When most of us hear the phrase ‘British pub,’ we think of casks of beer (not necessarily cold), jacket potatoes and football on the telly. If these are the requirements for a British watering hole, Sonesta Hotel’s pub Speke’s Bar fails on all counts. That being said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to like about this quaint hotel bar.

Beyond the Sonesta’s lobby sits the tiny bar that is decidedly not British, despite the hotel’s attempt to market it as such. A handful of tables are set in corners of the pub with high-backed green armchairs. Puckered leather insets on the wall match the furniture and complement the rich tones of the bar and give Speke’s a cosy atmosphere.

The intimate pub is manned by only one bartender, so expect that your drinks may take a few minutes as he prepares another order or brings dinner to a table. Long wait aside, the service is friendly and accommodating. At the time of this review, Speke’s did not have its own dining menu; but food can be ordered from any of the nearby Sonesta restaurants. This makes Speke’s Bar a great choice for groups that can’t decide between sushi and Lebanese fare.

The beverage list at Speke’s Bar is long and mostly well-priced. Although only local beer is available and approaches 30LE a bottle, a surprisingly large selection of imported liquors includes sake (27.50LE a shot), but unfortunately the bar does not stock Pimm’s, a British staple. Local wines are available by the glass or bottle and a selection of imported wines are sold by the bottle for those willing to pay up. Priced at 45LE, the list of cocktails includes bloody Mary, whiskey sour, mojitos and more.

Though slightly over-shaken, a dry martini is prepared with Finlandia Vodka and extra dry vermouth. If you like a dirty martini, this isn’t your bar; the olives have been drained of their brine, but our requests for extra olives was happily accommodated. Although it’s not on the drinks list, the bar staff will happily make you an Irish coffee, which is served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream atop the mixture of strong filter brew and imported whiskey.

To our surprise, drinks at Speke’s Bar are served alongside a bowl of roasted peanuts as well as a tray of mixed finger food, which includes marinated black and green olives, pungent white cheese, a creamy though slightly fibrous spinach dip, and spicy crostini to hold the dips.

Although none of the snacks were anything special, they are included with the order of a couple cocktails at the bar, which makes Speke’s Bar a great choice for cocktails and snacks in Nasr City.