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The words 'wine bar' can conjure images as gruesomely diverse as pin-striped yuppies toppling off bar stools after blowing their bonuses, and sticky-floored chain bars where teenagers hold back each others hair outside. To assuage this dubious reputation, Fluid has put together a Top 10 guide to the Best Wine Bars that London has to offer. And no, Yates's Wine Lodge didn't make the cut. London's wine bars have so much to offer: top award-winning wine lists compiled by the UK's best sommeliers; wines by the glass; wines by the bottle, wines by the carafe; red wines; white wines; sparkling wines; new world wine; old world wine; English wine and possibly even wine with cheese.
28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen
Mayfair / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: French
Situated centrally in Mayfair, this wine workshop and kitchen offers a top quality dining and drinking experience in a relaxed environment in a similar style to their other branches in Marylebone and Fetter Lane. You can choose from over 30 wines by the glass or bottle. On their ground floor is the group's first ever Champagne bar with an incredible choice of 40-50 varieties, with 4 available by the glass. They also have an outdoor terrace at the front as well as al fresco dining at the rear.
West End / Restaurant / Cuisine: French
Terriors specialises in rare and biodynamic wines, that's where the vineyard plants with cycles of the moon or uses herbal sprays on the grapes. Nevermind that, though, because this wine bar is where wine buffs can get stuck into a brilliant selection with the guru-like staff. The house wines are quaffable and a bargain by the glass. Food - rustic, seasonal, inspired by France - is recommended, you can order a full dinner or just plates of curated charcuterie and cheese (you can curate cheese: dream career). Red wine, sour dough and lumps of oozing cheese: heaven.
Vivat Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Cellar
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: European
Holborn: Boasting 18,000 bottles in their five cellars, Vivat Bacchus specialises in South African wines but also offers bottles from France, Spain and the New World. Their regular Monday night Wine Club is perfect for those looking to learn more on the subject (or indeed those looking for an excuse to drink early in the week), though booking in advance is necessary.
Gordon's Wine Bar
West End / Bar /
Established in 1890, Gordon's is a bar with staying power, and judging by how busy it gets, even early on in the week, it's not going anywhere just yet. Largely underground, London's oldest wine bar is cavernous and candlelit with an unrivalled selection of wines. Spooky and atmospheric it's packed with character as well as customers. The wine and the food are basic but it's good fun to go for a romantic, candlelit smooch. Arrive early, it gets busy.
Fitzrovia / Bar / Cuisine: European
This hidden gem wine bar, tucked away in North Fitzrovia near Great Portland Street Tube station, is a cosy little hideaway where wine lovers can find a stool and a home for the evening amongst kindred spirits. With 250 bins to choose from, each from small independent producers, many organic or biodynamic, The Remedy will certainly keep you busy. Be sure to chat with Danny at the bar before making your choices. He will guide you on your very excellent adventure.
The Jones Family Project
Shoreditch / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Meat
The care that The Jones Family Project team put into sourcing their food is continued into their wine choices. More than 30 of their 100 wines are available by the glass or carafe as well as bottle. Their innovative list ranges in price from a very reasonable £19.50 to £145 for the fantastic Cheval des Andes and gives you the option of choosing by grape variety or region. Anyone interested in taking their wine knowledge further can join one of their excellent in house tasting sessions, Wine Club (for dinners with wine makers) or Cellar Club (to store your own wine in their cellars).
68 and Boston
Soho / Bar /
This Greek Street wine and cocktail bar offers the most innovative pricing structure for enjoying bottles of wine with a flat fee of £20 per bottle whether you order red or white wine or even a bottle of Prosecco. They have tried more than 250 bottles of wine to come up with this well-balanced menu. They also offer charcuterie and cheese boards to accompany the wine. On the 1st floor is their speciality cocktail bar.
Sager & Wilde
Hackney / Bar /
Symbolic of the creeping gentrification on Hackney Road, Sager + Wilde is an impeccably tasteful wine bar that ticks all the right boxes. Exposed brick walls, a cast-iron bar, reclaimed station lights and a Spartan arrangement of wine bottles - the venue practically screams refinement and restraint. It also stocks a considerable and ever-changing collection of wines, sold by the glass or bottle, from around the world. Some spirits, local beers and excellent bar snacks (from Androuet among others) have been thrown in for good measure, but the venue is all about the glory of the grape, in an unlikely location.
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (CVS)
West End / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: French
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (CVS) Seven Dials is the latest exciting addition to Covent Garden's eating and drinking establishments. The wine bar is the newest offering from the Experimental Cocktail Group, the guys behind the insanely popular Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) in London, New York and Paris. CVS offer an extensive wine list which changes on a weekly basis and features wines from independent producers all around the globe. As well as that, CVS also serves lunch and dinner, with a menu influenced by French flavours using locally sourced British ingredients.
Kings Cross / Bar / Cuisine: Spanish
Opposite the heaving behemoth of tapas megopolis, Camino, is its plucky little brother Bar Pepito. Tiny and cosy, it has barrel tables and a leg of jamon on the bar that will make you feel like you're in sunny Seville no matter how rainy the streets of Kings Cross might be. The short wine list is 100% Spanish but the real wine action here is fortified: sherry. From salty Manzanilla to Christmas pudding in a glass Pedro Ximinez, these little glasses will banish any bad memories of Granny's Bristol Cream. You can even book a barrel ahead, which you might need to as Bar Pepito is often busy with people enjoying plates of authentic tapas, pretending they're in Spain.
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