I keep getting asked by people about places to drink in London, so here, off the top of my head, is a list of places that I can heartily recommend. They are in no particular order (although the first three are pretty much where I’d start), and I apologise to anyone who I’ve missed out who really should be here (I’ve not included places that are primarily restaurants in this list, or else it would be huge). I will try to revise this list from time to time. London is a great city for wine lovers right now.
One of the best wine lists you can possibly imagine. Book for the restaurant area if you want to eat (top notch), or take your chances and do a walk in in the bar area (at the front; you can still eat but off a smaller menu). It’s only been with us for a few years, but I can’t imagine life without this place. They work hard to get hold of top mature wines, so there are often some quite special things on the list here.
Another favourite. Terroirs has been around for ages – in fact, it kicked off the natural/authentic wine scene in London. Food is excellent (very French, small plates) and the wine list is deep, and thrilling. Drinking and eating here is a life-affirming, happy experience. Champagne is the only weakness (there are only a few and they are expensive).
Head out to Dalston for one of the most interesting wine lists in town, where you can drink some of the planet’s top natural wines more affordably than anywhere else. Particularly strong on Austria, which is a very exciting wine country at the moment. Food options limited but good (charcuterie and cheese), but you come here to open special bottles. I get very excited here. [It’s a retail wine shop as well as a wine bar.]
Tucked under the railway arches in Farringdon, this is a gem of a place. Lots of atmosphere, and a cracking wine list. Quirky is good. I don’t come here nearly often enough. It’s a retail outlet, too. Pricing is very fair (drink-in is retail plus £12!)
A brilliant wine bar. Compact, with a really superb list, and really nice small plates. Natural/authentic style, but plenty for all tastes.
An excellent wine shop which pioneered the use of enomatic machines for allowing customers to try wines before they buy. Brilliant selection, especially strong on grower Champagne, but covering lots of territory.
With branches in Kew and Chiswick, this is one of the best wine shops in the capital, with a brilliant selection. Worth checking out.
Centrally locates, this is one of London’s top wine spots. Informal dining with a brilliant wine list at decent prices. Lots to get excited about.
Astonishing wine shop. Yes, it’s blingy, and there are some crazy expensive wines on the shelves. But also some really cool things. And they have enomatics, so you can do some sampling. A museum of vinous excess. (Nearby Hide restaurant, under the same ownership, allows you to drink anything from Hedonism for £30 corkage, which makes it the cheapest place to drink super high end wine in London.)
Not a cheap place to buy wine, but an excellent selection in a lovely retail space at 63 Pall Mall. They hate natural wine, but this is a great place to come for high-end conventional, and fancy kit if you are feeling spendy.
Super cool natty wine bar with good food options and a stellar list. They are owned by Les Caves (as are Terroirs), but often the rare stuff on the list won’t be raided as quickly here as it is in Terroirs. Worth trecking out to Clapham for.
Used to be owned by Les Caves, now independent. Haven’t been for a while but reliably informed that it’s totally on form at the moment. Great natty list here. Small and beautiful is the way to go.
Kensington and Brackenbury both host outposts of this stylish wine bar, with good food options and a lovely list, ticking lots of boxes but particularly strong on new wave South Africa. Big selection of wines on enomatics so it’s good to taste through and explore.
I haven’t spent much time in Vagabond, but they are another wine bar with decent food options and a good list that covers lots of ground, with lots of wine to sample on enomatic. Retail, too. Three locations in town.
If you want good food, good wine, and you don’t want to end up with an enormous bill, this is a really good option. Various branches, and I’ve always had a good experience here, and found plenty of good drinking on the list. Five locations in town.
Haven’t been nearly often enough. Brilliant wine bar with a cracking list of interesting, authentic/natural wine, and a great atmosphere. Bonus: it’s open till late (2 am most nights).
The cheapest place to drink good wine in the Capital. It’s a small wine shop with a brilliantly alternative list of cool wines (this isn’t a natural place), and you can drink in for just £5 corkage. There’s also an associated app. This is a hidden gem.
Both the small wine bar and the restaurant on Paradise Row are absolute destinations for wine lovers. Cocktails at Paradise Row are also quite special.
Part of POP Brixton, this small but very cool shop has an amazing selection of Kiwi wines. They also do some great tastings, too.
Superb selection of wines in this shop. Very strong on South Africa and the classics – you can buy fancy things here if you need them.