Dukes Bar, Dukes hotel, London
If you downed as many vodka martinis as Dukes has awards for mixing them, youd be out - permanently. The legendary, long-since retired Gilberto Preti, designed the perfect martini at this clubby old school bar, tucked away in a quiet corner of St.James. Mixed at your table, using iced glasses, with just tiniest splash of vermouth, and filled with Tanqueray, with a twist of lemon slipped gracefully below the surface. Jackets and staying power required. Martinis from £15.
Address: Dukes Hotel, St.Jamess Place, London, SW1A 1NY 0207 491 4840 dukeshotel.com
The Milk Thistle, Bristol
Just one year old, The Milk Thistle is already established as the west countrys premier cocktail speakeasy. With four floors of dark wood Gothic Victorian decor, with stained glass windows, heavy oak architraves, and lit with candles, it is slap bang in the city centre, a short stroll from the docks. The downstairs Parlour Bar, popular with an in-the-know crowd, oozes raffish elegance. Martins from £9.
Address: The Milk Thistle, Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, Bristol, BS1 1EB 0117 929 4429 milkthistlebristol.com
Peacock Alley, Edinburgh
Its all in the name. In the shadow of the castle this grand old hotel - recently rebranded a Waldorf Astoria following a £24 million refit - is the place to strut your stuff. Every Waldorf Astorias has had a Peacock Alley since the first one opened in New York, in 1931, and the latest doesnt disappoint. A grand, dressy, opulent stage for people who enjoy their cocktails - prepared at the table by a mixologist - as much as they enjoy being seen. Martinis £8.50.
Address: Peacock Alley, Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AB 0131 222 8888 waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
There is something intoxicating about the purple velvet and slate walls of this intimate first floor bar at night, one block back from the seafront, close to Brightons West Pier. By day, a happening restaurant and cafe downstairs, by night its a glitzy, and well dressed hang -out for the citys fashion folk. Martinis - including the signature drink Turkish Delightini, served with a slice of Turkish Delight - from £7.
Address: Koba, 135 Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2LA 01273 720059 kobauk.com
Manchester keeps getting hipper, and this modern bar that opened four years ago in a former textiles warehouse has played a big part and garnered numerous awards in the process. Just behind Salfords Lowry Hotel, it is down a narrow street, and still relatively unknown. The soundtrack is jazz funk and 80s soul, and the style minimalist. Martinis £7.
Address: Corridor, 6 Barlows Croft, Salford, M3 5DY 0161 832 6699 corridorbar.co.uk
If you're looking for some of the best in our capital, check out our top cocktail bars in London