London for wine lovers 2019

London skyline in a wine bottle

What it says on the tin, updated for this summer’s influx of visitors. 

This article has long proved especially popular and we try to update it regularly. London continues to offer a huge range of wine-related diversions, and  an amazing array of professional tasting opportunities, as outlined in London, capital for wine. This guide represents many decades of accumulated insider knowledge from our team and we’ve also tried to add the latest developments and newest openings, but would welcome any further suggestions. We'd particularly welcome feedback on some of the newer names in this  May 2019 listing from Time Out.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions for further inclusions, or if you spot any mistakes, via the contact form.

The guide is divided into the following sections – click to jump to the relevant part.

  • Sights – the essential wine locations for the tourist
  • Wine shops – where to buy wine in the capital
  • Wine bars – a hand-picked selection of the best spots for informal wine drinking, where food is often simple
  • Wine-minded restaurants – where wine is of equal importance to food
  • Wine-minded clubs – the burgeoning category of members' clubs with a wine theme
  • Further afield – other wine-related places to visit within a short distance of London

SIGHTS

St James's Street remains the spiritual home of wine in London. The road itself has several famous merchant names above its doors. Justerini & Brooks has offices here, though not a conventional shop, whereas Berry Bros & Rudd opened a very smart new retail operation in spring 2017, around the corner from their previous address, on Pall Mall. It contains a fantastic range of wine and spirits from all corners of the world, and if you ask in advance you might get a peak at the labyrinthine cellars that lie beneath the road.

On the opposite side of Pall Mall is 67 Pall Mall, a club dedicated to all things wine and which boasts an extraordinary range of bottles at very reasonable prices. The catch is that only members are admitted – much like the other neighbouring clubs such as Boodle's, Brooks's, The Reform Club and dozens more. Anyone can gain access to the auction houses, however, and there are regular wine sales at Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams. Nearby, go window shopping at Hedonism (see below for a picture and more details), London's largest wine shop featuring some of its most spectacular bottles.

If you venture south west, the urban winery London Cru is a small operation near Earl's Court that offers guided tours by appointment. Their gimmick is to import grapes from mainland Europe to ferment in London – and the results can be seriously impressive. Apart from Chelsea Football Club, there is not much else in the immediate vicinity to entice the tourist. Other urban wineries include Renegade in E2 (see below under wine bars) and Blackbook in Battersea.

Of strictly historical interest is Vintners' Hall, an ancient yet active livery company in the City of London, the financial district. It is not normally open to the public, and this ancient part of London has in the past catered primarily for busy commuters in finance rather than tourists, but see The City wakes up at the weekend on how this is changing.

Foodie markets such as Maltby Street and Borough Market (both near London Bridge) have several interesting wine stalls and are delightful for wandering and grazing. Several times a year, London hosts large consumer wine events such as RAW WINE, The Real Wine Fair, Three Wine Men, The Wine Gang, Wine Car Boot and Festival of Wine, which can easily take up an entire day for the committed vinophile.

WINE SHOPS

These listings are grouped roughly by geographical region, and represent a hand-picked selection of London's best independent wine retailers. See also the London addresses in our Where to buy listing. The supermarket chains (Aldi, Asda, the Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose) between them have by far the biggest slice of the UK wine market but the quality rarely matches what the indies can offer. We regularly publish reports on their current offering by our retail specialist Andy Howard MW.

Central London and West End

  • 10 Cases in Endell St, Covent Garden, has a Cave à Vin just next door to their popular bistro, offering a great selection of wines to take home, to taste from their Enomatic machines, or to enjoy by the glass, carafe and bottle with charcuterie and cheese in the shop.
  • Albion Wines in Lamb's Conduit Street, near Russell Square tube station, has been going strong for over 30 years supplying the trade and private customers with an interesting selection. Enomatic machines in-store for tasting wine.
  • Fortnum & Mason has, like Selfridges, a wine shop on the premises.
  • Hedonism, 3-7 Davies Street, London W1, is by far the most luxurious central London wine store. Owned by a Russian tax exile, it is an extraordinary treasure trove of bottles of interest to anyone seriously interested in wine with, for instance, Yquems and Sine Qua Nons coming out of its ears. Prices are not as sky-high as one might expect and there are usually some tip-top wines on taste by the glass. Many a wine lover could spend hours in here. Under the same ownership is Hide, a sprawling restaurant on Piccadilly that offers Hedonism’s entire wine list – at a suitable mark-up, of course.
  • Jeroboams, fine-wine stores dotted around central London, and Muswell Hill, with a pretty good selection and good service. The retail side of Laytons.
  • Lady of the Grapes in Covent Garden stocks wine from small organic, biodynamic or low-input vineyards, and more than 70% of the wines on the list are made by women. They have a little wine bar/brasserie in the shop.
  • Philglas & Swiggot specialise in hand-picked wines, notably but not exclusively Australian. Now owned by Irish retailer O’Briens, but managed by Justin Knock MW and his business partner Damien Jackman. They have a branch in Marylebone and another in Battersea.
  • Planet of the Grapes occupies a very handsome shop on Sicilian Avenue in Holborn, where you can drink and eat on the premises. They also operate shop-bar hybrids in the City.
  • Selfridges' wine shop doubles as a comfortable wine bar in the basement with a particularly wide range.
  • Vagabond Wines have five branches in total, two of which are in central London, on Charlotte Street and near Victoria station. All of them have Enomatics allowing a wide range of wines to be tasted. A sixth branch is due to open near Paddington station in the summer of 2019.
  • The Winemakers Club opened in 2014 under the vaulted arches of Holborn Viaduct as an outlet for the independent importer of the same name, and offers an eclectic selection of wine to take away as well as a bijou wine-bar area. They recently added a wine bar and restaurant in Deptford, south London.

City and east

  • Bottle Apostle has branches in Victoria Park and Stratford's East Village offering sampling via Enomatic machines. They also operate in Clapham in south London, and Primrose Hill and Crouch End in north London.
  • Borough Wines, has operations in Borough Market, Hackney, Clerkenwell and Columbia Road as well as several others elsewhere. Strong on off-piste wines from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Borough Wines is well known for offering its customers wine straight from the barrel, sfuso style.
  • Burgess & Hall – see below under wine bars.
  • Dynamic Vines 'To capitalise on the increasing popularity of Maltby Street (and the surrounding area), this importer of (predominantly) biodynamic wines now opens on Saturdays to sell directly to the public' (Purple Pager Dave Stenton).
  • Newcomer Wines offers up to 250 wines in its range, the vast majority from Austria. Previously based in Shoreditch's pop-up Boxpark, they now have a permanent premises on Dalston Lane, E8.
  • New Street Wine is close to Liverpool Street and belongs to the D&D group, who operate several wine-friendly restaurants across London. They have an eclectic range of wines that can be taken away or enjoyed on site at a very reasonable corkage charge. Their small but frequently refreshed wine list offers an interesting selection, generally a little off the beaten track (in tasting-size pours or full glasses), along with small bites. Relaxed atmosphere and good service.
  • Noble Fine Liquor, a newish shop on Broadway Market run by two young Kiwis. Natural wines from the Loire rub shoulders with rare burgundy and New Zealand's Pyramid Valley. They also work closely with the small Italian importer Tutto Wines so are one of the few UK stockists of the excellent Ar Pe Pe Nebbiolos.
  • P Franco 'Sister shop to Noble Fine Liquor, has opened on Lower Clapton Road (which is unrecognisable compared with when I lived just off it up until two years ago: I counted at least a dozen new businesses as I walked along it on Saturday evening). It's a wine shop but they're also licensed to sell wines by the glass, so morphs into a bar in the evenings.' (Purple Pager Dave Stenton).
  • Pont de la Tour is the very well-stocked wine store attached to the restaurant of the same name on the south side of Tower Bridge. Excellent and unpredictable selection but fairly robust pricing. (See the D&D website for details of all their operations.)
  • Quality Wines opened in 2018 as the retail and wine bar hybrid offshoot of The Quality Chop House. Run by Gus Gluck, it boasts an interesting hand-picked range of wines covering every conceivable style, and is particularly good value for drinking on the premises.
  • Theatre of Wine's most recent location is Leytonstone, where their interesting range goes beyond the obvious. Rather off the beaten track, but worth a visit if you are nearby. Their other branches are in Greenwich and Tufnell Park.
  • Uncorked is small but strong on classic regions and with a very knowledgeable team. City prices, but you get what you pay for.
  • The Wine Library, an independent wine shop which has been going since 1988, sells great wine and was also a pioneer of the onsite wine bar. They charge an incredibly reasonable £8.50 corkage to drink their wines with French cheeses and English hams as a buffet lunch, or aperitifs between 6 pm and 8 pm.

West

  • Huntsworth Wine Co is next to the Kensington Church Street branch of Lea & Sandeman (see below). Strong burgundy and bordeaux focus but there's a smattering of hand-picked wines from further afield.
  • Lea & Sandeman have four branches across west London, in Kensington, Chelsea, Barnes and Chiswick. These bright, modern shops offer a wide range of individually chosen wines. The selection is particularly strong on Tuscany, Rhône, burgundy and south-west France.
  • Vindinista, 74 Churchfield Road, Acton. Strong focus on biodynamic, organic and minimal-intervention wines.
  • The Winery in Clifton Road, London W9. Excellent hand-picked, actually foot-driven, selection from anywhere that owner David Motion has recently visited. Dry Germans are a speciality.

North

  • Bottle Apostle (see City and east) has branches in Primrose Hill and Crouch End.
  • Borough Wines (see City and east) has branches in Islington, Stoke Newington and Kensal Rise.
  • Highbury Vintners – fantastic selection of wine but also a wide range of microbrewery beers.
  • The Sampler is a very useful shop in Upper Street, Islington, which offers a rotating range of very fine wines indeed by the 25 ml pour and also has one of the UK's most wide-ranging selections of fine wines available anywhere retail. Their South Kensington branch has relocated to Wimbledon and they have a third in Putney.
  • Theatre of Wine have a shop full of surprises in Tufnell Park, N19.
  • Yield brings natural wine (and beer, charcuterie and cheese) to Newington Green in their shop/bar hybrid.
  • Zelas is a wine shop and grocer in Highbury with the best selection of Bulgarian wines in the country, we are reliably informed, as well as natural wines from elsewhere in the world.

South

  • Artisan & Vine in Putney sells boutique wine, craft beer and artisan coffee.
  • Bottle Apostle (see City and east) has a branch in Clapham.
  • Borough Wines (see City and east) has a branch on Battersea Park Road.
  • City Wine Collection in Richmond sells mainly fine wine from France, Italy and Spain.
  • D Vine Cellars, North Clapham, always have 16 wines on Enomatic machines for tasting, along with charcuterie and cheese to nibble on while assessing the relative merits of their 'niche, ethical and artisan' wine selection.
  • Eagle's Wines in Clapham Junction looks like a bog standard off-licence but has an unexpectendly interesting selection, especially of Australian wine.
  • The Good Wine Shop has two shops in Kew and Chiswick selling wines from small producers.
  • Handford Wines, on Old Brompton Road, SW7. Small, very personal shop whose stock is driven by passion and interest – especially good at burgundy, southern French, South African and Portuguese table wines.
  • Haynes Hanson & Clark in Elystan Street, just off Chelsea Green, SW3. Master of Wine Anthony Hanson is buying consultant. Burgundy a speciality but good-value Bordeaux and much else besides.
  • New Zealand Wine Cellar opened at Pop Brixton in May 2015 thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that showed how much support there was for Mel Brown's project – in London and back in New Zealand. Winner of the Decanter 2015 award for Specialist New Zealand retailer.
  • Philglas & Swiggot specialise in hand-picked wines, notably but not exclusively Australian. Now owned by Justin Knock MW and his business partner Damien Jackman. They have branches in Battersea and Marylebone.
  • The Sampler has moved its Kensington store to Wimbledon. They also have a branch in Putney.
  • Theatre of Wine started in Greenwich but also has branches in north and east London. It has an eclectic range of wine and is run with great passion. The shops are far better than the website!
  • Unwined is a wine bar, shop and kitchen in Tooting market that comes recommended by several members. They have another wine bar in Waterloo. 
  • Vagabond Wines has three branches in south London, located in Fulham, Battersea and Clapham. All of them have Enomatics allowing a wide range of wines to be tasted.
  • The Wine Place in South Kensington was London's first wine shop dedicated entirely to Italy, and they have a suitably broad range in a modern shop with friendly staff. They now have a wine bar in Covent Garden market too.
  • The Wine Tasting Shop in Balham is run by Julia Michael, 'the very engaging owner' – a recommendation from Purple Pager and winemaker Jonathan Hesford. They have 400 wines available to take home as well as 20+ available by the glass, as well as cheese, charcuterie and other snacks. Themed tastings take place every Thursday, and they have live music at the weekends.

WINE BARS

The difference between a wine bar, a wine shop and a wine restaurant is not always easy to discern these days, but this category is devoted to establishments which primarily provide informal wine drinking with some food available, and where you might be also be able to take bottles away, retail-style.

Central London and West End

  • Antidote, just off Carnaby Street, is a wine bar that has been around for a while but seemed to escape people's attention. However, Mikael Jonnson – he of renowned Chiswick restaurant Hedone – gave the menu a shot in the arm during his two-year consultancy there. Wines are organic and biodynamic, mainly French.
  • Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is a wine bar in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, with a nice little courtyard. It's good but a little bit pricey and although it does focus on natural wines, as its name suggests, it has plenty of more conventional choices.
  • Cork & Bottle is one of several of the old guard of wine bars, in the tourist epicentre of London, Leicester Square. They now have branches in Hampstead and Paddington.
  • Ducksoup in Soho has a focus on natural wine (and it pays to ask for a taste before committing to a glass). Their offspring Little Duck ('a fermenting kitchen and wine bar') and Rawduck in Dalston and London Fields respectively.
  • Fortnum & Mason has, like Selfridges, a wine bar as well as a wine shop on the premises.
  • Gordon's is the oldest wine bar in London, a popular cave-style haunt that is nearly always crowded and has recently expanded to sprawl over the path that runs alongside it.
  • Lady of the Grapes in Covent Garden serves organic, biodynamic and natural wine (most of it made by women) in their cosy brasserie-style wine bar/wine shop with small plates of well-sourced food. They also do takeaway food.
  • Noble Rot, the Lamb's Conduit Street wine bar and restaurant that grew out of the mould-breaking eponymous publication. Great meeting place for oenophiles and a wine list put together by real wine obsessives. Reviewed by Nick here. A second branch in Soho was in the works in summer 2019.
  • The Remedy is 'a small wine bar in Fitzrovia that has been open for a while now but seems to operate slightly under the radar. It's run by Terroirs alumni' (Purple Pager Dave Stenton). The wine list changes frequently and has a very good selection of madeira, including some pretty old bottles, and orange wines, along with lots of other interesting picks from smaller producers.
  • Selfridge's recently refurbished wine bar is definitely worth checking out when on Oxford Street.
  • Shampers is, with Gordon's and Cork & Bottle, one of London's old-fashioned stalwart wine bars, much beloved and conveniently situated on the western edge of Soho.
  • Terroirs – see under restaurants.
  • Vini Italiani is a wine bar in Covent Garden market, serving Italian food and wine in a casual bar setting all day.

City and east

  • Under the rumbling railway arches of London Bridge you'll find 40 Maltby Street – more wine-bar-serving-food than restaurant. The small plates cooked to order in their postage-stamp kitchen are delicious and the wine list is full of unusual gems featuring a lot of natural and biodynamic producers. You can take a bottle home at retail price, and the mark-ups are transparently low.
  • Burgess & Hall comes highly recommended by our own Julia Harding, who says 'Brilliant and eclectic selection of wines by the glass – which you can taste before you choose – and by the bottle with modest corkage (£8). Mostly from small importers. Very good value. No food yet but you can order in pizza or from other local takeaways. They also do jazz nights once a month.'
  • Planet of the Grapes has four wine bars: in the city at Bow Lane (with restaurant); Leadenhall Market (this and Bow Lane are shops as well where you can buy to take away or drink in with a simple flat corkage rate of £10 on top of the retail price); Moorgate, where the famous Fox umbrella shop has become Fox Fine Wines (with restaurant and private dining room); and now back in Holborn, where they started out.
  • Quality Wines just round the corner from Exmouth Market in Farringdon, EC1 is under the same ownership at The Quality Chop House next door but is run autonomously with great flair by Gus Gluck and chef Nick Bramagh who have managed to create something of a salon atmosphere. Eclectic collection of wines is also offered for sale to take away.
  • Rawduck is the east London outpost of Ducksoup (see above), also with a natural wine bent. Little Duck in Dalston is a 'fermenting kitchen and wine bar', their workshop that includes a small restaurant space. 
  • Renegade in Bethnal Green is an urban winery making wine from grapes brought in from all over the world. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday as a wine bar and you can bring your own food.
  • Sager & Wilde in Hackney Road is one of the most interesting and buzziest wine bars with a particularly famous selection of great-value fine wines. They also have a restaurant in Paradise Row, Bethnal Green (see below).
  • The Wine Library on Trinity Square has a popular wine bar serving good cheese as well as a wine shop.

West

  • Bar Boulud is in smart Knightsbridge, in the basement of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, with a fine, mainly French, wine list and always something superior available by the glass.
  • Capote y Toros provides reliable tapas and over 100 different sherries.
  • The Kensington Wine Rooms, Fulham Wine Rooms and Brackenbury Wine Rooms were early adopters of Enomatic machines and have a wide selection available, including several more-expensive options. There is also a full menu available, and wine can be bought to take home.

North

  • The Drop is the Hart brothers of Barrafina fame’s wine bar in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross. It serves good-quality, simple food and offers wines with a natural bent.
  • Pepito is one of the earliest of London's many thriving sherry bars, a small but atmospheric space serving top tapas in informal surroundings near King's Cross.
  • 'Happily for me, Primeur has opened very close to where I live in Highbury. It's a really beautiful space (formerly a '70s car-repair shop, and retains some of the original features). I've eaten there three times in as many weeks; standing room only on my most recent visit. Short-ish wine list (but I think it's expanding) with emphasis on Italy and Alsace (one of the co-owners is from Alsace)' (Purple Pager Dave Stenton).
  • Trangallán, 'a short walk from Primeur on Newington Green, is another local favourite of mine (although it's not new; it's been open a couple of years). The owners are Galician and the wine list has lots of great wine from NW Spain as well as the odd bottle from Italy and the Jura; great sherries too' (Purple Pager Dave Stenton).
  • Vermuteria is a ‘vermouth-inspired’ all-day bar and café, also in Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross.

South

  • Bar Douro is, as its name suggests, a Portuguese wine bar. It’s in a railway arch in Flat Iron Square, with excellent and authentic local dishes and a good range of Portuguese wines by the glass and bottle, including some they import directly. Mostly bar seating but with a private room upstairs. A second branch is due to open in Finsbury Square in August 2019.
  • Soif in south London is another Terroirs relative.
  • Streatham Wine House has been recommended by several readers of this site as a good local wine bar with plenty of fine wines available by the glass.

WINE-MINDED RESTAURANTS

This selection is primarily for dining, at various levels of formality, although some of them may have a small wine-bar element.

Central London and West End

  • 10 Greek Street in the heart of Soho is very wine-minded with mark-ups significantly below the London norm and has an interesting selection of one-off bottles in a little hand-written notebook.
  • 28-50 has shrunk to one location, in Marylebone Lane, under new ownership.
  • Les 110 de Taillevent started in Paris, and the London restaurant opened in 2015. Its name refers to the fact that there are 110 wines available by the glass.
  • Andrew Edmunds in Soho is a long-standing haunt for wine lovers also recommended by Dave Stenton: 'I ate there last weekend and was struck by the number of rare burgundies and bordeaux they were selling for not much more (and in some cases less) than retail.' Very modest mark-ups throughout the list.
  • Barrafina is a group of four superior tapas restaurants with a good sherry selection. The food is not cheap, but it is very good quality.
  • Blandford Comptoir comes from Xavier Rousset, previously of 28-50 and Texture. There is a compact but pretty dining room, and a well-chosen wine list organised by price. The Mayfair site, which is a little more casual and also has an excellent shop downstairs, is called Comptoir Café and Wine.
  • Clarette, a French restaurant established in Marylebone by Alexandra, the daughter of Ch Margaux chatelaine Corinne Mentzelopoulos. Extensive selection of wines by the glass (not exclusively French) and a wide-ranging and smart wine list.
  • Clipstone, the casual version of Michelin-starred Portland (see below) round the corner from it. Interesting selection of house wines on tap as well as a more formal list. You can eat outside and dishes are particularly visually attractive (chef is ex art school).
  • Dehesa in Soho belongs to the Salt Yard group, who specialise mainly in Spanish cuisine, with a smattering of Italian. The wine list does likewise.
  • Emilia is the newest of Will Lander’s establishments, on the site of the old Bonhams restaurant on a quiet courtyard off Brook Street. The accent is central Italian for food and on the wine list are some fine and rare bottles ex saleroom. There’s a wine bar/café on the ground floor, and in the courtyard when it’s fine.
  • The Greenhouse in Mayfair's Hay's Mews, another Marlon Abela restaurant (see The Square, below), has a very good wine list but is not cheap.
  • Gymkhana is one of London's best Indian restaurants, with prices to match its Mayfair location. The sommelier team there do great work finding matches for their spicy dishes.
  • Hakkasan is now a global network of restaurants, wine bars and even a Las Vegas nightclub – but it started in London, where there are now two restaurants. Expect fashionable people, supreme Chinese food and plenty of premium wine to choose from.
  • Hawksmoor is a chain of upmarket steak restaurants with six venues around London, all of which have a great wine proposition as well as a good deal on cheap corkage every Monday evening. Their central London locations are in Covent Garden and Air Street. Now also in Manchester and Edinburgh and scheduled to take on New York.
  • Hide – see above under Wines shops, Hedonism.
  • Hunan – the Chinese restaurant famous not having a menu (diners are served whatever is being cooked that day) also has a well-respected wine list – which you can choose from.
  • Meson Don Felipe near Waterloo station is a long-established Spanish tapas joint with a cheap and cheerful atmosphere and some decent sherry to choose from.
  • Drakes Tabanco specialise in sherry and tapas at the Fitzrovia restaurant.
  • El Pirata in Mayfair is proud of their Spanish wine selection, including sherry and cava as well as some top Spanish whites and reds.
  • The Opera Tavern is another outlet of the Salt Yard group, convenient for West End theatres, with reliable Spanish and Italian wine and food.
  • Portland in Great Portland Street just north of Oxford Circus is the second venture of Will Lander, son of Jancis and Nick. The food here is a little lighter than at The Quality Chop House and has been described by the guides as 'modern European'. It won a Michelin star after its first nine months. Other sister establishments are Clipstone, Emilia and Quality Wines.
  • Salt Yard is a Spanish- and Italian-inspired restaurant close to Oxford Circus that has a good selection of sherry. In addition to the Opera Tavern and Dehesa (see above), the group also own Ember Yard in Soho's Berwick St.
  • The Square was part of the Platts-Martin group of restaurants until it was sold to wine-loving millionaire Marlon Abela, who also owns The Greenhouse and Umu.
  • The restaurant at Tate Britain in Pimlico has an award-winning wine list with a strong selection by the glass. The more recently opened restaurant in the new Tate Modern offers wines chosen by the accomplished Hamish Anderson.
  • Terroirs, between Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross with its offshoot Soif (see above under Wine bars) is closely associated with wine importers Caves de Pyrène and the natural wine movement. There is a small wine bar area but it is more like a restaurant, with a full menu and tables that can (and should) be booked in advance. They also have a branch in East Dulwich.
  • Texture have a particular penchant for champagne alongside their Michelin-starred food.
  • Vinoteca is a thriving wine and food destination with branches in Marylebone and King's Cross, as well as Chiswick, Farringdon and the Bloomberg building in the City.

City and east

  • Brawn in Columbia Road, specialising in natural wine, was originally an offshoot of Terroirs but is now wholly owned by chef Ed Wilson.
  • Cabotte is yet another offspring of Xavier Rousset, this time in partnership with another Master Sommelier Gearoid Daveney of Flint Wines, specialising in burgundy.
  • If you're interested in eating typical French cuisine, you might try the Club Gascon, 57 West Smithfield, for lots of little portions of foie gras, local sausages, etc, and interesting wines from south-west France. Anyone for Marcillac?
  • When Ellory closed down in 2018, its owners opened Leroy in Shoreditch and were rewarded with a Michelin star for their sharing plates and compact but intriguing selection of wine.
  • The Guildhall outpost of Hawksmoor is very popular with hungry city workers tucking into steak and fine wine. The Borough branch is well situated near London Bridge and Borough market, while the Spitalfields address is close to trendy East London. They all offer cheap corkage on Monday evenings.
  • The Laughing Heart on Hackney Road is a bar/restaurant/wine shop hybrid that is open very late and has attracted enviable reviews for its extensive wine list.
  • British-Italian fusion restaurant Luca is recommended by Purple Pager Stephen Wardell for its very good Italian-focused wine list.
  • Morito is on Exmouth Market, a small paved street lined with many independent restaurants, and also has a second branch on Hackney Road. Their Spanish menu is accompanied by a good sherry list. Their original restaurant Moro, opened in 1997 but perhaps less wine-focused, is also on Exmouth Market.
  • Will Lander, son of Jancis and Nick, reopened the listed Victorian working-men's dining room that is The Quality Chop House in Farringdon Road in 2012, specialising in interesting wine at good prices and British, produce-driven food in a restaurant and next-door wine bar. For obvious reasons, we strongly recommend it and it has garnered some rave reviews from highly respected third parties. (It won The World of Fine Wine's first-ever Best Short Wine List in Europe award.) See also Emilia, Portland and Clipstone under central London West End above.
  • Sager & Wilde's second opening, in Paradise Row, Bethnal Green, originally known as Mission (they had to change the name because of a legal challenge), is a bigger and more formal restaurant than their Hackney Road space, albeit with the same much-vaunted wine selection, including a strong emphasis on Californian wine.
  • St John, 26 St John Street, London EC1, has a wine importer attached. It's world-famous, very minimal, very meaty, very English, near the old Smithfield meat market, where there are now lots of bars and restaurants. 'Nose to tail eating' is what they claim to offer. Some, especially vegetarians, find it a little stark. Quite interesting French wine list but not great glassware. Also in the St John empire is the more basic St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, near Liverpool Street station.
  • Vinoteca (see above) is a thriving wine and food destination with a branch in Farringdon and another in the Bloomberg building in the City.

North

  • Vinoteca opened their most recent branch in the newly redeveloped King's Cross area. It also has a well-maintained wine-shop section.

South

  • Chez Bruce is one of the stars of south London dining, with its unassuming but elegant dining room and comprehensive wine selection.
  • The Glasshouse is, like Chez Bruce, one of Nigel Platts-Martin's restaurants, and therefore comes with guarantees of very good service and wine nous, as well as Michelin-starred food.
  • Medlar in Chelsea has hundreds of wines on their list, and is a popular destination for wine-trade lunches.
  • RSJ is a most individual restaurant near Waterloo station which has a famous list of Loire Valley wines and which recently changed to Asian-style cooking.

West

  • The Ledbury, a Platts-Martin restaurant, boasts two Michelin stars and an extensive wine list including some attractive older vintages.
  • Vinoteca is a thriving wine and food destination with a branch in Chiswick, opposite destination restaurant La Trompette.
  • La Trompette, Platts-Martin does Chiswick.

WINE-MINDED CLUBS

These have been proliferating, perhaps encouraged by the success of 67 Pall Mall. There is now a very upmarket version with ridiculously low prices, Oswald's (membership by invitation only) in Albemarle Street, and a hospitality and wine-trade version, Trade, in Frith Street.  The concierge service Quintessentially are planning one on Dean Street. And Ten Trinity Square in the Four Seasons hotel near Tower Bridge seems to be setting its cap at particularly well-heeled Asians. 

FURTHER AFIELD

For anyone visiting London but looking for day trips outside the city, there are many options – but a few of the most famous are listed below. For a really comprehensive list, see Nick's restaurant reviews.

  • The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal's famous restaurant in Bray, can be reached from London in just under an hour.
  • The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, owned and run by chef Roger Jones and maître d' Sue Jones, draws people from London and beyond for its extraordinarily extensive wine list and excellent food. They have a good selection of wines by the glass and an impressive range of Australian, NZ and South African wines as well as older vintages of Viña Tondonia.
  • Hotel du Vin is a chain of hotels, several of which are within striking distance of central London, with restaurants that are heavily wine-centric.
  • The Old Bridge in Huntingdon is a charming country-house hotel with a wine list overseen by Master of Wine John Hoskins, which is suitably expansive without being unsuitably expensive.
  • The Vineyard at Stockcross is a five-star hotel with a wine cellar containing 30,000 wines, notably from California as the owner is Sir Peter Michael of eponymous winery fame. (For more on Peter Michael wines, see Three top-drawer Californians.)