It’s 6 p.m. It has been dark outside since 4. Inside, OCCO’s bar is illuminated by the brass lamp above it. The bustle of voices is accompanied by the clinking clatter of glasses. It’s Finger Food Friday at The Dylan and people are abundant.

Charlotte Wierdsma is Sales Manager and has been working for The Dylan for almost 8 years. Seated at the barstool next to me, she orders a Cosmopolitan – “I can’t help it, it’s my favorite” – while happily introducing me to the concept and the personnel. “We’ve come up with this to let people, other than our hotel guests, get acquainted with our bar and our cuisine. Our sommelier – selecting the finest Bar Brasserie style wines – and our amazing cocktail expert ensure something really special is offered to our guests.”

Kjersti, the Norwegian cocktail expert formerly employed by the Ivy in London, asks me whether I am a Martini-kind of girl. Yes ma’am. Seconds later I am sipping from a pure, smooth, soft gin. A great but reckless start on an empty stomach. Not even three sips into my cocktail, a waiter approaches offering steamy prawns with fennel seed and coriander.

And it is not the last I see of him. Throughout the evening, I am offered a selection of dinner bites on the house that completely offset every bite or pre-dinner snack I’ve known – and I’ve had my share –  on a Friday. To list a few: scallops with fermented grapes and sheep cheese, a pearl of gin, fleur de lys and oyster that dissolves in your mouth, and bruschetta with rich Iberico ham. Delicious, welcoming and festive – Time flies and it’s seven thirty already.

Fellow guests move over to OCCO’s brasserie tables to prolong their Friday-feeling, I have other dinner plans and disappear, a little regretful, into the dark, thinking how there will always be Fridays where I’ll happily fight my way across a crowded bar balancing 6 beers above my head. But it’s nice to know that for the other Fridays, there’s a bar stool, a stiff drink and some exquisite bites waiting for me at OCCO.

Follow us to know when the next Finger Food Friday is planned.

Reservations at OCCO