London’s oldest wine bar is found beneath the city’s streets; here’s the low-down on Gordon’s Wine Bar and why you should go this summer...
Words Helen Brown
As the capital’s oldest wine bar, established in 1890, Gordon’s has earned its place on many a wine lover’s hit list. The building itself is historic. It was once the home of Samuel Pepys and Rudyard Kipling – respectively – and has been in the hands of the Gordon’s ever since.
It’s one of the most atmospheric drinking dens in London. Exposed brickwork and flickering candlelight are brought together in a dramatic subterranean venue that offers a quintessential London experience. Essentially, it’s a semi-circular cave carved from bedrock with walls lined with old newspaper clippings and 18th Century memorabilia. It gets pretty packed during peak post-work drinking hours, however outside is one of London’s longest al fresco drinking areas.
WHAT TO DRINK
There’s a strict ‘no beer, no spirits’ policy, so vino is the only order of the day – but we’d expect nothing less. The wine list journeys from the classic regions of France to South America and further. Portuguese, Chilean, Argentine and Hungarian varieties all jostle for position within this extensive offering. You’ll even spot a few rogue entries from India. An unusual selection of fortified wines is available too, drawn directly from casks behind the bar; choose from ports, sherries and Madeiras. A simplistic but delicious menu of buffet-style food and tapas is available to keep you steady on your feet.
WHO TO BRING
Not much is more romantic than this cosy, candle-lit cavern; the ultimate setting for date night. Get to know your plus one, tucked away beneath London’s pavement. If romance isn’t on the cards, the sun-drenched terrace is prime drinking territory for an evening spent with friends. They’ll also take bookings for groups of eight to ten, so grab your pals and get going.