Top 10 Wine Bars and Shops in London
Londoners might be traditionally renowned for their obsession with craft ales in the local pub, but the city is finally falling in love with wine! What was once a mild interest has turned into a passion for some London locals, and this has lead to an increasing number of specialist shops and bars storing, serving and selling an incredible variety of wines from all over the world. And like the bouquet of any good red, things will only get better with time! With London’s wine culture flourishing, we've put together a guide to a diverse selection of the most interesting wine bars and shops in the city right now which every wine lover should pin on their maps.
By Anna Kerekes
There’s nothing like a perfectly executed wine bar, where you can sip your way around the world and nibble on small plates all within the confines of an intimate bar. These bars, our favourites, are all relaxed venues (no dress code), but are popular with locals and can get busy - so we’d recommend booking ahead.
Antidote Wine Bar and Restaurant
Try a glass of something unusual and share a few tasty nibbles at this petite spot that’s nestled away in trendy Carnaby. A charming, busy little wine bar on the ground floor, Antidote is exactly that - the perfect antidote away from the hustle and bustling of nearby Oxford and Regent Streets with their brightly lit chain stores. Offering charcuterie, cheeses and mostly biodynamic and organic French wines, savour your glass of wine and indulge in something delicious alongside it, but if you get hungry whilst you nibble some olives and fresh sourdough, head upstairs for a more comfy restaurant serving a European menu.
12A Newburgh St, Carnaby, London W1F 7RR
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Seven Dials
This bar has a sister joint in Paris and provides one of the most upmarket takes on wine and cheese in the city. Literally translated as “The Supernatural Wine Company”, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels has an impressive wine list which includes a variety of wines from lesser-known producers and unusual grape blends. Fine charcuterie and cheeses as well as delicious British food with a French twist is on the menu to accompany your vin, so you’re in for a treat!
8-10 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP
Sager + Wilde
A bar top made from the reclaimed glass bricks of London street lights, tiny, candle lit tables and an exposed brick facade all contribute to the intimate yet industrial chic atmosphere of of neighbourhood joint. You’ll be presented with a short but well chosen list of wines which changes daily depending on what’s available, or as its owners say, according to ‘what old cellars we raid’. If you were to imagine the wine bar of your dreams and all the charming qualities it would possess - knowledgable and friendly staff, wine served by the glass, a menu of small plates and what is probably the best toasted cheese sandwich in London (and quite possibly the world) - you would probably be dreaming of Sager + Wilde. It’s the perfect date night spot, or to pop in for a glass after visiting Columbia Road Flower Market.
193 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL
Vagabond Wines Charlotte St
If you find yourself in central London, and in need of an excellent wine bar (we’ve all been there at some point), the answer to your prayers is Vagabond Wines on Charlotte Street. However they are first and foremost a wine shop or ‘enoteca’, with the mission to enable anyone to sample and discover over 100 wines by the glass without the commitment and pressure of a classic bar or restaurant wine list situation. The idea is simple: you get a card which allows you to choose whichever wine you fancy and you’ll be poured a taster. If you’d like to learn how to tell a Cabernet Sauvignon apart from a Merlot, this is a good place to start learning. If you like what you’ve sipped, you can go ahead and order a glass but if not, on to the next one! And unlike many other central bars, you can book a table.
25 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RW
If you’re after a more classic wine bar experience, where together with an excellent, carefully selected wine list you can also find sophisticated food, then 28º–50º is the place for you. There are 3 locations, including the sister restaurant Texture, all in central London. In Marylebone, the Wine Workshop and Kitchen is an elegant wine bar and restaurant in the heart of one of the most beautiful corner of London, and their bright and luxurious upstairs dining space is perfect to taste excellent food from the stylish modern European daily-changing menu.
15-17 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2NE
Tucked away in an inauspicious location amongst some of London’s most iconic tourist attractions, Terroirs is a real gem of a wine bar and bistro. Many of the wines found here are natural and organically produced, and are expertly paired with simple small plates and sharing platters of cheeses and charcuterie. With an atmosphere resembling a traditional subterranean bar in Paris’s Left Bank, you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away on a cloud of cheese and wine to France, where you’ll probably be inclined to stay a while. The wine list is unsurprisingly exceptional, and the bar staff both extremely knowledgeable and approachable. Terroirs is a firm favourite with theatre goers and workers in the area, and it's easy to see why.
5 William IV St, London WC2N 4DN
However, if you’re after something special to take back home or you’d prefer to pick up a bottle to sip in your hotel room, here’s our pick of places which sell excellent wines, from affordable “house” wines to luxurious once-in-a-lifetime bottles.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain’s oldest wine merchant, having been founded in 1698 at 3 St. James's Street. The company started out selling coffee, and then diversified into cocoa, tea, snuff, spices, and other exotic goods, quickly becoming one of London’s most fashionable grocers. Their flagship shop is now at 63 Pall Mall, just around the corner from our historic home. This new space, opened in 2017, offers an extraordinary range of wines and spirits, from £10 to £10,000 a bottle, and each one comes with the same world-class service and advice that you expect of BBR.
63 Pall Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5HZ
Borough Wines began life as a humble stall in London’s iconic Borough Market, and today, there are eight shops London–wide. If nothing else this is testament to their passion and commitment to sharing excellent wine with us lucky Londoners. Their handpicked range of over three hundred wines includes a number of natural, organic and biodynamic bottles as well as a diverse selection of local and international craft beers and boutique spirits. Borough Wines also pioneered the environment (and wallet!) friendly wine and beer refill system. The wines are mainly French, Italian and Spanish, and tend to come from smaller producers, family firms and slightly quirky outfits. The shops are welcoming and informal, staffed by clued-up young teams, and have a neighbourhood feel. Cheers to that!
Borough Market, Borough High St, SE1 1TL
In the heart of London’s elegant Mayfair, Hedonism is unsurprisingly quite hedonistic. A fine wine and spirits boutique which is run by a team made up of dedicated wine specialists, many of whom are former sommeliers from Michelin starred restaurants, you’ll be presented by with a large selection of some of the world’s finest bottles. From pre-prohibition Bourbons to pre-phylloxera Cognacs, from hard-to-find Napa Cabs to Sauternes from the 1800s, the space feels a little like a museum of wine, and you could spend hours perusing the labels on offer. If you’re looking for something special, this is the place to go.
3-7 Davies St, Mayfair, London W1K 3LD
What’s in a name? Well thankfully for us, as is implied here, quite a lot. At The Sampler, you’ll have the opportunity to taste something new, and take your tastebuds on an adventurous discovery into new worlds of wine all without leaving their laid back shop. Swapping central bars where you might feel like you have no idea where to start for their independent, neighbourhood joint in Islington you’ll be rewarded with an interesting selection of wine for all tastes. You can sample a few bottles, some of which are rather rare and unusual, or for an alternative afternoon head there on a Sunday. Not your traditional Sunday school, these are informal tastings where you can explore a region, grape or theme. They last about an hour and you don't need any prior knowledge to join a small group of likeminded people and enjoy. They are normally at 4PM and affordable (£20 per session).
266 Upper St, London N1 2UQ