At The London Wine Cellar, our passion for fine wine makes us perfectly equipped to guide and advise customers on the value of their collections as well as which bottles to invest in next to diversify their portfolio. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our team is also not adverse to a quiet after-work drink in one of the many intriguing watering holes London has to offer. Over time, we’ve developed an expert understanding of London’s drinking culture, and we are constantly in search of the best new bars with the most diverse and exciting wine lists. Here are our three current London favourites; we’re confident you’ll enjoy them much as we do.
Described as ‘dreamy but accessible and relentlessly, gaspingly good’ by Evening Standard’s Grace Dent, every review I had read of this cosy Bloomsbury bar-restaurant had one thing in common: people arrived for one glass and ended up lingering for hours. We had to try it out for ourselves.
What caught our attention on entering was the laid-back mood. The bar area is buzzing and yet intimate; in the winter you can expect a roaring log fire and in the summer months the dark interior provides a moment’s cool respite from the crowded city streets. Tucked away behind a curtain is the restaurant area: a cosy spot where you can sample dishes prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, all paired perfectly with gems from the wine list. The Noble Rot team only adds to the venue’s charm. They are friendly, knowledgeable and discreet to a fault: this is definitely not one of those wine bars where the staff hover awkwardly over you, putting you off your drinks.
On settling down to read their wine list, things only got better. We luxuriated in twenty-three pages bursting with wines from all over the globe, roughly thirty of which are available to order by the glass. In this way, Noble Rot accommodates everyone and seamlessly blends quality with accessibility . They even have an interesting selection of English sparkling wine, which we always love to see. As for their bar snacks, they share the same trademark quality and simplicity. Melt-in-the-mouth iberico ham, juicy olives and freshly-baked bread with creamy butter make the perfect accompaniment to your glass (or three) of wine. Needless to say, time slipped by and the sun had faded into darkness well before we eventually slipped back out into the street.
Sager + Wilde
Hackney Road and Paradise row, both situated in London’s edgy East End, are the hubs for Sager + Wilde. Hackney Road came first, and it combines the elegant simplicity of a classic Parisian corner cafe — think glossy wooden stools lined up at the the bar — with the raw aesthetic often associated with East London — think open brickwork and an unusual metal and glass countertop. It’s understatedly stylish and the perfect place to relish Sager + Wilde’s famous grilled cheese sandwich with a hearty red in the winter or enjoy light tapas-style dishes and crisp whites in the warmer months.
In contrast, Paradise road, nestled under a railway-arch down an unexpected cobbled street in Bethnal Green, while sharing a similar Paris-meets-the-East-End look is more unabashedly food-focused, and a great place to enjoy a sit-down meal.
Both Sager + Wilde venues have some remarkable highlights on their extensive and interesting wine lists and are remarkable for their ability to provide a uniquely intimate experience while accommodating the East London buzz that inevitably surrounds them. While each spot has its own charm, and The London Wine Cellar team have whiled away many an enjoyable hour in both, we would particularly recommend Paradise Row for their inclusion of interesting orange and rosé wines, which can be hard to find in London’s often all-to-predictable wine bars.
Mews of Mayfair
There are very few places you fall in love with instantly, but Mews of Mayfair’s courtyard bar was that one in a million for us. It’s leafy and secluded. Comfy wicker chairs are draped with blankets, so there’s something to huddle under in cooler weather. If it’s raining and you need to scuttle quickly inside, the bar’s interior is moody and cosy, with warm wood tones and electric blue accents — the perfect place to pull up a stool have one of the friendly bartenders mix you a drink.
Well-curated atmosphere aside, Mews of Mayfair’s drinks lists are to die for. Their aim is to stock wines from all over the world at a range of price points, and to keep on their toes by continually evolving and updating their wine lists. Numerous vintage Champagnes vie for your attention with unique Bordeaux first growths, and there’s just as much on offer for those with a taste for spirits too. An impressive range of rums, whiskies and bourbons are flanked by concise but well thought-out cocktail lists.
If all that drinking makes you peckish, the good news is that Mews’ two excellent restaurants, a chic brasserie and a vibrant pizza parlour, sit alongside the cocktail bar, and there’s even a buzzing lounge for anyone keen to prolong their night beyond the witching hour. The absolute best thing about the Mews of Mayfair collective? They have a well-stocked onsite bar-cum-shop, where if you like you can buy a bottle or two of whatever you most enjoyed to take home — I know we can never resist.