some purists will only refer to a martini as a drink made of dry gin and dry vermouth with an olive for garnish; others claim it’s the glass that makes it a Martini.

We’re giving you a liberal pour of recommendations with our list of Martini bars. It wasn’t hard to compile the list, but it was hard picking our personal favorites. Here’s your guide from start to finish of where to get the best Martinis and when to go.

Where to start

South Ridge Seafood Grill – 500 South Main Street
Opening at 4 p.m. daily, South Ridge Seafood is the perfect spot to start your happy hour martinis tour. A mellow atmosphere with dim lighting and welcoming bartenders, beckons you. There’s no shortage of different cocktails on the menu.
What to Order
The Martini: Hendrix gin, a bit of dry vermouth with blue cheese stuffed olives
Taking the original and adding a bit of savory garnish.

Creative Cocktails
The French: vanilla vodka, Chambord (raspberry liqueur), pineapple juice with fresh lime.
This one is a very sweet, almost dessert-like cocktail. The ingredient combination creates a drink that tastes like a raspberry creamsicle.

The French

Photo: Kelley Wren

The Cosmo: Citron vodka, Cointreau (orange liqueur), cranberry juice with fresh lime.
The Cosmo is a staple in the Martini world because of its sweet, but refreshing flavors.

Next Stop

Twist – 200 South Ridge Street
Twist is another late opener at 4 p.m. daily. Don’t let the small bar deceive you, the bartenders know their mixology and better yet, their martinis.

What to Order
Dirty Martini: choice of vodka, olive juice, garnished with green olives.
This is the original of all Martinis and Twist has the perfect recipe.

Creative Cocktail
High West Manhattan: High West Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters and a “secret ingredient” all topped with Luxardo Maraschino Cherries (can be subbed out for Breckenridge Bourbon). The High West is a cocktail that’s never on the menu, but is always available. This one is definitely for the whiskey lover with just a hint of sweet.

Round Three

Modis – 113 South Main Street
A beautiful, two-level restaurant, Modis, invites you in for either a table or a social space at the bar. They have more whiskeys and bourbons that any other liquor, but they are able to slide in a few Martinis for you.

What to Order
Vesper: a mix of vodka, gin, Lillet Blanc, & lemon zest.
The original Bond martini: shaken not stirred.

The Creative Cocktail
PLD (Poor Life Decisions): vodka, jalapeno, basil, raspberry, Falernum (sweet syrup) and topped with St. Germain foam.
The PDL has a funny name, but a serious taste. With a sweet start you get hit with the spicy, burn afterwards that keeps you sipping.

Where to Finish

Pomegranite

Photo: Kelley Wren

Blue River Bistro – 305 North Main Street
This bistro not only offers live jazz, but also has two happy hours daily! Both of which will supply you with two for one martinis as well as appetizers. Best place to finish your tini tour because it has the most to choose from.

What to Order
Southside: Edinburgh gin, muddled mint & lime
Dry gin with the mix of refreshing mint and lime to end your sip on a high note.

Creative Cocktails
Elderflower-Pear: Absolut Pears, St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
Has an overall light taste,but pear is at the forefront.

Pomegranate: Skyy Vodka, pomegranate liqueur, grapefruit and topped with a sugared rim.
One of the best sellers at Blue River Bistro for its sweet, fruity flavors.

Peach &Pepper: peach infused tequila, Olive Fusion’s habanero simply syrup.
Starts out very peachy, but kicks you with the habanero when you think you’re safe!

Espresso: Van Gogh double espresso vodka, Kahlua, iced coffee; drop of Irish cream and a few espresso beans.
The Espresso is a great one to close the night because of the coffee flavor with just a bit of Irish cream to sweeten it up. And the espresso beans tossed in create a great crunch.

Other Martini bars to check out:

Relish – 137 South Main Street
Cecilia’s – 520 South Main Street
Apres – 30 South Main Street

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