LDNGuide

The 18 Best Wine Bars In London

Casual spots for an excellent glass of wine.
A bottle pouring red wine into a glass.

photo credit: Amy Heycock

Cracking open a bottle from the offy with a few friends is always fun. But, sometimes, you want to be somewhere with a little more pizzazz. And lots of wine, obviously. London is absolutely swimming in wine bars, so where is your money best spent on a ramekin of olives and a glass of pinot noir or pét-nat? These spots cover that and a whole lot more. Be it a low-lit den where an incredible, always-changing wine list only exists in the head of the person behind the counter, to a few of London’s finest restaurants—these are the bars where you should be drinking wine.


THE SPOTS

photo credit: Daisy Meager

Wine Bar

Hackney

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good WineSmall PlatesDate Night
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Yuki Bar is run by Noma’s former sommelier and, for fans of big names, that’s all you’ll need to know. But for those looking for more experiential reasons to seek out this little Hackney wine bar, know that the natural wine selection is very serious. Yuki decides what to open there and then, so find a seat around the waist-height counter, lean in, and see what’s going on. The moodily lit archway bar-cum-restaurant feels like a place where glasses can turn into bottles, orders into conversations, and hours into nights.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

At Ria’s, natural wine meets Detroit-style pizza, and it’s a pairing that works very, very well. This Notting Hill spot is a cosy space where friends lean back on cushioned oak benches—pét-nat in hand, whipped ricotta and tomato slice on the mind—and catch-ups flow as easily as the chilled reds do. If you can, nab the slouchy sofa at the front. Day, night, and all those pockets in between, you’ll find something you like here.  

When somebody suggests ‘going to Dan’s in Dalston’, they could be talking about a friend, but they’re more likely talking about this casual wine bar. On a buzzing Thursday evening, it’s easy to daydream that this candlelit room with mismatched vintage wooden furniture is your actual dining room. Groups of friends sit or lean, clinking glasses, and for anyone uncertain, there’s the layman’s by-the-glass chalkboard that describes glasses like ‘hectic red’ or ‘turbo piss’. For everyone else there’s a decent, mainly natural selection in the fridges and on the shelves.

Antidote by name and antidote by nature. Given the wine bar’s location just off Carnaby Street you’ll be surprised just how pleasant it is to pitch up at one of the dozen or so tables outside. There’s a serious cellar of European biodynamic bottles, but you don’t have to delve into the magnums from the Loire (or, do you?). Glasses start at around £7 and the snacks, all tomato-ish and charcuterie, are made for picking at.

Aside from the bar menu that features the best bread in the city, it’s the staff that make Noble Rot a great wine bar. Whether you know anything about wine or not, the staff are friendly, helpful, and won’t say a thing about skin contact unless you ask them to. This shows on the list, which ranges from half glasses at a few quid, to crazy once-in-a-lifetime bottles worth a lot more. Be warned, the twinkling bar area at the Bloomsbury restaurant is an extremely dangerous place to get comfortable in.

One day when we are very rich because we got confused and invested in Dogecoin thinking it was some kind of pug help-to-buy scheme, we will get a beautiful flat in Fitzrovia and go to Carousel most nights. The main dining room is a restaurant with a rotating line-up of guest chefs, but it’s their casual and cool wine bar up front that you and your pét-nat craving need to know about. Expect an assortment of exciting low-intervention wines available by the glass or—why not—the bottle.

Lady Of The Grapes is a wine bar in Covent Garden where everything is a celebration of women working in the wine industry, and it’s a place you’ll generally feel celebratory in. Whether you’ve got good reason to or not. There’s a large selection of natural wines to choose from, as well as charcuterie and things like croquettes and crispy squid.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

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Underneath Holborn Viaduct is The Winemakers Club, a candlelit wine bar housed in a couple of 150 year-old arches, that looks like the kind of place Hannibal Lector would drink a nice chianti. Winemakers is best suited to the evening thanks to its underground setting, and it’s intimate and relaxed enough for a casual date, or even to go on your own. The wine selection is good, as are the prices, and it’s a great spot to try something new. Not least their raclette toastie.

Cadet is a matchbox-sized, oat-toned, chalk-and-board N16 wine bar that’s big on bottles and small on plates. It all sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. But it’s still completely wonderful. This place is an example of everything working in tandem. Immaculate wines are poured, peerless, classic French charcuterie is served, and elegant small plates are lazily forked by candlelight.

Provisions comes from the 107 Wine Shop & Bar school of… wine shops and bars. Meaning, you’ll lean, stand, or perch on the big central table, drink funky wines, and have a chat (or listen in to the juicy chat across the table). This Holloway Road spot often has a lot of things on the go, both bottles and cheese-wise, and the staff are as unpretentious as they are knowledgeable, so it’s a great place to try a few new things, be it day or night.

A teeny, tiny wine bar where knees touch, hands are held beneath tables, and stories are shared over London’s most sensational anchovy toast is Bottle + Rye in a nutshell. The Brixton wine bar adds a touch of Parisian romance to SW9 and its bottle list tends to stick around western Europe. The menu is similarly long weekend-inspired, with smaller plates that include rabbit terrine and charred pumpkin to bigger plates like bouillabaisse.

40 Maltby Street is easily (and seemingly effortlessly) one of London’s most consistently lovely wine bars and restaurants. Inside, its changing small plates and laid-back atmosphere make it a guaranteed good time, whether you’re lazily eating plums and green beans, or terrine alongside a low-intervention bottle of something. It’s only open Wednesday to Saturday, and is walk-in only.

Diogenes The Dog is in Elephant and Castle, which is a combination of animals you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see in south London. You’ll want to check out this wine bar and cafe though, as it's the most comfortable we’ve been to in London. It specialises in smaller wine producers and the staff can tell you as much or as little as you want to know. The snacks, from terrine of the week to burratina, are excellent and reasonably priced.

photo credit: Amy Heycock

The wine list at Joyau changes frequently enough to keep up with our mood swings—so that’s daily—and staff won’t judge you if you ask them what exactly a ‘zippy pét-nat' is. This low-key spot is tucked into a Forest Gate railway arch and has the kind of low lighting and flickering candles that are generous to those who’ve had long weeks. You could happily stick to the interesting chalkboard wine list but the food is worth getting involved in. Especially the potato pie with its perfectly scalloped discs of potatoes and pleasing dollop of crème fraîche.

Along a quiet residential road and signalled by a buttercup-yellow awning, Hector’s is a petite cave à manger in De Beauvoir (that is, a small wine bar which also does snacks like tinned fish and crisps). It’s a bottle shop earlier on in the day, with corks popped and glasses of the fizzy, funky, and fine variety poured from late afternoon. On warm evenings, there’s no better place to live out your Parisian fantasy as seating spills onto the pavement and all the très chic people come out to drink, eat, and be merry.

The name of this wine shop and bar translates to ‘wine passion’ which, like everything, sounds much more sordid in English. This all-Italian wine spot is one of the best places in Shoreditch to have a few glasses before moving on elsewhere, or upstairs. The staff are very helpful, whether you’re popping in to buy a bottle or sitting down for a few glasses. If you do choose to go upstairs, you’ll be going (via their hidden mirrored door) up to a kind of 1920s living room with a load of charcuterie.

107 Wine Shop & Bar is a cosy Clapton wine bar, shop, and small plates restaurant with the atmosphere of an open-door dinner party and one of London's best wine lists. Drop in for a glass and a lean if the handful of stools are taken. It’s the kind of laid-back place where the list of biodynamic rieslings and lambruscos exists only in the staff’s heads but they’ll remember if you want to sit down for food later.

This Hackney Road spot can be a little bit beard-strokey, but it’s a cool and comfortable place to grab a couple of drinks later on, as it’s open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a huge wine list, but the ‘by the glass’ list is also pretty big and accessible price-wise, with everything from natural to fortified wine covered. They also do cheese toasties if you fancy a snack.

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