Gone are the days when London wine bars were considered ‘yuppie’ venues. Today’s sophisticated wine bars have introduced grapes to a whole new crowd of discerning drinkers.
From hip hangouts to speakeasy-style bars, you are never far away from a great glass of vino in our capital city.
If you’re heading to London, and want to swap cocktails for Chardonnay, here is our pick of the best wine bars that have carefully-curated wine lists to tempt your taste buds.
Plume, Covent Garden
Located in the former publishing house of author Charles Dickens, Plume is a two-storey bar & Speakeasy that is owned and managed by Grays & Feathers who delight in offering tantalising wines from across the globe.
The décor is beautiful, with quirky vintage peacocks adorning the bannisters and darkly mysterious ‘caves’ that can be pre-booked for private dining and drinking.
The compact food menu includes decadent Maldon oysters, grilled cheese sandwiches and honey-baked Camembert, while the extensive wine list covers everything from peppermint-infused prosecco to rich Argentinian Malbec.
P. Franco, Clapton
If you’re looking for the true East London wine bar experience, head over to P. Franco where the welcome is warm and the wine is chilled. It’s a small, yet uber-trendy venue that takes no bookings, so you can simply walk in, grab a barstool, and select your wine.
The wine bar also serves an a la carte menu with a European twist – we highly recommend their pickled Escabeche Mussels which are the perfect partner to a large glass of crisp Chablis or a zingy French Muscadet.
Fare Bar & Canteen, Old Street
A must-experience bar for foodies and wine lovers alike! Fare focuses on the absolute best Italian and French wines, hand-picked by Fare founder Michael Sager, who boasts accolades from wine experts from across the globe.
The wines are reasonably priced, starting at £26 for a bottle of easy-drinking Ciello Bianco from Western Sicily, to the extravagant Ladoix Le Cloud Pinot Noir – which at £125 per bottle is best saved for special occasions.
If you do decide to splash out your wine – you can save money on your meal with Fare’s £12 pasta deal which includes a hearty homemade bowl of pasta, plus a glass of house red or white.
Oeno House, Cornhill
If you’d like to expand your wine knowledge, then book a table at Oeno House where their in-house experts are on hand to chat about any of the 700+ wines on the menu.
This fine wine boutique also includes a sophisticated alfresco terrace and courtyard where you can while away a warm summer evening in the company of good friends.
Ahead of your visit, it’s worth looking at their online Wine Library, where you can browse wines by country and region and read tasting notes to help you create a list of wines to try.
Nocturne Prohibition Bar, South Kensington
Styled in the image of a New York speakeasy, the Nocturne Bar is a network of interconnected rooms that feel private, yet luxurious, and full of Roaring Twenties charm.
Just like a prohibition bar, this hidden gem relies on word of mouth advertising and is discreetly located beneath a cheesemonger shop – there’s that perfect wine and cheese combo again!
For a special occasion, parties can book a private blackjack or poker room, or an exclusive VIP dining area where the resident mixologists will keep your glass topped up with a selection of wines and vintage cocktails while you dine. The small plate menu includes fried Tunworth Camembert and chutney, truffle and parmesan popcorn and melt-in-the-mouth duck and black pudding bon-bons served with truffle mayo.
Authentique Épicerie & Bar, Tufnell Park
If there is a better combo than wine and cheese – we are yet to find it! Authentique pays homage to France’s finest fromage and vin.
Try the Emmental and watercress gougeres – baked savoury choux pastry oozing with gooey cheese – and a glass of crisp Sancerre.
And if that’s not cheesy enough for you – book a table at one of the regular Raclette Sundays, where you can indulge in melted Swiss cheese poured generously over potatoes, with charcuterie, bread and pickles.
Each month the three French owners choose a different region to shine a spotlight on. This month, it’s Burgundy, so expect a showcase of carefully curated reds and whites from this famous wine-making terroir.
Salon, Market Row, Brixton
Salon, along Brixton’s Market Row, is an inspiring place to visit – whether you chose the cosy downstairs bar, the upstairs upmarket dining room, or simply people-watch while you sip wine from the benches outdoors that face the bustling market.
The wine bar serves a range of low intervention, organic and biodynamic wines, plus craft beers and artisanal spirits. The food choices are guided by the seasons, with weekly menu changes so there is always something new to discover.
Next door is the Wine Store – where every first Thursday of the month you can enjoy a tipple and some tunes with Salon’s ‘Strictly Bangers’ music night.
Vinoteca has been one of London’s best wine bars since it opened its doors to wine enthusiasts almost twenty years ago. The wines are all sustainably grown using organic and biodynamic methods and are all helpfully annotated on the menu to help you choose from over two hundred bottles.
Our favourite is the La Jara, an organic pink fizz packed with rich cranberries & strawberries. Definitely a destination for a stylish and grown-up girls’ night out.
If you’d prefer a lunch date, you can take advantage of a two- or three-course set meal from just £18. Choose from honey-mustard glazed pork or Scottish hake with feta followed up with an indulgent Valrhona chocolate mousse with espresso cream for pudding.