Frank’s, St James’s
Frank’s is a new subterranean bar à vin from the team behind the critically acclaimed French brasserie Maison François. The bar serves a list of unconventional wines by the glass alongside a regularly changing menu designed with drinking in mind. Founder François O’Neill has taken inspiration from his favourite spots in Paris and New York – from sampling the all-natural wines at La Cave Septime or standing at the bar with small plates at Pierre Touitou’s Deviant. Guests will be welcomed by an impressive central bar, low lighting, polished concrete floors, black leather banquettes and a mirror-lined whitewashed brick walls, which give a nod to the bar’s 70s architectural inspiration. The bar menu includes a selection of decadent sandwiches – including a French onion soup toastie, or jambon noir de Bigorre, sliced at the bar – while drinks focus on a bold 200-strong list of small production natural wines and biodynamics, alongside more established French producers. The bar team will also serve a number of François’s favourite cocktails, such as the ‘Frank’s 75’ or a white port negroni.
34 Duke Street, St James's, SW1Y 6DF
Bar Crispin is a new wine bar and restaurant from the team behind the popular Crispin in Spitalfields. Just behind Liberty, Bar Crispin encompasses a main restaurant, outside terrace and the downstairs ‘Green Room’, which will also act as a private dining room. Open from 9am, the space will operate as a café in the morning, serving up baked goods and coffee from Assembly Roast, through to a lunch and evening service, where an all-natural wine list will be served alongside bar snacks, cheese and charcuterie. The 150-strong wine list has been pulled together by GM Alex Price (previously of Annabel’s and Beaverbrook) and head sommilier Stefano Cazzato (of Londrino and Hakkasan), with a focus on old world and indigenous grape varietals and small indie producers. For those keen to learn more about wine, Alex will host monthly events, such as natural wine tastings or wine and food pairings, down in the Green Room.
19 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PY
Hector’s, De Beauvoir
Hector’s bottle shop and wine bar has opened in De Beauvoir. Inspired by the cave à mangers of Paris and drinking holes of San Sebastian, the new venture is the latest project from Jimmy Stephenson, who’s spent the last seven years building the award-winning wine list at Hill & Szrok Butchers and Cookshop. Many of these wines have followed him to Hector’s, including a mixture of natural and classic European wines. The venue will open for coffee in the morning, transforming into a cosy, relaxed spot for drinking and dining come the early evening. The food offering comprises a selection of small plates, such as Cantabrian anchovies soaked in olive oil with rose petals; courgette carpaccio with fresh cheese; and tortilla with Spanish red peppers. Guest chefs will also be invited to collaborate for takeover weekends and events. Hector’s will be open as a bottle shop from Tuesday to Sunday, and in the summer months, there will be outside seating.
49a Ardleigh Road, De Beauvoir, N1 4HS
The Saxon, Clapham
The Saxon is a new pub on Clapham High Street. The latest venture from the East London Pub Company, The Saxon has undergone a major refurbishment, and now serves a large selection of cocktails and small plates. The neighbourhood venue is set over four floors and features multiple private rooms including The Playroom on the first floor and a rooftop terrace, designed for summer days and al fresco drinking and dining. Dishes on offer include burrata with tomato, lemon oil, coriander seeds and toast; courgette cakes with lime and turmeric dip; and chicken wings with hot sauce and blue cheese dip. Soon, the kitchen will offer a brunch menu to complement its cocktail menu – which features the likes of ‘The Clapham Fizz’ (marmalade vodka, raspberry and prosecco) and ‘The Saxorinha’ (tequila, Aperol, pink grapefruit, egg white, lemon, cassis and bitters) – as well as regular DJ nights and Sunday roasts.
50 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL
Nocturne, South Kensington
Award-winning barman and bar owner Steve Pineau has teamed up with long-time collaborator – master sommelier Xavier Rousset – to open prohibition bar Nocturne. Underneath the pair’s wine and cheese bar, Old Brompton, Nocturne is dedicated to the 1920s. The space is comprised of a series of interconnected rooms. The dimly lit bar features antique mirrors, cocktail cabinets, a striking drinks trolley and mismatched furniture. In the main room, a piano takes centre stage, which allows for special open-piano evenings where guests and hobbyist pianists will be welcome to perform or watch. There’s also a bookable blackjack and poker room, as well as a private dining room. In a nod to the drinking dens of the prohibition era, Pineau has created a cocktail list that reflects the no-gimmicks ethos of the drinks served at that time: think the ‘Isle of Man 1860s’ (Aperol, amaro blend, Cinzano Bianco, tomato juice, celery bitters and peach bitters), ‘Nocturne 1900s’ (Japanese dry gin, dry sake, earl grey liquor, lavender syrup, grapefruit juice, plum bitters and sage bitters); and ‘Cambridge 1925s’ (Mezcal, tequila, lime juice, orange tea cordial, rose syrup and watermelon bitters). Alongside cocktails and a decent champagne list, you’ll find a selection of 70 different cheeses and charcuterie.
158 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW5 0BA
The Italian Greyhound, Marylebone
The Italian Greyhound bar and dining room has opened on Seymour Place, offering modern Italian food and drinks. A reinvention of Benardi’s – a smart Italian that previously occupied the same site – the space hosts all-day dining inspired by Italy’s neighbourhood ‘bacaros’ bars. The venue features an expansive bar area, with its own entrance for guests looking to drop in for a casual drink or small plates, as well as a wraparound terrace for drinking and dining. Those popping in for a drink can expect to sample bar plates such as Sicilian chickpea fritters with sage; and Cornish crab with roseval potato, celery hearts and capers; alongside larger dishes such as pizza topped with Wye Valley asparagus, stracciatella and speck. A short drinks selection includes British and Italian beers, classic aperitivi such as scamorza bourbon-washed old fashioneds and a seasonal spritz selection, while the wine list covers Italian and European producers with an extensive by-the-glass selection.
62 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 5BN
Mrs Riot, Covent Garden
Mrs Riot is a new bar in Covent Garden. Focused on cocktails, the fresh space takes inspiration from Kitty Clive, a pioneering feminist and performer who transformed the London scene in 1700s. Mrs Riot was the name of her most famous character, and her daring ways have inspired the bohemian vibe of the bar, with live music and entertainment every night of the week, plus a drag brunch at the weekends. Spread over two floors and an outdoor terrace, the venue is decorated with clashing colours and patterns, features hidden corners and booths in the basement, and has a dancefloor. When it comes to drinks, its cocktail and spritz offering is the thing to try. The spritz menu features the likes of the ‘Dellini’, with caramelised peach puree and Della Vite prosecco; and ‘The Rehearsal’, made with rhubarb amaro and London Essence Indian tonic water.
10 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8PS