London Wine Week is upon us once more and, in celebration of this time of the year, we have put together a list of the City of London's very best wine bars.
Yes, cocktails are very in right now, with their fancy garnishes, dry ice theatrics, and silly names full of puns. But few experiences surpass that of indulging in a warming glass of red wine. It continues to be one of life’s most simple pleasures.
But sampling a great bottle of wine was once only on offer for those who could shell out; you’d have to mortgage your house for a great pinot. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Connoisseurs can certainly find a lot of these old school wine establishments dotted about the Square Mile, where they can sample some of the best bottles in the world, but new wave drinking dens have really changed the game.
Long-established wineries in Europe are no longer seen as the be all and end all of wine. Smaller producers all over the world are increasingly changing things up, concocting extra special brews which are wholly organic and sustainable – and that means far fewer hangovers. Meanwhile new wine bars are lapping it up, selling high-quality, affordable wine to the masses.
So, in celebration of all things wine –especially as we’re right in the thick of London Wine Week – we’ve decided to round up the best wine bars to be found in the City.
Since opening its doors on Hackney Road in 2013, Sager + Wilde has quickly leapt into the hearts and minds of all wine lovers in London. Hosts serve a huge array of ever-changing small-producer wines all within a hyper approachable space and menu. In 2015 the bar had this recognised, scooping the coveted Best Wine Bar in Europe Award. Since then, the Sager + Wilde team has opened a larger venue in Bethnal Green as well as the Fare Bar + Canteen on Old Street, where good food and wine match perfectly.
193 Hackney Road E2 8JL, Arch 250 Paradise Row E2 9LE & 11 Old Street EC1V 9HL
This is the City’s newest wine bar addition – and it is one of the bougiest in the area, too. Expect high end wine from all over the world, legit Champagne and super sleek interiors. Head here to impress and, if you’re going all out, book one of the two luxury private dining rooms for tastings and long sessions of drinking and eating. This is where you go to indulge.
50 Fleet Street EC4Y 1BQ
Tucked away inside Whitechapel Gallery is this hidden gem of a late-night wine bar. Run by the same team who own 10 Greek Street (which has just changed its menu for Wine Week, too), this small space is unpretentious but still run by staff who know what they’re doing. The menu is laid out simply, from light to heavy, making choosing your bottle or glass just that much easier. The location predictably draws in a highly creative crowd, but it’s far from being made just for them. Definitely worth checking out, even if you’re not at the gallery to see some art.
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street E1 7QX
This Italian wine bar, located right on the edge of Old Spitalfields Market, does everything right. First off, it specialises in sustainable, independent, organic and biodynamic producers. This means that each tipple is that extra bit special and different – you won’t be having a basic cab sav here. And, in a joint venture with the SOOD Family, staff offer wine’s favourite accompaniments; cheese and charcuterie. And if you fall in love with one of their bottles, you can easily buy one to take home.
67 Brushfield Street E1 6AA
Independent stores are hard to come by in the City of London, with so many chains setting up shop in the area, but the Winemaker’s Club in Farringdon is an exception to that rule. It sits within the old musty archways beneath the Holborn Viaduct and mostly sells wine to take away. But the owner John Baum always welcomes customers to sit in and drink a few glasses before heading elsewhere. Expect a whole array of different wines, both when it comes to price and unusual flavours.
41a Farringdon Street EC4A 4AN
This old school wine bar has a long and turbulent history. It was once the wine mecca for reporters, editors and lawyers and was famed for not serving women up until 1982. Thankfully, it’s all inclusive now. And while the wine offerings continue to be global in nature, they do focus on Spain and South America. Head into this tavern-styled wine bar for great wine and top-notch tapas served alongside it all. It’s been modernised without losing its old school charm.
47 Fleet Street EC4Y 1BJ