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Jan 27, 2009 10:03 AM

Best Martini in Manhattan--

Martinis come in lots of styles and sizes. The tradtional martini is primarily gin with whatever amount of vermouth you prefer. However, vodka martinis, usually sans vermouth, outsell gin martinis 8 to 1 according to a bartender friend. Who, in your opinion, makes the best tradtional gin/vodka martini (no foofy cosmos, pomegranate, melon, pineapple or other types please) in Manhattan? A few of my favorites...

Ben Benson's - ice cold and so big they are affectionately called "bird baths"

Bemelman's at the Carlyle - Beautifully presented in one of Manhattan's most elegant, old school rooms.

Cru- Mad Men meets the millenium at this sleek, yet tradtional bar that flanks the dining room.

Caviar Russe- Features vodka chilled to MINUS 20 degrees Farenheit in a settling that feels like a billionaire's midtown town house.

Any thoughts?

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  1. A year ago we had great martinis in the lounge area off the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental. Didn't hurt that they were so huge, it took about an hour to drink :) It's one something like the 45th floor and looks out on Central Park.

    That Caviar Russe sounds amazing. Back in NY in June. Maybe that will be our splurge.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Last time we were there we had cocktails at Washington Square Hotel's lounge and my martini was GREAT....and I am kind of a Dirty Martini FREAK...(even have one tattooed on me :)

      It was a small lounge, but cozy and the staff oh so nice, could have stayed there all night but had reservations at Babbo, which also serves a great Dirty Martini.

      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

        Did you have the liquid part of the martini tattoo tinted green? I am a dirty martini fan as well. Not tooo dirty though.. The Wash Square sounds great to me. Heard same about Babbo....went there once a couple of years ago, but don't remember specifics.

      1. Public has some very interesting martinis - one has rose petals in it. My favorite is the lemon basil.

        1. Temple Bar, or Essex House. I think both are on par with the Carlyle.

          1 Reply
          1. re: small h

            Oh yeah, I forgot about the Temple bar......have not been to Essex House, but the Oak Bar at the Plaza reopened a few months ago. What a great room.

          2. Hudson Hotel Library was the best single I can remember. That was years ago.
            Was vodka though which, in a sense, doesn't count.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dietndesire

              i had a good martini at Megu, a vodka martini( i hate gin), kettle one extra dry in and out, one olive ,, was nicely chilled . great looking bar, 8 million dollar setting