The London wine bar scene is having a renaissance with a host of stylish, desirable and unusual locations serving the perfect glass across the capital. Whatever your choice of wine – from across the four corners of the globe – London has a wine bar for you. From ornate private clubs to discreet railway arches, the growing wine scene of London has more than enough bars to quench your thirst.
Our delightful dozen wine bars in London, which merely scratches the surface, are dens of temptation that are bringing something different to the wine scene.
10 Cases Cave à Vin
10 Cases has become one of London’s best established wine haunts – purposely challenging the ‘stuffy’ wine scene when it opened in 2011. ‘The Cave’ is an extension of the original restaurant and offers a changing selection of fairly priced wines by the glass. The wine list at the Cave sets it apart from its neighbouring restaurant. Indeed, it offers 16+ continually changing fine wines offered by-the-glass as well as 300+ listings from classic wine producing countries all over the world.
10 Cases Cave à Vin – 16-18 Endell St, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BD
40 Maltby St
Based in a Bermondsey railway arch, 40 Maltby Street has blossomed into a wine bar and bistro. It had started life as a small and focused wine importing business. It has won over some of the UK’s most hardened food and wine critics. The changing wine list has wines sourced from small producers, and is organic, biodynamic or natural. Owner Raef Hodgson is on hand to decipher the wine list and share his knowledge of the wines on his list.
40 Maltby St – 40 Maltby Street, London SE1 3PA
Antidote Wine Bar & Shop
A little bit of France in London! That is one of the best kept secrets not just in Soho – but the city! This French-owned wine hub, which boasts one of the most comprehensive organic and biodynamic wine lists in central London. It is perfect for an evening out in Soho. Spread over two floors, there is a cheese and charcuterie bar on the ground floor (bien sur!) and a bright and elegant dining room on the first floor. Antidote offers wine by the glass, as well tastings and meet-the-maker sessions.
Antidote Wine Bar & Shop – 12a Newburgh St, W1F 7RR
Clarette oozes chic and style and has a wine list to match. But what else can you expect from a partnership between Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos, heiress of the Château Margaux family and restauranteur Natsuko Perromat du Marais. Based in three-story mock-Tudor townhouse, Clarette is a destination where wine-loving novices, connoisseurs and enthusiasts can enjoy old favourites, or discover new grape types, wine regions and styles. Clarette offers a wide selection of fine wines available by the glass and discovery wine flights offered daily. The wine list is short and accomplished, focused around showcasing wines exclusively from classic wine regions of France and Italy. If you want to splash out, then a glass of the standout 2001 Chateau Margaux will set you back £135.
Clarette – 44 Blandford Street, W1U 7HS
Gordon’s Wine Bar
How can you not include London’s oldest wine bar! Gordon’s was founded in 1890. The building it’s in is also the home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680’s and more recently Rudyard Kipling. Despite its age, and a venue for the post work crowd, the wine list is comprehensive for all tastes. There’s a hearty selection from across the world – listed by type rather than country. Drinker’s tip: keep an eye on the blackboards scattered around the interior of the bar as these carry specials, bin ends and half bottles, not always on the main list.
Gordon’s Wine Bar – 47 Villiers St, WC2N 6NE
Launched by a trio of hospitality veterans and long-time friends, Peckham Cellars is very much a neighbourhood wine bar, shop and restaurant. Founder Benjamin McVeigh not only has a WSET 4 Diploma but has also studied at Plumpton College – the UK’s foremost wine college. He uses his experience to craft an adventurous but sensitively priced wine list of more than 150 choices.
Peckham Cellars – 125 Queen’s Rd, London SE15 2ND
Renegade Urban Winery
If you’re looking for something unique – then look no further than one of the city’s very first urban wineries. Located in Bethnal Green, this winery-cum-wine bar is a real grape to glass experience. Customers get to sit and drink next to French barriques of ageing stock. Each of these barriques has its contents scrawled in chalk. Renegade produce12-14 different wines each year. 50 per cent use English grown grape varieties and the other 50 per cent from the likes of Italy, France, Portugal, Germany and Spain. For those with an interest in wine making, there’s also the chance to ‘chip in’ when the harvest comes to town in September/October.
Renegade Urban Winery – Arch 12 Gales Gardens, London E2 0EJ
Orange wine anyone? Hackney’s Silver Lining is backing this newest wine trend by moving its entire wine list to entirely orange wines. Founded by husband and wife team Alistair and Sarah Maddox, Silver Lining, features a list of over 50 producers across a broad range of styles. Indeed, the list goes from sparkling and still through to off-dry styles. A coffee and wine shop during the day, it transforms to wine bar in the evenings. They’re serving up seasonal small plates and offers five skin contact wines by the glass each night and several more by the bottle.
Silver Lining – 13 Morning Lane, London E9 6ND
The Black Book
The Black Book hails itself as ‘The West End’s go-to wine destination’. Given it was used solely by the hospitality trade, then it definitely knows a thing or two about wine! Now open to the public, the Black Book uses its discreet location to provide a highly personal experience. The name ‘black book’ is a nod to the notes which sommeliers are said to keep, of their favourite wines and tasting notes. So, as you’d expect, the wine list is well-priced, and has exceptional selection which has been curated by Xavier Rousset.
The Black Book – 23 Frith Street, London W1D 4RR
Located above The Blue Posts pub, The Mulwray has been called ‘one of the most exciting new wine bars openings of recent years’ in London by foodie website Hot Dinners. The Mulwray specialises in fine and natural wines from the old world and the new. Moreover, the focus is on exciting regions and less known growers. The list is split into different wine styles – ‘Firm Favourites’, ‘The Path Less Trodden’ or ‘Wild + Free’. These changes in the list reflect the seasons, including cool climate whites, silky reds, and a few wild card options for the more adventurous.
The Mulwray – 28 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 6DJ
Upstairs at the George
Another wine bar above a boozer – this time The George in the heart of the London. One of three rooms on the first floor, Upstairs at the George’s uniqueness is its entire wine list is comprised of only English wines. It is a who’s who of English producers, with more than 150 options – including sparkling and still. Given its connections with the English producers, it also lays its hands on bottles not available anywhere else.
Upstairs at the George – 55 Great Portland Street, W1W 7LQ
Who would have thought you could turn an old ‘water closet’ into an intimate location for wine? WC Clapham (one of two venues in the city – the other being in Bloomsbury) has more than achieved that. This underground space, hidden beneath the pavement next to Clapham Common, was turned into one of the most thriving wine bars in London. WC (Wine & Charcuterie) makes the most of this small space. Indeed, the use of a combination of candle and pavement light creates a moody and intimate atmosphere. Like the surroundings, the wine list is small and intimate. But it’s thoughtfully put together by the team with the guidance of Gearoid Devaney MS.
WC Clapham – Clapham Common, London SW4 7AA