The 10 Cases
16 Endell St, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BD
We couldn’t do a round-up of our favourite wine bars without including The 10 Cases – it’s a classic. At this unpretentious, pared-back little bistrot à vin on Endell Street, it’s all about wine with food to accompany, rather than food with wine to accompany, which #UJLoves. The clue is in the name, but they only buy 10 cases of each wine on their concise (and always great) list – so there’s always something new to try, but if you find one you like, don’t bet on it being there next time.
18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD
When it comes to wine, Brixton neighbourhood restaurant Salon has got it all going on. Their modern European small plates have always been paired with fantastic wines, but the Salon wine store is a game-changer. Specialising in low intervention wines, you can pick up a bottle to take home, drink in store, or take it through to the restaurant or bar to drink for a small corkage fee. And when it comes to a choice between drinking it at home or with their pappardelle and slow cooked rabbit ragu, we know which we’d opt for.
85 Leonard St, London EC2A 4QS
Passione Vino is our go-to when we need to grab a bottle for any occasion in east London, but it’s also a great place to sit-in for a drink. There’s no menu, but the staff are knowledgeable and happy to make (usually very good) recommendations, plus if you get hungry there are deli boards filled with burrata and salumi to tide you over.
107 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 0NP
This buzzy wine bar on Lower Clapton Road is almost always busy – so go early if you want to stand any chance of getting a seat at the communal table, and be prepared to stand with your glass of wine. P. Franco is foremost a wine shop and bar, but their food is noteworthy too – watch out for their guest suppers, which in the past have included menus from some of the capital’s most exciting chefs (think Anna Tobias, Will Gleave and Tim Spedding).
34 Drayton Park, Highbury East, N5 1PB
We know Westerns Laundry is technically a restaurant (with an amazing fresh seafood menu that changes daily) but when the wine list on the blackboard occupies the same space – if not more – than the menu, you know it’s important. A heads up though: stay away if you don’t like natural wines, because every bottle at Westerns is low intervention. That being said, the staff are insanely knowledgeable, and won’t be hard-pressed to find a glass of something that might surprise you.
Top 5: Wine Bars
Where to go to find that perfect glass