No matter the time of year, you can never go wrong with a bottle of vino and a huge platter of meat and cheese. But London’s wine bars really come into their own as the winter nights set in, providing cosy, candlelit shelter from the rain outside.
Whether it’s a winter date night or a pre-Christmas meet up with your wine-loving pals, here’s our pick of the best wine bars in London.
16 London Wine Bars To Book
The 10 Cases
Covent Garden’s The 10 Cases brings a wine focused bistrot experience to central London. The key draw here is the fact that they limit themselves to just 10 cases of white, of red, of sparkling, rosé and sweet wines. No wine has been on the list twice and there are just 10 tables.
The accompanying food is to a remarkably high quality, making this a memorable stop-off on any wine bar crawl, while remaining affordable and, by and large, unpretentious.
Where: 16 Endell St, Covent Garden WC2H 9BD
For those on the south side of the river, Peckham Cellars is a must-visit for a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere and an impressive wine selection. The knowledgeable staff are always ready to guide you through the extensive offering, with an emphasis on natural wines.
Complement your drink of choice with simple, seasonal dishes from the menu for a perfect evening.
Where: 125 Queen’s Rd, London SE15 2ND
Diogones The Dog
Diogones The Dog at first stands out for its name, paying homage to the Greek philosopher’s inquisitive spirit, and reflecting the bar’s commitment to offering unique grape varieties and wine styles. From Poland to Texas, they explore unusual regions, making it a paradise for the adventurous.
What makes this place even more inviting is its relaxed ambience and approachable staff – a rare gem for undiscovered wines and an easygoing atmosphere.
Where: 96 Rodney Rd, London SE17 1BG
In the heart of Coal Drops Yard, cosy wine bar, The Drop, is making waves under the Hart brothers’ expertise. Known for their restaurant successes across the capital (think Barrafina and El Pastor) their hidden gem of a bar offers an unpretentious haven for wine lovers.
The venue is nestled under Victorian arches, and has the air of a French wine cellar, with bare brick walls and rows of wine bottles on display. The menu boasts a selection of unique, low-intervention wines for enjoying a glass or carafe of something entirely new.
Where: Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DH
This late-night spot in Bloomsbury and Soho is a “shrine to the vine”, so they say, as well as an award-winning restaurant. The kitchen oversees an à la carte menu of fine ‘Franglais’ cooking in the restaurant, and small dishes in the bar, including a cheese plate made up of Cantal Laguiole, Camembert de Normandie AOP and Regalis, as well as nibbles like Salame della Rossa; smoked mackerel pate and sourdough toast; and octopus, chorizo and aioli.
Never ones for snobbery, the wine list is inclusive and inspiring enough to expand your horizons – from undervalued wines by the glass to rare bottles from great estates.
Where: Bloomsbury / Soho
They know a thing or two about wine, the Italians, after all they’ve been making it since the time of the romans.
And thanks to BOTTLES (all caps, not a typo), there’s a place to get your taste buds around some Italian flavours from the wine bar’s extensive collection, specialising in sustainable, independent, organic and bio-dynamic producers in the country.
Specialising in sustainable, independent producers.
Where: Old Spitalfields Market, 67 Brushfield Street, E1 6AA
We’re huge fans of Gordon’s Wine Bar. The city’s oldest, serving Londoners since 1890, there’s a certain historic charm about this place that can’t be beaten.
Candlelit, low-ceilinged and totally romantic, they offer hearty cheese boards, charcuterie and vegetarian and vegan options to complement their extensive selection of wines from around the world. Most are sold by the glass, all are available by the bottle, and prices are incredibly good value. Just make sure to arrive early – they don’t take bookings and the queue can get busy at peak hours.
London's oldest wine bar.
Where: 47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE
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After humble beginnings, Humble Grape now boasts wine bars in Fleet Street, Battersea, Canary Wharf and Islington with a winning laid-back vibe (except in Fleet Street, where things are slightly bigger and slicker), encouraging you to experiment by the glass, bottle or carafe.
The wines can be paired with small plates and there’s always a wine tasting on, giving guests the chance to learn from the pros.
Where: Multiple Locations
With three sipping spots across East London, Sager + Wilde is of course, one of the city’s coolest spots to hang out. You’ll be in for a treat as you’re presented with a wine you’ve probably never heard of – but put your trust the knowledgeable staff and you can’t go wrong.
To go alongside, there’s quite the long snack menu including cheese and charcuterie plates with cornichons and fig jam. If you’re feeling particularly ravenous after you’ve had one too many Sauvignon Blancs, there’s even hearty toasties on offer to soak it all up.
Where: 193 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL
One way to let people know you’re the place to go for cheese and wine is by having it in your name. Champagne + Fromage does what it says on the tin. With bistros in Brixton, Covent Garden, Greenwich and Borough, the fromagerie sells more than 50 French cheeses from Comte and Brie to baked Camembert which you can have with honey and rosemary, black truffle, figs and thyme or pesto and sundried tomato.
When it comes to drinks they have a vast selection of award-winning grower Champagnes, which you can buy to take home or sit down with a glass alongside their cheese afternoon tea.
Where: Covent Garden / Brixton / Greenwich / Borough
An evening at a wine bar owned by Idris Elba? Um, yes please – where do we sign up? Aside from the fact the place was founded by the Luther star, the intimate space is inspired by the wine bars of continental Europe, and its seemingly endless selection of hand-picked wines is pretty impressive – including the critically acclaimed Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru vintage Champagne which was a joint venture between Idris and wine connoisseur David Farber.
The cosy bar also plays host to an accompanying list of sharing plates, including mushroom arancini with sundried tomato pesto, cheese boards and charcuterie plates.
Where: Gasholder 10, unit A, London N1C 4BY
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It wouldn’t be Vagabond without their super-fun wine machines – allowing you to taste over 100 wines by the glass. Handy tasting notes guide your selection, so grab a Vagabond card from the bar and go on a wine tasting adventure.
The menu also boasts a host of delicious dishes like rosemary-brushed Lebanese flatbread, padron peppers and of course, cheese sharing platters including Coastal West Country cheddar, Fourme d’Ambert creamy French blue, Somerset Brie, Rosary British Goats cheese and French Raclette. The perfect pairing for a glass of wine – or five.
Where: Multiple Locations
Located at the heart of London’s historic Leadenhall Market, this independent, specialty cheesemongers is the ultimate spot to sit back and savour the beauty of great cheese, alongside some incredible wines.
They also host a range of wine and cheese tastings starting at £90 for two people.
The place to go for cheese and wine in a gorgeous, historic setting.
Where: 4-5 Leadenhall Market, London EC3V 1LR
Public toilets, cheeseboards and charcuterie should never go together. Except, that is, when you’re in Bloomsbury and the public toilet is WC Wine and Charcuterie, in which case we’ll make an exception.
The former underground loo block has been converted into a wine and charcuterie joint, and once you’ve gotten your head around the fact this was a loo for a century before they started serving brie, it’s a delight. The wine list is decent while the cheeses served with sourdough are a selection from the UK and Europe.
A former underground loo block.
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Where: Former Public Convenience, Guilford Pl, London WC1N 1EA
116 Pall Mall Champagne Bar By Searcys
116 Pall Mall’s cosy underground bar is the stuff of sparkling wine lovers’ dreams. Guided by champagne aficionados Searcys, guests are invited to try an array of fizz, alongside creative cocktails, British bar bites and a roster of events.
Enter through the original iron gate doors to the converted cellar with vaulted ceilings, exposed brickwork, plush navy-blue seating, and long wood-topped bar. Then choose from a selection of Brut, Demi-Sec and Rosé, alongside the biggest list of magnums in London from the likes of Moët et Chandon, Drappier, and Dom Pérignon, before deciding on the menu which includes pots and pâtés, signature plates and the all-important Artisan British cheese platter.
WHERE: 116 PALL MALL, ST. JAMES’S, LONDON SW1Y 5ED