We’re so grapeful to have these wonderful, cosy wine bars in London, especially when winter rolls around. Whether you’re impressing on a date, or just relaxing with pals, wine bars are the ideal spot for wine, cheese, and good conversation. Here are our favourite London spots! [Feature image: @gordonswinebar]
Sager + Wilde have two venues in east London; a restaurant and a wine bar. But since we’re talking about wine bars, their bar on Hackney Road focuses on fine wine, charcuterie and grilled cheese sandwiches. Think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to go here – we’ll wait.
193 Hackney Road. Nearest station is Hoxton.
Sager + Wilde’s little sister on Old Street has a cosy terrace, just like their restaurant on Paradise Row. While the ground floor focuses on all-day dining and cocktails, downstairs is all about the vino. Within this intimate setting, you can order hand-made pasta, sourdough pizza and gorgeous plates from the grill. Wines come from boutique winemakers, or opt for a cocktail curated by Fare founder and award-winning cocktail-maker, Marcis Dzelzainis.
11 Old Street, EC1V 9HL. Nearest stations are Old Street and Barbican Station.
3. WC Wine & Charcuterie, Clapham (reopening November)
WC is a wine and charcuterie bar in a former public water closet underneath Clapham Common tube station. Snag yourself a table one evening (perhaps a Sunday, when WC hosts live music from 8-10pm), order up a glass of something special, and enjoy a night in the most exciting toilet in town. Read more about it here.
Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AA. Nearest station is Clapham Common.
4. WC Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury (opening November)
A sister bar to WC Clapham, the Grade II-listed water closet has been lovingly restored in line with Historic England’s specifications (the 120-year old toilet had previously spent time on the organisation’s ‘at risk register’), with the marble floors and original tiles kept intact, and the original wood stalls turned into private booths. The bar pays homage to the surrounding area, with a portrait of Thomas Coram, the noted philanthropist who founded the nearby London Foundling Hospital in 1752, hanging above the bar. Even better finds here are the tried-and-tested mix of wine, cocktails, small plates, and sharing boards that made WC Clapham such a hit. Get the full scoop here.
Guildford Street, Holborn, WC1N1EH. Nearest station is Russell Square.
5. The Laughing Heart, Bethnal Green
This late night dining room, wine bar, and off licence is the definition of trendy. Head Chef Tom Anglesea brings a fresh take on contemporary British cuisine to east London, while drawing inspiration from all over the world to create the most exciting flavours. Whatever your taste or budget, they will passionately serve you wines you will love. You only have to look at their Instagram to see that the wine and food is banging, and you can even hire out their downstairs spot The Cave for private parties!
277 Hackney Road, E2 8NA. Nearest station is Hoxton.
6. Silver Lining, Hackney
As the UK’s first ever orange wine bar, Silver Lining offers variety unmatched by few other wine bars in town. Their dedication to orange wine has led to selection of more than 50 bottles, each a unique wine-drinking experience that provides a bolder, more savoury taste, thanks to the process of fermentation which leaves the skin on white grapes and results in that vibrant orange colour. The future’s bright, the future’s orange… Find out more here.
13 Morning Lane, Hackney, E9 6ND. Nearest station is Hackney Central.
7. The Remedy, Fitzrovia
Run by two friends, The Remedy is the place to go if you’re after great wine and a convivial atmosphere. They don’t claim to be doctors, but they did call their wine bar ‘The Remedy’ because they believe a glass or more of vino can cure anything. We agree. If wine isn’t the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions…
124 Cleveland Street, W1T 6PG. Nearest station is Great Portland Street.
8. The Black Book, Soho
Like a child at Christmas, we love having shiny new things to play with – and shiny new wine bar The Black Book is next on our list. It’s home to London’s largest ‘by-the-glass’ list, and this “late-night wine cave and restaurant” is now hosting weekly wine tastings every Saturday afternoon. The journey of a thousand wines begins with a single sip, making this an excellent place to start!
23 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RR. Nearest stations are Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square.
9. Vagabond Wines, various locations
Three words: interactive wine menus! Vagabond’s wine bars offer a self-service wine experience where you top up a card, which allows you to wave ‘n’ pay Oyster-style at their self-service wine dispensing machines. Clever, right? They’ve also got a low-intervention winery housed at Battersea Power Station, which is pretty neat.
Their Victoria venue is their largest, but they have smaller, cosier outposts in Canary Wharf, Fulham, Fitzrovia, Paddington, Monument, Clapham Junction, and Battersea – visit their website for details.
10. Gordon’s, Charing Cross
London’s oldest wine bar has all the grape juice you could wish for; all within these atmospheric, underground cellars. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s become almost cliched as a date spot, but there’s an irresistible magic to pulling up a chair in the cellar and sipping on vino. This 120-year-old establishment often gets busy after work, so why not book the afternoon off and get gently pickled with a pal? (There’s also cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.)
47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE. Nearest stations are Charing Cross and Embankment.
11. P Franco, Hackney
It’s a rare place that checks out as one of London’s loveliest wine bars and one of the city’s best restaurants, but then again P Franco is rare indeed. Noble Fine Liquor’s little brother is an award-winning wine bar serving the finest luxury dishes, all made by a series of prestigious rotating chefs that have made this place a crucial spot on a London food pilgrimage. These guys are so expert they don’t even need a wine list. Kitchen opens 6pm (12-3pm on Saturday lunchtime), and they’re now accepting reservations in the wake of the pandemic.
107 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP. Nearest station is Hackney Central.
12. The 10 Cases, Covent Garden
So-called because they only ever get 10 cases of the wines on their shortlist. This is to make sure they’re always trying new things, and not sticking to the same old bottles. There are also only 10 tables! It really is… 10 out of 10.
16 Endell Street, WC2H 9BD. Nearest station is Covent Garden.
13. 68 and Boston, Soho (currently closed)
If you and your friends want to booze on a budget, ’68’ is the place for you. Hidden on the ground floor, they boast a list of 20 quality wines priced from just £20 per bottle. However, if you want to splash out, you can try out some really fabulous bottles for £30+, or even something from their private cellar. Whatever your preference, you won’t be short of choice – they serve 45 wines by the glass. When (or more appropriately, if) you become all wined out, head upstairs to ‘Boston’; their cocktail lounge on the first floor, and one of Soho’s most renowned hidden gems.
5 Greek Street, W1D 4DD. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
14. Noble Rot Wines, Bloomsbury
This gorgeous spot is the winner of the wine list award at the World Restaurant Awards 2019, amongst countless other successes. Noble Rot’s wine bar includes rare gems and totally underrated bottles. Michelin-starred chefs are on hand to provide a concise menu of the finest Franglaise-style food, all in the atmospheric surroundings of this Bloomsbury townhouse, affectionately nicknamed “Rotter’s Towers”. A sister bar and restaurant in Soho recently opened on the site of the legendary Gay Hussar.
51 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB. Nearest station is Russell Square.
15. Winemaker’s Club, Farringdon
This cosy, candlelit bar sits within the Victorian arches beneath the Holborn Viaduct, which served as a wine cellar for over 150 years. Their wine list is ever-changing, and they also serve a small amount of old Bordeaux, Burgundy, Port and Madeira from their private cellars. Of course, each wine can be complimented with cheese and charcuterie, sourced locally from Androuet in Spitalfields and Islington’s Cobble Lane Cured. Southeasterners can head to Deptford for a charming, albeit slightly less atmospheric, sibling.
41a Farringdon Street, EC4A 4AN. Nearest station is Farringdon.
16. El Vino, Fleet Street
You can’t buy real history, and this bar oozes it, almost literally. This decidedly old-school spot has long been a favoured haunt for the wine-loving local workforce (lawyers and journalists abound). When nearby pubs are heaving with City slickers on a Friday evening, El Vino somehow remains an island of calm, so grab a table for two and dig into some casual tapas while you share a bottle or three of something full-bodied. If it’s full, other branches aren’t far away – you’ll also find El Vino in Moorgate, Blackfriars, Monument, and London Bridge.
47 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1BJ. Nearest stations are Temple and Blackfriars.
17. BOTTLES, Spitalfields and Chelsea
A relative newcomer to the London wine bar scene, BOTTLES has quickly established two sites and brought Italian vibes to Spitalfields and Chelsea. With “a key focus on quality wines made by independent producers”, their aim is to help guests discover regional wines and forgotten grapes. There’s also a lovely, seasonal food menu with a zero waste policy, meaning they make use of every part of every vegetable, meat, or fish.
Find BOTTLES Spitalfields at 67 Brushfield Street, E1 6AA. Nearest station is Liverpool Street. Find BOTTLES Chelsea at 100 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, SW3 3AD. Nearest station is South Kensington.
18. Vins, Canonbury
Exit the overground at Canonbury and head just round the corner where you will find Vins – a quaint wine bar set up by Hugo Thurston and Vinny Burke (who are also the brains behind Shoreditch’s Jago). As front of house, Vinny welcomes each guest with a friendly smile before leaving them to choose from a huge range of white, red and sparkling, as well as an ever-changing European menu of small plates, sharing platters, cheeses and desserts. A peaceful place for a large glass, a tasty nibble and a natter!
93 Grosvenor Ave, N5 2NL. Nearest station is Canonbury.