The Best Wine Bars in London
From uber-exclusive members-only tastings to the bar that put natural, biodynamic wines on the map – we’ve undertaken the challenging task of finding the best wine bars in London. Cheers!
The Best Wine Bars in London
A new bar specialising in port wine has launched at St James’s Hotel & Club in Mayfair, 1857. Designed to celebrate the club’s rich history – with the name referring to the year it was established – 1857 is well-suited to port aficionados as well as newcomers to the drink. Choose from the widest variety of port found in any London bar, including rare and unusual wines, aged tawnies and vintage ports. There are also port cocktails and a selection of bar nibbles picked for their pairing qualities, such as stilton, foie gras, tuna belly and burrata. Non-port drinkers, meanwhile, will be catered for with spirits and classic cocktails.
He’s best known for his work on screen, but this autumn Idris Elba is turning his hand to hospitality. The actor has partnered with founder of Connaught Wine Cellars, David Farber, to launch a new wine cellar, bar and shop under the title Porte Noire – also the name of their established wine and champagne brand. Open now, the bar – located within King’s Cross – has been designed by boutique hospitality project agency Kanvass and features a 70-cover bar, as well as an outdoor space and dining room. Destined as a hotspot for city oenophiles, inside you’ll find 800 wine bins and what will be one the capital’s largest fine wine tasting rooms. From exceptional rare bottles to ‘wines on tap’, an extensive selection curated by Farber will be available to purchase and enjoy in-house.
Set to reignite the ambience of old school Soho is The Black Book, a new late-night wine bar taking over the former TRADE site on Frith Street. Founded by hospitality veterans Gearoid Devaney MS and Xavier Rousset MS, The Black Book specialises in rare and interesting wines, such as a scarcely found Sancerre by master producer Francois Cota. There’s also menu of classic brasserie dishes, including roasted onglet with peppercorn sauce and hand-cut chips, and pan-fried cod with autumnal ratatouille and silken tarragon sauce. The name is a gentle nod to the age-old sommelier tradition of scribbling tasting notes in discreet black books – which they’ll carry with them at all times.
Candles, wine, cosy booths – Clapham’s WC Wine & Charcuterie was built for dates. Don’t be put off by the fact that it used to be a public toilet: WC is far from a novelty bar, and its history only adds to its quirky charm. Wine is really good and fairly priced, and you can enjoy it alongside sharing boards of baked camembert, sourdough bread, dips, meats and cheeses. Ideal if the idea of a sit-down meal is too intense, but you still want some tasty treats to fuel your rendez-vous. This November, the team will be launching a second site in Bloomsbury, which emerges from a Grade II listed Victorian Water Closet on Lamb’s Conduit Street.
The team behind zero-waste restaurant Silo is back with a temporary wine bar in The White Building at CRATE, Hackney Wick. Minimum intervention wines from small artisan producers are the focus, to be enjoyed alongside small plates from chef and founder Douglas McMaster: think cuttlefish kebabs and grilled flatbreads with smoked aubergine. The bar is initially open in the evenings from Thursday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Opening 20 August.
Sager + Wilde can be credited with putting wine bars back on the map for young East London cool kids. Located in Hackney, it offers fine wines by the glass, with great snacks and some tempting grilled cheese sandwiches. You’ll learn about new and different types of wine from their ever-changing wine list and regular fun-filled winemaker nights and events. 193 Hackney Road, London, E2 8JL
A laidback informality suggestive of a Sevillian tapas bar sets the tone at The Cellar. Full of artfully-distressed tiled walls and cosy, industrial-style tables this is the latest venture from the team behind The Cellar in Stow-on-the-Wold, a cosy, laid back refuge from the bustling streets of King’s Cross. On its menu you’ll find the same range of low-intervention wines which have proved so popular in its Cotswold’s sister, sourced from organic and sustainably-principalled suppliers. Pairing perfectly with your chosen tipple, there’s also a range of sharing boards to choose from, with charcuteries, cheese and focaccia made locally in Hackney. 258 Pentonville Road, N1 9JY
The original Fulham shop opened in 2010 to such roaring success that Vagabond now has 6 London locations. Sample over 100 wines by the glass using the revolutionary self-service top-up Wine Card so your exploration isn’t limited – and you’ll even get tasting notes to take home. One of the first to ‘break down the barriers in the wine world’. And for this we are eternally grateful! Locations in Fulham, Charlotte Street, Spitalfields, Clapham, Victoria and Battersea
The good guys of the wine bar business, Humble Grape is on a mission to make wine socially inclusive and focus on importing wines from relatively unknown vineyards. Most are artisan wines which are sustainably produced, organic and biodynamic, and you can buy what you try directly from their website, too. Head to the Fleet Street branch for ‘Retail Monday’, when wines are sold without the markup. Locations in Islington, Battersea, Fleet Street and Liverpool Street
Established in 1890, Gordon’s is the oldest wine bar in London and its original décor makes it a most unique (and romantic) watering hole. There’s nothing quite like sipping on excellent wine in the spot which once housed Rudyard Kipling, and was where he and Chesterton wrote some of their best works. New additions include vegan and low sulphur wines – and the cheese is a must! 47 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NE
As one of London’s longest-standing Michelin star restaurants, it’s no surprise that the wine cellar at Pied à Terre holds more than 5000 wines, among which precious vintages and unusual varieties. The second-floor Petite Chambre now plays host to special ‘Wine with Friends’ evenings in which the Sommelier will choose from the vast collection according to your preferences and interests. 34 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NH
Tapas-style bar snacks and over 40 wines by the glass – a wonderful evening with friends, sorted. High seating, banquettes and plenty of standing space make for an informal, European vibe. 127 – 129 Kensington Church Street, London W8 7LP
This private members club was set up by wine lovers, and invites fellow wine lovers to join in and share interest in the world’s finest wines with likeminded people. Expect amazing vintages, and some high price points. 67 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5ES
Les 110 has 110 wines by the glass, and this is in part down to innovations like the Coravin system which keeps wines fresh once opened, so restaurants can offer more expensive bottles by the glass. But this also makes for a perfect evening of sampling different wines to expand your palate. 16 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 9DD
The historic Old Spitalfields Market is home to an Italian wine bar from the owners of the successful Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano. With its friendly and unpretentious environment, it’s the perfect place for budding oenophiles to explore personal tastes and discover something new (alongside delectable Italian bites). 67 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA
This all-day wine bar and kitchen is passionate about coffee, food and wine. With a cosy atmosphere and central location, you could find yourself enjoying a few glasses of wine here more and more often… Expect to find something new each time you visit.
‘We love learning about wine and sharing our discoveries with our customers. There’s no snobbery here, just a passion and enthusiasm for delicious wine. Our insatiable curiosity (read: thirst) means we update our wine list almost weekly. Some might call that excessive and we’re not ones to argue.’ 124 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 6PG
This French-inspired Covent Garden wine bar is at the forefront of promoting organic and natural wines. Over 400 wines have been hand-picked by experts to give visitors as varied and expansive an experience as possible – and more experienced wine lovers are invited to try the mystery wine and guess what it is to win a bottle. 8-10 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP
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