the petersham wine bars
Image: Rebecca Dickson

Chin-chin: The best wine bars in London

29 Apr 2024 | Updated on: 07 May 2024 |By Annie Lewis

Old World or New World? Red or white? Whatever wine you’re after, there’s something for everyone in the capital

While, traditionally, the UK hasn’t been famous for its wine – we’ll happily leave that to the rolling European vineyards in Tuscany, Bergerac and even those further afield in South Africa and Australia – we do love drinking it, evident in the sheer amount of wine bars cropping up in the capital. Although not all are new. Gordon’s Wine Bar is something of an institution having opened in 1890, while other sought-after favourites include Noble Rot and La Fromagerie who both have more than two outposts in the city to meet demand. There’s no bottom of the barrel stuff here (ahem), but just good bottles sourced by world-class sommeliers that’s complemented by small plates from celebrated chefs. Ready to enter wine wonderland? Discover the best wine bars in London to visit when in search of a good glass of vino… 

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, Covent Garden

In 2012, a wine bar opened its doors in Paris’ iconic Saint-Germain des Pres neighbourhood. Curiously called Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, or CVS, the name was a nod to the emerging natural wine trend. Since its inception, the menu has featured grower champagnes and hard-to-find bottles, primarily focused on French domaines, with snacks and small plates working in harmony. Shortly after the opening of the first CVS, the wine bar branched out across the Channel to Neal’s Yard in London’s Covent Garden in 2014. Spread across two floors, with hundreds of wines stored in the cellar, CVS is a thorough study on wine offering more than 1,000 references from France, USA, Italy, Spain and further afield in Lebanon, Greece, Hungary and Brazil. The team here are well-versed in finding great wines for all budgets and one of its most fun features is the Mystery Wine offering: a challenge that offers oenophiles the opportunity to win a bottle, should they guess the wine correctly.

8-10 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP, visit

July, Fitzrovia

Alsatian-inspired restaurant and wine bar, July, opened on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street in April 2024 to become one of the capital’s most highly-anticipated new wine bars. Guests are invited to soak up the sunshine while savouring comfort-style food by chef Holly Hayes and natural wines on its charming street-side space of 16 covers. The lunch menu changes weekly, featuring hand-crafted sandwiches like the roast beef, horseradish crème fraiche, and homemade soups like nettle and spinach soup with smoked bacon. The evening menu, meanwhile, features an array of small plates celebrating the season’s best ingredients. The wine list boasts an array of sparkling, white (there are 28 to choose from), rose, amber, red and dessert wines, courtesy of sommelier Honey Spencer, who focuses predominantly on European vineyards spanning Bergerac in France to Burgenland in Austria. 

10 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LT, visit

Cloth, Farringdon

Friends and wine importers Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth, together with chef Tom Hurst, have just opened a new restaurant and wine bar, Cloth, in Farringdon to bring something different to The City’s food scene. Having spent years supplying London’s top restaurants through their separate wine businesses, Haynes and Butterworth have joined forces with Hurst – formerly of Brawn, Levan, and Larry’s – to launch the trio’s first restaurant together inside a Grade-II listed building on Cloth Fair. Inside, low ceilings, wood panelling and antique wall lights create a cosy, intimate atmosphere, while marble tables, long, dark wood banquettes and antique crockery create the feel of a classic bistro.

Half of Cloth’s wine list is made up of bottles from Hayne’s Penzer Wines sourced from Germany and Butterworth’s eponymous import, specialising in grower champagnes and new-wave Bordeaux, as well as winemakers from Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Loire, and Luxembourg. The other 50 per cent of the list is made up of wines from friends in the industry with the shared ethos of championing small, independent, and sustainable producers, such as Emile Wines, The Winery, Fingal Rock, Carte Blanche, Winemakers Club, and Raeburn. There will be a constantly rotating by-the-glass list with specials under Coravin and lots of old and rare bottles. Pair with Hurst’s seasonal plates – think brown crab and berkswell tagliarini and Cornish pollock with razor clams and white asparagus – and you’ve got a perfect night out in The City. 

44 Cloth Fair, London, EC1A 7JQ, visit

Plume, Covent Garden

plume wine bar

Plume, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Covent Garden, specialises in bubbles, English wines, and all things theatrical. An unrivalled date night location, Plume is spread across two-storeys, with charming, cosy upstairs seating and an intimate downstairs speakeasy with private booths. The team has curated a selection of serves focusing on unusual vintages, including small and unknown experimental winemakers that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Whether you prefer a crisp and refreshing glass of sparkling wine or the rich and complex flavours of orange wines, Plume’s expert sommeliers will guide you through a range of choices perfectly complemented by sharing plates of artichoke pesto burrata and toast, locally-sourced cheese and cured meat boards, and fresh Maldon oysters

26 Wellington Street, WC2E 7DD, visit

Bar Levan, Peckham

Levan Peckham

Levan has long been a mainstay on Peckham’s food scene, specialising in delectable French-inspired dishes. However, its latest chapter arrived just last year, when the restaurant integrated a 34-seater wine bar next door aptly named Bar Levan. Offering a more dynamic and playful menu, the bar focuses on organic and biodynamic wines alongside a selection of older vintages and unique “one-offs” by the glass, soundtracked by music inspired by its namesake Larry Levan played from vinyl on the vintage sound system. You’ll also find a focused aperitif list, vin du jours (wine of the day) curated by the team and bar snacks created by the Levan kitchen team – think rillettes, charcuterie, cheese, and the signature croque monsieur. 

12-16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL, visit

Finch, Brixton

Having opened last year, Finch is a pocket-sized cabinet of curiosities in the lively Brixton Village. The neighbourhood outpost – decked out in pinstripe wallpapers contrasted by bright yellow furnishings – is the ideal spot for a romantic rendezvous, where visitors can stop off to share a few glasses (or bottles) of wine before exploring the bustling food outlets across the arcade. Pick from French sparkling, South African whites, Californian reds and ‘something in between’ orange wines from Georgia – and pair with small plates of burrata and nduja, grilled cheese sandwiches and giardiniera pickles. 

Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS, visit

Firebird, Soho

Firebird is a female-owned, open-fire Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar which opened to rave reviews in 2022. Co-founders Anna Dolgushina and Madina Kazhimova have curated a 46-cover space aimed to recreate memories of afternoons spent in courtyards on the continent, with head chef Giacomo Peretti at the helm of the produce-led kitchen. Those just looking for a drink, however, are invited to simply have a seat at the bar for a glass of something special. The considered and extensive wine list champions small, natural, and biodynamic producers from across Europe, who work their vineyards organically, with respect to nature and soil. With more than 15 years of dedicated service in the hospitality industry, you’ll be in the safe hands of head sommelier Kristina Gladilina who will showcase a number of bottles from across Europe with a special focus on juicy, vibrant and elegant varieties. 

29 Poland Street, W1F 8QR, visit

Peckham Cellars, Peckham

Founded in 2019 by three friends, the bill of fare here is strictly small plates from Spanish-native Pablo Urain Alfonso and an “eclectic yet considered” European wine list. While we’d recommend sampling the wild garlic croquetas, smoked mackerel, brown crab and pink fir potato salad, and chicken wings in gochujang sauce, the wine offering is really the jewel in the crown. The Cellars’ philosophy focuses on wines that taste great, “speak clearly of where they’re from” and are farmed organically and sustainably. You’ll find the list focuses on Europe with the core of the list from France and Spain, as well as highlighting lesser-known places where exciting new producers can be found. Stuck for choice? Leave recommendations in the hands of the Peckham Cellars team and you won’t be disappointed. 

125 Queens Road, SE15 2ND, visit

Henny’s Wine, Balham

Having started life in Tooting Market in 2017, Henny’s has evolved into a chic wine hangout up the road in Balham to become south west London’s one-stop shop for all your ethically- and sustainably-sourced biodynamic wines. Establishing itself as one of the boudoirs for Beaujolais, Henny’s aims to introduce its guests to try new wine and to drink differently. Don’t expect an extensive bottle list, but glasses by the glass or carafe starting at an impressive £5.50 a pop. Foodies will be delighted that the bar has teamed up with Yard Sale Pizza, so you can have piping-hot pizzas delivered directly to your table so there is no need to stop the flow of wine – that’s Friday night sorted then. 

195C Balham High Road, SW12 9BE, visit

Gordon’s Wine Bar, Charing Cross

It would be rude to be in Embankment and not acquaint yourself with Gordon’s Wine Bar. Having opened in 1890, it’s London’s oldest wine bar – and step inside the candlelit wine caves on a Friday night and you’d be forgiven for thinking nothing much has changed since then. The comprehensive wine list, however, has been compiled by Gordon’s esteemed experts and is home to a number of rare and popular wines from across the world. Sip outside in the sunshine at the bar’s Parisian-style outdoor tablet or head inside to enjoy a romantic hour or two in the wine caves, while tucking into a selection of sharing boards – think freshly-baked French bread, salted butter and chutney with all the trimmings. However, Gordon’s is notoriously busy and it doesn’t take reservations so we’d recommend you get there early to grab a seat. 

47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE, visit

67 Pall Mall, St James's

67 pall mall private wine clubs

If you’re looking for something more up-market, and don’t mind splashing more than £100 per bottle, we’d recommend a trip to 67 Pall Mall. Having opened in 2015, with a raison d’être to become the private members’ club ‘founded by wine lovers, for wine lovers’, 67 Pall Mall occupies club rooms and lounges adorned with the building’s historic oak panelling, an array of art and striking bar areas. Downstairs, members are welcome to store their wine in the club’s extensive cellar (once a bank vault used by the building’s former occupier, Hambros Bank) which you can enjoy onsite or request to be delivered to an address once you’re ready to pop it open. Staff ensure the vault remains at optimum wine conditions while a bespoke air handling system maintains the temperature between 13-14°C and 65-70 per cent humidity. In terms of what to drink, we suggest leaving it to the experts… 

67 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5ES, visit

Noble Rot, across London

Noble Rot Bar

Noble Rot’s three wine bars had an unconventional beginning. It started – and still is – the name of a quarterly food and drink magazine which opened its first bar in Bloomsbury in 2015. The flagship Bloomsbury bolthole is a cosy spot for catching up with friends by the roaring fire, while its Soho sister poses the perfect setting for history buffs as it’s situated on the former site of the Gay Hussar on Greek Street – the notorious lair of many left-wing politicians – and its Mayfair location can be found in the atmospheric alleys of Shepherd Market. All offer a celebrated wine selection – voted Wine List of the Year at the World Restaurant Awards 2019, and at the National Restaurant Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018 – that ranges from undervalued wines by the glass to rare mature bottles from esteemed estates. 


Sune, Hackney

Last year, renowned sommelier Honey Spencer and partner Charlie Sims opened neighbourhood restaurant Sune at the foot of bustling foodie paradise, Broadway Market. Perched on the canal, Sune is a pared-back space designed to transform throughout the day, from a sun-filled spot for brunch to a candlelit dinner destination serving small plates by chef Michael Robins. Regarding the wine list, Spencer draws on her extensive network of producers and suppliers to champion wines which are bold and full of natural vigour, including magnums, sakes and a variety of skin-contact wines (white wines made like red wines) alongside an extensive selection of whites, roses and reds. 

129A Pritchard's Road, E2 9AP, visit

La Fromagerie, across London

La Fromagerie – with locations in Marylebone, Bloomsbury and Highbury – is an award-winning combination of cheese shop, wine bar and restaurant. Each location boasts a cosy and calm atmosphere where you can try a selection of wines that have been curated around taste and tradition, and, of course, La Fromagerie’s first love: cheese. Expect wines from the Savoie, Alsace, Gascony, Provence and the mountains of Northern Italy with thoughtful cheese pairings and seasonal dishes to complement. 

Not only can you visit La Fromagerie for an impromptu drink, but the shops also host tastings, workshops and supper clubs. Ranging from cheese and wine pairings to deep dives into regions exploring fabulous wines, the next event on 11 May will celebrate spring in the Loire river, with wine tastings from Anjou through to Sancerre near Burgundy. 


Carousel, Fitzrovia

carousel wine bar
Image: Aleksandra Boruch

Carousel is an exciting place – one where you’re lucky enough to sample exclusive, limited-edition menus by talented chefs who take up residences at the Fitzrovia restaurant in monthly stints. It would be remiss not to mention its bar, as no culinary experience is complete without a tipple or two. Offering a menu of minimal-intervention wines and signature cocktails, the drinks list focuses on small, independent producers – such as Ganevat, Labet, Leroy, Bernadeau and many others – served by the glass, carafe or bottle. The white wine collection is one of the largest in the capital, comprising 62 variations spanning France, Spain, Italy and the US, while Carousel’s own label wines are definitely worth a try. 

19-23 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RW, visit

The Petersham, Covent Garden

the petersham
Image: Rebecca Dickson

A stone’s throw from Covent Garden’s King Street and set within the secluded Floral Court, The Petersham is the elegant outpost from the renowned Petersham Nurseries team founded by the Boglione family. Following a similar slow-food ethos to its sister outpost in Richmond, and focusing on the finest seasonal produce supplied by the family-run Haye Farm in Devon, the interiors draw inspiration from the Bogliones family home with understated grandeur, Murano glassware and contemporary art. It’s a lively spot where you can come together with friends to enjoy a bite to eat and a glass of wine, including sparkling, white, orange, rose, red, sweet and non-alcoholic. Head to the Petersham Deli, also in Covent Garden, for a more laid back vibe while sipping on signature wines from the brand’s cellar. 

1 Floral Street, WC2E 9FB, visit

Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square Wine Club, Tower Hill

A collaboration between Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square and French wine estate Château Latour, the Tower Hill-based society describes itself as the finest private members’ club in The City, with membership costing £3,000 per year. Displaying some of Château Latour’s famous red wines, the sampling experience has been curated by the award-winning sommelier team to form a truly unique part of the membership experience with 45 wines by the glass and carefully selected vintages. In addition to Château Latour, members have the opportunity to sample more wines from the principal estates of Artémis Domaines, including Château Grillet, Domaine D’Eugénie, Clos de Tart and the Eisele Vineyard in Napa Valley. In traditional gentlemen’s club style, Ten Trinity also has its own cigar shop and sampling lounge.

10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ, visit

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