WINE BARS

London’s wine bar scene has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. Far from stuffy old places, London has embraced the Parisian style of clean modern wine bars with unpretentious staff championing independent winemakers. Many specialise in natural or biodynamic wines, and all now offer a great selection of food too. One of our favourites, Weino BIB in Dalston even focuses on boxed wines which are more sustainable as they use less glass and packaging. So if you’re wondering where the best wine bars in London are, well you’ve come to the right place.

Best Wine Bars in London Highlights

The Drop is a cute little wine bar with organic and low intervention wines and a pretty banging menu of snacks and heartier dishes. The space is very cute and perfect for a wine bar with exposed brick walls and low arched ceilings due to the building’s heritage as a coal store.

Weino BIB started life as a pop-up serving wines from bags in a box making them not only better for the environment but also cost effective too, which essentially means you get cheaper glasses of great vino. The wines are mostly natural and you can also bring your own bottle which you can fill up from the boxes and kegs to take-home.

During the day St Paul a great place to sit and have a coffee or lunch from the menu of sandwiches, eggs, toasties, and pastries but at night it turns into a proper wine bar. The owners are very friendly and welcoming and talk you through the wines and food with great enthusiasm – this is something they are clearly very passionate about. St Paul is a place to spend a few hours trying different wines and grazing on small plates of charcuterie and cheese.

THE NOOK

The nook wine bar highbury

We love a new wine bar opening up, especially when it’s in our hood, so we were very happy to see The Nook appear in Highbury, in the little site that was the original Prawn on the Lawn and then Linden Stores. The Nook is run by husband and wife duo Lale and Angus Oztek-Pook and they fit right into the space with a menu of casual dishes taking in everything from cheese and charcuterie to hummus and cauliflower fritters. There’s also some EPIC roast potatoes with homemade ketchups and sauces. Wines on offer are a good mixture of classic and natural wines from Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Georgia, Armenia and even from London’s Renegade in Bethnal Green. If you don’t want to eat in, you can get all the dishes to takeaway as well as homemade condiments, cheese and charcuterie from the deli. And you can even pick up some vinyl too as Angus has a selection of records from independent labels for sale.

TOP CUVÉE

Top Cuvée, Blackstock Road, London, UK

Top Cuvée, a wine bar and restaurant that recently opened in Finsbury Park, is pretty much the perfect neighbourhood restaurant. It’s got relatively simple but very well executed dishes at reasonable prices; it’s got an interesting wine list with some excellent natural, biodynamic wines; and it’s got very friendly service by genuinely welcoming people with not a hint of ego. The Top Cuvée team consists of Brodie Meah (who worked at Dinner by Heston when it moved to Melbourne) and Max and Noel Venning of Three Sheets cocktail bar, plus Dan Miller in the kitchen, who previously worked at Naughty Piglets. We can definitely recommend sharing a few dishes, beginning with the croquettes; hot crispy spheres stuffed with sweet potato and sage. The burrata with pickled carrots and hazelnuts is another winner but the must order of the smaller plates has to be the beef and smoked eel tartare with wild garlic – may not sound like an obvious combo but man does it work.

FARE BAR + CANTEEN

Fare Bar + Canteen, Old Street, London, UK

Any new project from Michael Sager is bound to be a success and with his latest opening, Fare Bar + Canteen, he’s got another hit on his hands. Offering more than your straight up wine bar, there’s also a takeaway coffee area, strong cocktail list and seperate restaurant as well as the 250-strong Sager + Wilde curated wine list sourced directly from boutique winemakers across the world. In the kitchen is Thomas Raymond, who used to work at Ellory, cooking a menu of small plates, grilled skewers and larger sharing dishes. We loved the ​Cylindra Beetroot; Fried Globe Artichoke; and Fare’s Wet Burger – Red devon beef patty, sweet paprika and sour cucumber. All in all, Fare Bar + Canteen is a great addition to London’s wine bar scene.

THE DROP

Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches Coal Drops Yard London, N1C 4DH

The Drop is a cute little wine bar with organic and low intervention wines and a pretty banging menu of snacks and heartier dishes. The space is very cute and perfect for a wine bar with exposed brick walls and low arched ceilings due to the building’s heritage as a coal store. On the food front you should definitely start with the marinated black Angus, thin slices of raw beef that really do melt in the mouth. The Hedone bread with salted butter is pretty hard to say no to as well. From the small plates, our faves are roasted squash with onions and sage and the chicken liver pate and beetroot salad, and the guinea fowl and girolle mushroom pie also hits the spot. Instead of dessert, get a plate of cheeses and a glass of red wine to finish – this is is a bleedin’ wine bar after all.

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WEINO BIB

Weino BIB, Balls Pond Road, London, UK

Weino BIB started life as a pop-up serving wines from bags in a box, making them not only better for the environment but also cost effective too, which essentially means you get cheaper glasses of great vino. The wines are mostly natural and you can also bring your own bottle, which you can fill up from the boxes and kegs to take-home. The food menu which is put together with ingredients from the deli also available to take home and sourced from the best local suppliers – Cobble Lane and Dusty Knuckle to name just a couple. The creamy goose rillette, sobrasada with honey on toast and fresh burrata ravioli are all winners and there’s a build-your-own cheese board from the fridge – essential wine snacks. It’s a bit DIY inside but it works and feels a bit Parisian hipster, plus it’s cheap and you can stock up on your refills of the essentials during your dinner – milk, pasta sauces, juices the LOT.

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ST PAUL

St Paul Islington Cafe, Saint Paul's Road, Highbury East, London, UK

During the day St Paul a great place to sit and have a coffee or lunch from the menu of sandwiches, eggs, toasties, and pastries but at night it turns into a proper wine bar. The owners are very friendly and welcoming and talk you through the wines and food with great enthusiasm – this is something they are clearly very passionate about so it’s easy to spend a few hours trying different wines and grazing on small plates of charcuterie and cheese. The selection of salamis served with cornichons and chutney, and the creamy rabbit rillettes are great, and don’t miss the epic whole baked Camembert or the ‘nduja on toast.

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ANTIDOTE

Antidote Wine Bar and Restaurant, Newburgh Street, London, UK

Downstairs at Antidote, which is just off Carnaby Street, is more familiar wine bar territory, a casual space where you can enjoy wines by the glass and snacks from a short menu while perched on stools. Upstairs is a more formal, though still relaxed dining room, where an a la carte menu is on offer. You can expect dishes like red mullet and cauliflower in a sweet tomato broth, perfectly-pink Hereford beef, turbot with lovage and sea aster, and caramelised black figs, whipped fresh cheese and damsons. Wine pairings with each course are all perfect, naturally. A four course tasting menu is £40 here, which for the quality of food is an absolute bargain

GORDON'S WINE BAR

Gordon's Wine Bar, Villiers Street, London, UK

No round up of London’s best wine bars would be complete without Gordon’s. Established in 1890, it’s the oldest wine bar in London, and stepping inside is like going back in time. There’s candlelit caves, aged wooden walls, and of course a fantastic selection of wines, sherry, port and Madeira. They have an epic selection of cheeses, as well as a few other snacks like pork pies and Scoth eggs too. In the summer, they have a long row of tables set up outside, making it one of the summer’s best outdoor drinking spots as well as one of London’s best wine bars. A true classic.

SAGER + WILDE WINE BAR

The British Lion, 193 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL, UK

The original Sager + Wilde wine bar on Hackney Road can be credited with kickstarting a new breed of wine bars across London. It’s still one of London’s best, dark and cosy with a great selection of wines by the glass at non-ridiculous markups. As well as being a great place to discover and drink new wines, they also knock out one of London’s best cheese toasties, plus charcuterie and other nibbles. One of our all time faves.

HECTOR'S

49a Ardleigh Rd, London N1 4HS, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Hector’s, run by former Hill & Szrok partner Jimmy Stephenson and his wife actor Anna Shaffer (along with the backing of current Hill & Szrok owner Luca Mathiszig-Lee), takes inspo from the bars of Paris, San Sebastian and Lisbon, and brings those European vibes to De Beauvoir. During the day it runs as a coffee shop, serving pastries and Climpson’s brews, and a bottleshop stocked with a range of classic and natty wines. In the evenings (from Thurs – Sun), it flips into a wine bar with vino available by the glass and bottle, alongside small plates like Cantabrian anchovies in olive oil, courgette carpaccio with fresh cheese, tins of sardines on toast, pate-en-croute and bocadillos like tortilla with red peppers and jamon con tomate, with guest chefs coming in to cook too.

QUALITY WINES

Quality Wines, Farringdon Road, London, UK

Quality Wines, the offshoot wine bar from Quality Chop House, has a rotating selection of wines by the glass and bottles on the shelves available for drinking in. There’s also a full small plates menu, devised by former sous chef Nick Bramham so you can make a proper evening of it. The dishes will be changing regularly but you can expect the likes of violet artichoke with tropea onion, burrata and mint; torched sardines with pine nuts, raisins and fennel; pig fat cannoli with whipped ricotta and pistachios; and seasonal sorbet with frozen vodka. Even if you’re only popping in for a quick glass of vino, it’d be rude not to have at least one little plate…

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BOTTLES

BOTTLES, Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, London, UK

Bottles is an Italian wine bar from the co-founders of Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano. Teaming up with SOOD Family, who look after the kitchen, Bottles is where your relationship with wine is taken up a notch or two. It’s a beautiful spot, with exposed bricks, vintage fruit crates, distressed leather stools and a gold and blue theme. The wine list, as you’d imagine is extensive, but you’ll be in good hands as every member of the Bottles team is a sommelier in their own right. From sparkling rose, a crisp and sharp Malibran ‘Sottoriva’ Col Fondo Nv Italy Veneto, paired with cacio and pepe rice balls with pecorino and mozzarella to handmade spaghetti all’ amatriciana paired with an Antonio Camillo Morellino Di Scansano, a strong but not heavy red, the wine and food is perfectly matched.

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LADY OF THE GRAPES

Lady of The Grapes, Maiden Lane, London, UK

Run by Carole Bryon, Lady of the Grapes focuses on female winemakers, with more than half of the organic, natural and biodynamic vinos on the 80-strong list made by women. As well as the wine (which you can buy to take away), Lady of the Grapes also serves a food menu designed by Victor Garvey of Rambla. It’s seasonal and regularly changing, with a mix of sharing boards and larger plates on offer, so expect dishes like mussels and clams with bone marrow, and steak tartare with ceps and kohlrabi. If you can’t sit in, there’s be a deli full of cheeses, charcuterie and other grocery produce so you can pick up everything you need for a wine night at home.

FOREST BAR + KITCHEN

13 Essex Cl, Walthamstow, London E17 6JS, UK

Forest Bar + Kitchen is from the people behind Forest Wines, also on Forest Road, which has been selling organic wines to the good people of E17 for a few years now. And now Forest Bar + Kitchen is giving locals a place to come and drink and eat around a big communal table with a short menu and, of course, lots of organic and biodynamic wines from small producers. The food menu changes every week, but it could include the likes of a cheddar and kimchi toastie; mussels, ‘nduja and fried bread; braised pork belly with cannellini bean mash; and dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel brittle.

YARDARM

238 Francis Road, London E10 6NQ, UK

Run by couple Eliza and Dan, Yardarm is a wine shop that stocks wines (duh!) spirits, beer, coffee and deli food, and all the produce stocked inside is stuff that the pair genuinely like, with a focus on independent producers and low intervention wines. There’s a sharing table in the back where you can get involved in tastings or just pop in for a glass of wine and a cheese board at the bar. It’s a real local gem.

40 MALTBY STREET

40 Maltby St, London SE1 3PA, UK

Owned by Gergovie Wines, 40 Maltby Street stocks a range of low-intervention wines, mainly from France, Italy and Slovenia, which you can buy to take home or to drink in. And you’ll want to drink in because the kitchen at 40 Maltby Street turns out some great grub, with the same ethos that’s applied to the wine. The European-influenced menu changes regularly with dishes like salsify fritters with aioli, pork terrine with pickled prunes and plaice with carrots and crab butter sauce appearing in the past.

NOBLE ROT

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, WC1N 3NB

Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling are the boys behind Noble Rot magazine (think Lucky Peach but all about the wonderful world of wine) and a wine bar and restaurant of the same name, with Stephen Harris of Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Kent in charge of the food. The site on Lamb’s Conduit Street was actually already a wine bar and the building itself dates back to 1700, so there is plenty of cosy charm to the place and it feels as if they’ve been doing their thing here for years already. In the front are tables for drinking and snacks and at the back there is a slightly more formal sit down restaurant. Wine is of course as big a focus as the food and these guys know their stuff so you’re in safe hands. The food menu is the perfect match; big flavoursome dishes but nothing overly complicated or fussy, like pork & walnut terrine, smoked eel with rhubarb & soda bread, braised monkfish with crab bisque, and chocolate mousse cake.

VINS

93 Grosvenor Ave, London N5 2NL, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Vins, a neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar in Canonbury, is small, cute, cosy and a go-to for a ‘quick’ wine. As the name suggests, wine is central to the experience at Vins, where low intervention winemaking from small artisan producers is championed. Owner Vinny Burke’s tasting notes litter the wine list, and Vinny himself is always on hand for extra advice, which definitely helps with the decision making. They also serve up a simple set menu of three, four or five courses, so you can also really make a meal of it here.

THE BLACK BOOK

23 Frith St, London W1D 4RR, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Friday: 5:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Saturday: 3:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Sunday: Closed

Former members’ club Trade is now The Black Book and it’s open to everyone. Co-founders Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset are both master sommeliers so you know the wine is on point. The list includes more than 25 wines by the glass under £10 as well as rare vintages on at lower price points than you’d typically see at restaurants (although we’re still talking three figures for a bottle). The Black Book also serves a brasserie style menu to complement all the wine, with dishes including burrata with figs & red onion compote, pan fried cod with autumnal ratatouille, onglet with peppercorn sauce & hand-cut chips, and salted caramel & chocolate tart. And with the bar staying open late it’s a good one to have up your sleeve for those times when you’re not ready to go home.

RENEGADE URBAN WINERY

Arch 12 Gales Gardens, London E2 0EJ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 2:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 2:00 – 10:30 PM

Inside railway arches in Bethnal Green isn’t the first place you’d look for a winery but it’s where you’ll find one. Renegade is an urban winery that buys grapes from across the UK and Europe and turns them into wine right here in London. Their wines change year on year, depending on the grapes they get, and they rarely repeat a style, so every bottle (instantly recognisable thanks to their face labels) you drink from here really is special. You can buy bottles to take home but its best to pull up a chair inside, or grab one of the outside tables in the alley if it’s sunny, and crack them open right then and there.

NEWCOMER WINES

5 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF, United Kingdom

Dalston wine bar, Newcomer Wines, is all about quality and no-fuss wines, and although the shop traditionally has a broad selection of Austrian wines it also stocks vino from other countries that align with their speciality of the ‘New Old World’. Wherever the wines come from, they’re low-intervention and terroir-driven. You can drink in the shop and they often host interesting kitchen residencies too.

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