London's Best Wine Bars
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 modern 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
We’re big fans of chef Leandro Carreira (formerly of Viajante, Lyle’s and Koya) so were pleased when he opened his very first restaurant just before Christmas. Earlier this year he launched a wine bar within the same building, which offers small-plate bar snacks to complement his modern Portuguese cooking in the main restaurant. Alongside oysters with samphire vinaigrette and a ‘Porto’ hotdog, guests can sip on an extensive selection of wine and a mean port and tonic. New for summer is an al fresco terrace – see you there.
36 Snowsfields, London Bridge, SE1 3SU
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
Chef Magnus Reid’s Legs might be a restaurant rather than a wine bar, but it makes it onto this list as its emphasis is on wine-focused dining. The offering focuses on small independent producers, who strive to best represent the terrain they grow on, while dinner sees interesting plates (such as pork belly, pork caramel, pistachio and sage; and mussels, sherry, tarragon and cream) perfectly matched to wine. Weekend boozy brunches are encouraged.
120-122 Morning Lane, Hackney, E9 6LH
This Dalston newcomer is a neighbourhood restaurant that focuses on vino. The menu features a weekly changing list of 36 wines, all available by the glass, while a 100-strong wine list will allow diners to choose a bottle, or glass via Coravin. In a role reversal, head chef Jon Beeharry (formerly of Bistroteque and Rita’s) has designed a selection of seasonal dishes to complement the drinks – expect to see the likes of Scottish langoustines with lardo; hake and monk’s beard with cockle and potato sauce; and Yorkshire rhubarb with set cream, blood orange and thyme. We’ll raise a glass to that.
378 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AA
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