The co-founders of Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano have teamed up with pop-up restaurant SOOD Family to create Bottles, an atmospheric wine bar that focuses on the food and wine of Italy. With the new project, the team aims to create a friendly and unpretentious environment that’s all about discovering new wines, exploring personal tastes and revisiting classics. With every member of waiting staff a sommelier in their own right, the team is able to personally advise guests, enthusing on the many regional varieties on offer and suggesting the most suitable food pairings from its zero-waste menu – we’d go for the handmade spaghetti all’ amatriciana.
67 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1 6AA
Humble Grape is an independent wine merchant on a mission to make wine socially inclusive and approachable for everyone. Since 2009 the team has been seeking out handcrafted wines from relatively unknown vineyards around the world. Whether international or otherwise, the team mostly provides sustainably produced, organic and biodynamic wines. New for 2019, the three sites are open for breakfast in the week and brunch over the weekend. And from now until the end of May, SL VIPs can get 30% off the bill at breakfast or brunch. Sign up to become a VIP using the link below.
2 Battersea Rise, Battersea, SW11 1ED; 1 St Bride's Passage, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EJ; 11-13 Theberton Street, Islington, N1 0QY; SL VIP offer valid until 31st May
Diogenes the Dog
A former Elephant & Castle boozer has been transformed into a new-wave wine bar and shop, Diogenes The Dog. Spread across two floors, the 60-cover venue houses a wine shop on the ground floor among tables that line the windows overlooking the street. Inside, there’s a classic al fresco feel with plants and a green palette, juxtaposed with a more contemporary stripped-back aesthetic. Downstairs, the pretty basement is available for private hire and will host regular acoustic nights. Small boards of Italian cheeses and charcuterie from Cannon & Cannon meats will accompany the wines in the evenings.
96 Rodney Road, Elephant & Castle, SE17 1BG
Soho’s Antidote is a modern bar and restaurant serving natural wines, cheese, charcuterie, steaks and classic French dishes. The 15-year-old venue is spread across two floors and features a pretty outdoor terrace. Within, the team offers a selection of 300 organic, biodynamic and natural wines from small independent growers. Best of all, all the bottles are available to take away at shop prices – perfect for a picnic in one of London’s many parks.
12A Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RR
From the outside, this French-leaning wine bar looks like an old Tudor pub: picture black and white beams and pretty stained glass. But within, the townhouse has had a thoroughly-1modern makeover – seating is millennial pink, there’s plenty of exposed brickwork, gold accents and statement lighting abound. The Francophile wine list is one that we’ve sampled time and time again and lots of glasses are priced at £5 each – perfect for trying something new. The food menu, which features sharing plates, such as burrata, peaches, beetroot and pistachios, has been designed to complement the wines.
44 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 7HS
Sager + Wilde
The team behind Sager + Wilde has a top-notch restaurant on Paradise Row in Bethnal Green and a romantic wine bar in Hackney. While the restaurant is one of our favourite places to eat pasta in the capital, for this particular feature we’re all about its bijou wine bar: its drinks list (by the glass and by the bottle) changes every day depending on what new sips the team are into we are into and which old cellars they’ve raided. Superlative cheese boards and toasties filled with British artisanal cheese and jalapeños, or chorizo and spinach, will help to line the stomach.
193 Hackney Road, Hoxton, E2 8JL
One of our Lifestyle editor’s top three spots in town, Noble Rot has everything you want from a restaurant: a fantastic, seasonal menu, friendly, on-the-mark service, and a buzzy atmosphere. Launched by the team behind the indie wine mag of the same name, you’d expect this place to get it right. Its wine list is extensive and wide-ranging (in terms of location and price) – the choice is so expansive that it makes sense to sample a number of glasses, rather than opt for a bottle. Come autumn, the cosy bar is a spot we return to again and again.
51 Lamb's Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3NB
Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels
Launched by the design-conscious Experimental Group – that’s the company behind Night Flight, Grand Pigalle Hotel, Beef Club and Ballroom in Paris – Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels is a trés French-feeling wine bar in Neal’s Yard. With over 400 bottles of wine in stock, this is one for anyone feeling adventurous – CVS prides itself on selecting hard-to-find fine wines, which they pair alongside small plates such as beef tartare, truffle and quail’s egg croquet madams and octopus ceviche. Come summer, the petite terrace is the place to be.
8-10 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
The Laughing Heart
This late-night spot in Hackney is a wine bar, restaurant and off-licence. In the kitchen head chef Tom Anglesea serves contemporary British cuisine, which draws inspiration from many parts of the world. Down in the wine cellar, the team supports artisan, organic farmers and caters for a range of tastes and budgets. We’re a big fan of the Cave, a candlelit private party space that serves oysters and steak alongside its wines. Come kicking-out time at 2am, guests can opt to grab one for the road from the well-stocked offie. A great all-rounder.
277 Hackney Road, Hackney, E2 8NA
Beginning life as a cheese stall run by owner Patricia, today La Fromagerie comprises three shops, a wholesale business and an award-winning book. The first shop in Highbury Park opened in 1992, followed by Marylebone in 2002. Our favourite of the trio – and the one we think is best for a date – is located on Lamb's Conduit Street. Launched in 2017, the space features the shops’ signature cheese room and tasting cafe. Dark and atmospheric, guests can choose from an array of cheeseboards, spanning French, Italian and British cheese. We’d just opt for a slab of the truffled brie alongside a bottle of red from their vast collection.
Locations in Marylebone, Bloomsbury and Highbury
St John Bread & Wine
St John – from nose-to-tail pioneer Fergus Henderson – has three restaurants, a bakery, a winery and a wine company. When it comes to pulling up a bar stool and opening a bottle of red, we like St John Bread & Wine best. Menus at the bar change daily, but this season expect the likes of Eccles cake with Lancashire cheese, Innes log cheese with oatcakes and Welsh rarebit – all things that go well with a glass of wine. While you’re able to bring in your own bottle (for a corkage fee) we really don’t see why you would as the team makes its own vast selection of extremely quaffable wines. We like the 2014 claret best.
94-96 Commercial Street, Shoreditch, E1 6LZ
A wine bar from the team behind Quo Vadis and Barrafina, The Drop is a 55-seat space that focuses on all things drinks. A point of difference from Spanish-inspired Barrafina and Mexican Casa Pastor over the street at the newly opened Coal Drops Yard, The Drop focuses on modern British plates – think exemplary terrines, cep pie, cheeseboards, rarebit and charcuterie – essentially, anything that goes well with a bottle of wine. Oyster fans should make a beeline the outdoor area, where an oyster cart is a regular fixture. This is a place to try someone new – we recommend starting with an orange wine from the aperitif menu.
Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4AB
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