Five of the Best: London Wine Bars

Great wine, small plates and cool bars – all you need for the perfect night out...


Words by Jane Parkinson



Mayfair’s 28°-50° – there are two others – is a little haven away from the chaos of Oxford Circus, which is just around the corner. It’s all exposed wood, wrought iron and wooden wine cases, and because it’s run by a Master Sommelier the wines are both fantastic and reasonably priced (there’s no Mayfair factor included in the prices here, thank you very much).

Best white: Edi Simčič Sauvignon Blanc, Slovenia


Best red: Domaine des Tares Balto Bierzo, Spain

(17-19 Maddox Street, W1S 2QH, 0207 495 1505,

Vagabond Wines

Here, the vibe is chilled out, the sharing platters are moreish and when it comes to wine, Vagabond has something for everyone, because more than 100 wines are available by the glass. This is thanks to their wine preservation cabinets - you just serve yourself using a pre-paid card, but if you just want to sink back into a leather armchair and savour just one tasty glass or bottle, it’s the perfect place for this as well.

Best white: Framingham F Series Riesling, NZ

Best red : Monte de Ravasquiera Vinha das Romas Syrah, Portugal

(25 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RW, 020 3302 4044,



One of the original – and still best – of the new crop of London wines bars to open in recent times. It’s stylish and relaxed while the food is seasonal and fresh, plus the wine choice is extensive and interesting, especially from Spain and Italy. Vinoteca’s also full of modern and innovative ways of serving wine, like bag-in-box, which is much better quality than it sounds!

Best white: Mac Forbes Arneis, Australia

Best red: Sandrone Barbera d’Alba, Italy

(7 St John Street, EC1M 4AA, 020 7253 8786,

The 10 Cases (Cave à Vin) 

The place for people who don’t like to get stuck in a wine rut, this Covent Garden bar – which also has a bistro – only ever buys 10 cases of one wine, meaning its range changes very quickly. Its concertina doors bring the indoors outdoors in the summer, giving it a nice continental feel, but in the winter when they’re closed it’s all cosy and cute as you sip on something tasty while watching the chilly world go by outside.

Best white/sparkling: Gianni Doglia Moscato d’Asti, Italy

Best red : Gérald Vallée La Croisée Cabernet Franc, France  

(16 Endell St, WC2H 9BD, 0207 836 6801,

Sager & Wilde

Jessica Reftel Evans

London’s wine bar scene got seriously cool when S&G opened in Hackney last year. It looks urban but feels friendly, the staff are edgy without being pretentious, the wines can be quirky but are always delicious and the list is constantly changing, giving you good reason to keep going back. Plus, they have the best toasted cheese sandwich in town.

Best white: Sokol Blosser Evolution White, USA

Best red: Hudelot-Noellat Nuits St Georges, France

(193 Hackney Road, E2 8JL, 020 8127 7330,

Jane Parkinson is an award-winning wine writer and a rising star in the world of wine. She’s a wine expert on Saturday Kitchen (BBC 1), Wine Editor for Restaurant magazine and she also contributes to a range of publications including Square Meal and Decanter .

She is one of five members in The Wine Gang, an independent group of wine specialists, and is a regular presenter at events and fairs such as the BBC GoodFood Show. Winner of Chairman’s Award at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2009 and the Communicator of the Year Award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014.

Jane has recently written her first book "Wine & Food" published by Ryland Peters £19.99

Follow Jane on Twitter: @jane_parkinson 

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