Say what you will about spring’s variable weather, but the changeable temperatures mean we’re drinking wines of all colours (the reds haven’t been retired just yet). However, until recent years, it was difficult to find a genuinely great wine bar in central London that wasn’t Gordon’s or 67 Pall Mall.
This band of newcomers are about to change all that. Counting subterranean vaults and reimagined classics amongst their ranks, here are six new spots to try.
It was only a matter of time before this beloved Italian restaurant opened a dedicated wine space – and it finally arrived in March. Occupying a tiny once-upon-a-lockdown shop next door to Trullo proper, there’s just one table plus a window counter, neither of which you can book – this is a place to wander into pre- or post-dinner. The wines are a tour of Europe in grape form (producers from Slovenia to Spain are all represented) and you can elevate your tipple with Maldon oysters and Devon crab from the restaurant next door.
300–302 St Paul’s Rd, N1 2LH
Bar 1790, The City
The year is 1790 and George Sandeman has just set up as a Portuguese wine merchant on Birchin Lane. Fast forward to 2023 and what’s now known as Sandeman House is back, including a fully refurbished restaurant, The Don, and a revamped wine bar, Bar 1790. The latter offers one of London’s most comprehensive Portuguese wine lists, which you can sample during a private tasting in one of the building’s original wine cellars – our pick’s the barrel-lined medieval room, dating back to 1580.
21–23 St Swithins Ln, EC4N 8AD
Another May arrival, this wine bar is pitched as ‘the living room to The Drunken Butler’s dining room’ by chef and sommelier, Yuma Hashemi. It’s named after Hashemi’s favourite piece of furniture in The Drunken Butler – a throne-like rattan chair – and is filled with more vintage and antique finds, lending it a retro feel. Wines are a mix of new world, old world, natural, and biodynamic – plus, like the original, there’ll be a heavy focus on Negronis, mixed with vintage spirits from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.
5a Rosebery Ave, EC1R 4SP
Noble Rot, Mayfair
Like its predecessors, Noble Rot’s third restaurant offers a stellar wine list in an atmospheric location, this time choosing the former Le Bedouin Blanc site in Shepherd Market. It offers what the team calls their ‘most ambitious wine programme to date’, which includes both rare vintages and corkers for under £40. The food also shoots for the moon, with indulgent plates including smoked eel with caviar and a whole roast duck with cep gratin.
5 Trebeck St, W1J 7LT
Continuing in the spirit of the great Battersea facelift is this new Italian restaurant and wine bar, which has taken over a disused railway arch near Battersea Park. It’s a ‘ring the doorbell and wait for the waiter’ job once you’ve arrived, but inside is surprisingly elegant, with lots of candles and chic wood panelling. Wines are mostly Italian and reasonably priced, and you should stay for a pasta, if you’ve got the time – it’ll be cooked by ex-River Café chef, Alex Owens.
65 Queen's Circus, SW8 4NE
The White Horse, Mayfair
Having opened in 2021, The White Horse isn’t quite a newcomer, but we couldn’t leave it out as, being both a pub and a wine bar, it’s the most quintessentially British option in this article. Its list, curated by Hedonism Wines, offers almost 20 wines by the glass, but the bottles are the real draw – including a 2016 Barolo and 2017 le Petit Cheval Blanc. Plus, its cosy décor encapsulates the best aspects of pub culture in an elevated way – think squashy couches, communal tables, and a number of fireplaces.
5 White Horse St, W1J 7LQ
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