When it comes to a more sophisticated night on the town, you still can’t beat a good wine bar. And since it’s currently English Wine Week you’ve got the perfect excuse. Whether it’s for that long-awaited catch-up or for that first date you’ve been looking forward to, here are some of London’s finest vino destinations:
Sager + Wilde
What: The Cool One
Why: Sager + Wilde is Hoxton’s take on the wine bar. Moody interiors mean exposed brick galore, whilst the bottles are deservedly put centre stage behind the bar. The wine list changes daily depending on what they decide fit for the day but if you want a bit of stability, get the Cheddar toastie to soak up whatever it is you’re drinking. We’ll toast to that.
Where: 193 Hackney Road, Hoxton, E2 8JL
The Providores and Tapa Room
What: Expert-Level Wine Extravaganza
Why: If you’re a true wine lover (i.e. not just in it for the alcohol), you’ll thank us for introducing you to The Providores & Tapa Room (The Tapa Room in particular). With the largest and finest list of New Zealand wine anywhere in UK, you’re bound to find something you truly adore. We won’t even mention the excellent restaurant attached to it…
Where: 109 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 4RX
CVS Seven Dials
What: Date Night Destination
Why: Shorten Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and you get CVS Seven Dials. A wine bar and restaurant from the people behind Experimental Cocktail Club, visit for date-night-worthy interiors and over 400 bottles. The food is really very good too and if you really want to impress, try and guess the glass of mystery wine and get the bottle if you guess correctly.
Where: 8-10 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
What: Masterclasses With the Pros
Why: Humble Grape is going from strength to strength. After humble (sorry) beginnings, it now boasts wine bars in Battersea and Fleet Street, with one set to open in Islington this summer. The vibe is laid-back (Fleet Street is bigger and slicker), encouraging you to experiment by the glass, bottle or carafe, pair them with small plates or take part in a wine tasting event to learn from the pros.
Where: Battersea and Fleet Street
The Wine Parlour
What: Cosy Drinking Den
Why: Brixton is no stranger to a great bar but The Wine Parlour might just be its best wine bar yet – special mention goes to their glasses. Minimalist décor and fairy lights takes drinking wine back to basics, letting the superb vino shine through. And with only a handful of seats, the exclusivity factor is high. It’s a great spot for people watching.
Where: 1 & 3 Vining Street, Brixton, SW9 8QA
Gordon's Wine Bar
What: London's Oldest Wine Bar
Why: Wine bars are all about escapism and few can offer the magic of Gordon’s, London’s oldest wine bar. Carved into the cave-like cellars of an atmospheric Victorian mansion, the candlelit interior is full of character and the staff will generously slosh your glass right up to the top. If you can’t nab a seat in the cellar and/or fancy seeing more of your date than just shadows, there’s a gorgeous outdoor terrace overlooking the Thames too.
Where: 47 Villiers St, Embankment, WC2N 6NE
What: Central London Secret
Why: Contrary to popular belief, there is not one but two great wine bars by Charing Cross station. The second (and more often overlooked of the two) is Terroirs, a cosy spot to enjoy cheese, charcuterie and a great bottle. Glasses by the bottle are very reasonable, too – even mores considering its central London location. Book if you can, it gets cosy.
Where: 5 William IV Street, Charing Cross, WC2N 4DW
What: The Antidote
Why: Wine is a great remedy. Friends David and Renato thought so so much that they opened a wine bar and named it The Remedy. Visit for food, wine and coffee in relaxed surroundings, in the heart of Fitzrovia.
Where: 124 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 6PG
What: Noble Fine Liquor's Younger Brother
Why: The younger brother of Hackney’s Noble Fine Liquor, from the outside, p.franco doesn’t look like much – in fact it looks like a Cash2Carry shop. Once inside it’s less sleek wine bar and more drinking around your friend’s kitchen table – there is just one communal table with fifteen seats. They serve natural and biodynamic wines and a seasonal, concise menu of bar food. Keep an eye out for wine tastings and pairings too.
Where: 107 Lower Clapton Road, Lower Clapton, E5 0NP
What: Underground Wine
Why: The WC part of WC Clapham, doesn’t just refer to the fact that their home is a 100 year old former water closet under Clapham Common tube station it is also stands for wine and charcuterie as that is the order of the day. The wine list focuses on an ever -changing eclectic mix of Old and New World wines, which are chosen for their interesting characteristics, nothing mundane here. On the list at the moment you’ll find a Sauvignon Blanc from The Clark Estate in New Zealand and a Californian Pinot Noir from Moobuzz, Monterey.
Where: Clapham Common South Side, Clapham, SW4 7AA
What: The Extensive Wine List
Why: Embodying the spirit of Noble Rot magazine, the restaurant and wine bar of the same name, can be found in a town house on Lamb’s Conduit Street. Winner of the Wine List of the Year at the 2016 National Restaurant Awards and 2016 Harden’s London Restaurant Awards, Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar’s wine line is nothing if not extensive. They take a non-pretentious approach to wine, so whilst you’ll find a large Champagne section, they don’t look down at the likes of Chardonnay, which has a rival amount.
Where: 51 Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3NB
What: Staff Approved
Why: Founded by chef Magnus Reid (founder of CREAM), Legs opened back in May 2016 and is named after the Gibbs-Marangoni Effect, where the droplets (or legs) that form on the inside of the wine glass, indicate the alcohol or sugar content, based on the speed that they drop to the bottom. The wine list focuses on small producers, who produce wine that represents the terroir, they keep it simple – as their website claim, it’s the wine that the staff would drink and that’s more than OK by us.
Where: 120 Morning Lane, Hackney, E9 6LH
68 and Boston
What: Date night
Why: 68 and Boston is a wine bar and cocktail lounge, with 68 being the wine bar on the ground floor. Open Monday to Saturday, for when you just need to take the edge off a busy Monday, the wine list features 25 bottles at £20, a few at £30, 45 wines by the glass and a private cellar with a collection of fine wines – so something for everyone. We say add it to your date repertoire.
Where: 5 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4DD
What: The Technical One
Why: With five locations across London, Vagabond is a bit like a vending machine for wines. You get a card which you top up with credit and then you put the card in the machine and then can choose between trying samples (ideal if you’re indecisive) or choose larger glasses. Sounds like it could be gimmicky, but it’s not at all. They also have a wine club, where they send you different bottles each month.
Where: Various Across London
What: Not Strictly a Wine Bar...
Why: So Ormer isn’t strictly a wine bar, it’s Shaun Rankin’s Mayfair restaurant, so why have we included it? Because it has one of the largest collections of English wines in London and to celebrate English Wine Week Shaun has created a five course tasting menu which pairs dishes with top English wines. You’ll find roast rabbit with pancetta, gnocchi, girolles, peas and baby lettuce paired with 2014 Pinot Noir from the Gusborne Estate in Kent and an apple crumble with white chocolate, caramel and vanilla ice cream served with 2014 Ortega ‘Noble Harvest’ from Denbies Estate in Surrey.
Available Now – June 10th 2017
Where: Flemings Mayfair Hotel, 7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair, W1J 7BH