Five of the Best: Wine Bars in London

London's top drinking dens

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Banish memories of Del Boy. Wine bars are back and this time round the trend is for low-key hangouts run by young wine buffs like Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde of Sager + Wilde and Will Lander of The Quality Chop House. The new wine bars often source from small European vineyards, selling their finds by bottle or by the glass, and alongside gourmet bar snacks. These five spots are strictly Blossom Hill-free zones...

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Sager + Wilde

Hidden among the shoe importers and bingo halls that make up the bleakest stretch of Hackney Road, you’ll find Sager + Wilde. This intimate spot looks like it’s been teleported from Williamsburg, thanks to its pressed tin ceilings and cast-iron bar. Fashionable regulars sit at the counter, sipping one of 20-plus wines served by the glass (plenty of French whites and Spanish and French reds) and nibbling on bar snacks like chilli corn and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sager + Wilde, 193 Hackney Road, London, E2 8JL, , @sagerandwilde
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The Wine Parlour

 

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“Wine is life” reads the slogan on the coasters at this Brixton wine shop-slash-bar. It’s a good motto for popular south London wine merchants Chix and Buck who source their bottles from small, independent vineyards in Europe. Pick up a bottle of something interesting for dinner, or stay to sample wines by the glass and graze on wild boar salami and artisan cheeses. There’s also a small tasting room which you can book for private events.

The Wine Parlour, 1-3 Vining Street, London, SW9 8QA, 0800 612 4742, chixandbuck.com, @chixandbuck

 

The Quality Chop House

There’s something very Parisian about the wine bar at The Quality Chop House in Clerkenwell. It could be the tall mirrors, the bistro chairs or the black and white floor tiles, but more likely it’s the love that goes into the wine list. Owner Will Lander (son of wine writer Jancis Robinson) says “we celebrate the fact that wine is complex and diverse and keep finding new styles and regions that we love.” Case in point – last time we were there, we sampled a golden, sweet Heida from the Swiss Alps.

The Quality Chop House, 92-94 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA, 020 7278 1452, thequalitychophouse.com, @qualitychop

 

L’Entrepot

L’Entrepot is housed in a warehouse near Hackney Downs. Here, merchants Borough Wines have set up a white-walled space that is part-bar, part-shop and part-restaurant.

The extensive wine menu changes regularly but typically features about 25 different styles, mostly French, and all sold by bottle or glass. Each wine on the list comes with enticing descriptions like this one of a 2010 Chardonnay: “a gorgeous texture with a lick of toast and cream.”

 

L’Entrepot, 23 Dalston Lane, London, E8 1LA, 020 7249 1176, lentrepot.co.uk, @Lentrepot_E8

 

The Remedy

Rotten day at work? Holing up at The Remedy is, well, the remedy. This intimate wine bar in a Fitzrovia back-street is run by two wine lovers, David Clawson and Renatu Catgiu, who met working at Terroirs and decided to set up their own place. Clawson and Catgiu have selected mainly natural and biodynamic European wines for their list, which is themed by styles such as wines “to entice” – aromatic and floral burgundys and pinot noir, or “to quench” – lively, light whites.

The Remedy, 124 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 6PG, 020 3489 3800, theremedylondon.com, @TheRemedyLondon

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