Our Second Pop Up Martini Bar


Thank you to everyone who came to our martini pop up bar at the end of October.


We held it in ‘the Gallery’ on the Main Street of Tobermory, Isle of Mull.


At the end of the tourist season I hoped that it was a chance for locals to relax and try something different. It was also a bit of a send off for us and our staff, including our manageress Catriona who celebrated her 21st birthday on the night.


Unlike our pop up bar in July, the night was dark and it was too cold to be outside, so we went inside and set up the tables, switched on the heaters and lit all the candles, then hoped it would all work out.


We were only open for a short while: 17:00 to 20:00 with last orders at 19:30 to allow everyone to finish their last martini at a leisurely pace.


The week before we also held a Facebook competition. Whoever liked and shared the pop up bar announcement would enter a prize draw for a free martini and a martini-related gift.


We put together a large martini glass filled with champagne truffles from the Tobermory Chocolate Factory (you can order online here and they deliver anywhere in the world) and awarded it to one lucky winner who happened to be my former teacher.


I wasn’t as nervous as before the last pop up bar we did because I knew the concept worked in principle. I also had all my equipment lined up in order. However, it was darker and colder than during our summer event so I was worried that it wouldn’t be as comfortable or warm enough in our giant old church.


I also thought that because the tourist season was over, no-one would turn up.


However, in the end, the atmosphere was nice, it was warm enough, and the venue was full. I made dozens of martinis and was happy to see people enjoying themselves, especially after a long summer.


Our excellent chef also cooked up some amazing blini, which we served on platters with smoked salmon, sour cream, fish roe and miniature croque-monsieurs. Absolutely delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a cold martini.


So, all-in-all, a fun night. And now we’re ready for winter. Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to all our amazing colleagues who made it happen.

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Martini Music

Setting and atmosphere are very important when it comes to serving a martini. Lighting and company play a part, but so too does the accompanying soundtrack. It could be rain on the window or the roaring of a fire, it could be a live singer or even an orchestra. Ideally it should be quiet enough for you to hold a conversation with your partner or drinking buddies. It is also preferably soft and in the background. It should ideally be worthy of the quality of the drink, and not so fast-paced it might encourage you to gulp rather than sip.

Below you will find one or two suggestions covering some different styles. The aim is to be soft and sophisticated, to cushion your ears while your anaesthetise your brain. Please feel free to comment below if you have any suggestions yourself:

Some post-war exotica from Les Baxter.

Some South Asian chillout music from Christophe Goze.

From Matthew Dear, it’s not the most conventional martini music, but I like it’s slow, intense electronic buildup.

Some Nordic chillout music from Röyksopp.

A nice, warm relaxing number from Roxy Music.

Classical music can make a very good accompaniment to a martini. For this blog piece I’ve chosen Ravel’s Boléro because it builds slowly and softly into intensity. On the one hand it brings the warmth of the Iberian peninsula (it was an orchestral transcription of Albénitz’s piano suite Iberia) while on the other hand it is forever associated in my mind with the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics where British pair Torvill and Dean wowed the judges with their ice dancing performance: cold and smooth like a perfect martini.

However, when it comes to classic music bear in mind that much of it was written to be listened to intently, not simply played in the background. You might end up with the intensity of both the drink and the music competing with one another – see below for an example!

I am increasingly a fan of the opera and if you look above at the Polonaise from Tchaikovsky’s Onegin performed at the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow, you will see how magnificent it can be. But I think it’s too intense to accompany a martini. You might want one after all the spectacular drama though. Ah those Russians…

And last but certainly not least, here we go with one of the definitive musical icons associated with the martini. Smooth, sexy, sophisticated and with just a little hint of danger, here is Dean Martin singing Quien Sera (Sway). There is so much of his music that could be used for martini o’clock.