Autumn in London isn’t always the fantasy Fall combination of firey maples, pumpkin pie and chunky knits. Sometimes it’s just soggy and grey.
The good news? As the nights get longer, you can turn this into an opportunity to head somewhere warm and cosy for a glass of wine and some good conversation.
Here are 10 comfy little wine bars to visit as we say goodbye to Summer!
1. Humble Grape
📍 Canary Wharf / Battersea / Liverpool Street / Islington / Fleet Street
🍷 Glasses from £8.10, bottles from £32
Humble Grape imports over 400 sustainable wines from small boutiques across the world, so you’re sure to find something you love in one of their 5 spacious locations across the city. My partner and I spent New Years’ Eve in the Canary Wharf branch and loved the atmosphere, complete with live jazz.
They run ‘wine days of the week’, with different promotions every weekday. For example, on Mondays you can drink in for retail prices (that is, 40% less than usual), Tuesdays you can enjoy a £15 mini-tasting session with a different theme every week, and so on.
If you’re interested in learning a little more about wine, they also offer wine masterclasses covering the history of different wines and the unique methods of producing each one. To attend, all you need to do is pay a £10 deposit when you book, which you’ll then get back as a voucher to spend in store.
2. The 10 Cases
📍 Covent Garden
🍷 Glasses from £5.30, bottles from £24 (with additional £12 corkage)
If you like keeping things simple, friendly and unpretentious, head to The 10 Cases, a snug little bistro in Covent Garden serving tapas-style dishes and a constantly rotating wine list.
The standout theme here is that they only ever purchase 10 cases of each of these wines, so you’ll be in for something different every time you visit (the same wine has never been listed twice). The food menu also changes every month and features only 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts at any one time.
If you don’t feel like leaving the house to sample some of their selections, they also do a wine delivery service app, called Drop.
3. Gordon’s Wine Bar
📍 Charing Cross
🍷 Glasses from £6.15, bottles from £22.50
For the ultimate comfort of firelight and bare bricks, head to London’s oldest wine bar: Gordon’s in Charing Cross.
Whilst the bar itself has been open since 1890, the building is even older, having once been home to Samuel Pepys and also being the bar where Rudyard Kipling wrote some of his poems several hundred years later. The vaulted stone cellars and candlelit tables might just make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
As well as the classics, there are also some surprises on the menu, such as low sulphur wines, low alcohol wines, vegan wines, a selection of dessert wines and fortified wines like ports, sherries and Madeiras.
📍 Old Spitalfields Market / Chelsea
🍷 Bottles from £30
Bottles, located in Old Spitalfields Market and now Chelsea as well, specialises in sustainable, organic and independent producers of what their website calls ‘the best, unique and often crazy examples of liquid happiness’ in the world. The wine menu focuses mostly on Italy, so if you love Italian wines (or are just curious about them), you can get really specific with wines from every part of Italy you can think of. But don’t worry – if you fancy Champagne, they do that too.
The fresh European menu is fairly affordable and their kitchen has a zero waste policy, so you can indulge guilt-free.
Just to mention it – you might (as I did) pass this wine bar plenty of times and never really know what it’s called, or you might be looking for it and find it hard to spot. Why? Well, the sign (see the picture above). Now you know to look for it!
5. Davy’s Wine Vaults
🍷 Glasses from £6.50, Bottles from £22.50
Davy’s is a moment’s walk from Greenwich station and just a few paces from Davy’s Wine Shop, where you can buy a few bottles of your new favourite wine to bring home, if you’re so inclined 🙂
The place is enormous and the seating is varied enough that you can either sit at a little table by yourselves or cuddle up on the big velvet sofa. Grab a brunch on weekends or just sit outside on a warmer evening and share a bottle.
In my experience, this is often a quiet place, so it’s probably best to go here with someone you’re already quite comfortable with (otherwise the silence might be a little awkward!) or Google the busier times and go then.
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6. Noble Rot
🍷 Glasses from £5, Bottles from £25
Award-winning wine bar Noble Rot has enjoyed plenty of press, including praise from Tatler, the Financial Times and even the Irish Independent. If you favour red wines, they’ve been recognised by the World Restaurant Awards as the top red wine serving venue of 2019.
The wine list is extensive, with every region and price point covered (the most expensive bottle costs an eye-watering £4,500 – but don’t worry, the cheapest is a mere £25 ☺️)
7. The Remedy
🍷 Glasses from £5.50, Bottles from £36
If you love your cafes to have chalkboard menus, bare brick walls and stripped-back industrial decor, here’s a wine bar with a similar aesthetic. Focusing on small producers and with a wine list updated almost every week, The Remedy is run by two friends who wanted to take the snobbery out of wine culture.
Enjoy a selection of red, white, rose, orange, effervescent and fortified wines from their small list – or grab a craft beer (they do those too).
The space is fairly small and there aren’t any booths or sofas to get cosy on, so this is probably a good spot for a casual date or spontaneous stop during the day.
8. Mews Of Mayfair
🍷 Glasses from £7, Bottles from £29
Mews Courtyard may be best enjoyed in the Summer – when you can sit outside in the beautiful, lamplit passageway – but their small collection of bars are cosy enough to make it worth an Autumn/Winter visit too.
Their little basement wine shop offers rare wines by the glass, their Courtyard Bar (outdoors – good for a warmer evening) has plenty of middle-range and fine wines, and their cocktail bar also has a small wine list. Wines aside, though, you should check out every one of the bars in Mews Courtyard because of how unbelievably pretty and atmospheric they all are. It’s definitely one of my favourite date spots in London.
🍷 125ml glass from £7, 500ml carafes from £21, bottles from £40
Clarette is impossible to miss from the street, since it’s housed in a beautiful mock-Tudor building with stained glass windows. Indoors, it’s just as beautiful, with pastel-coloured velvet seating and gallery walls.
This place is a little pricier than some of the others on this list, but the focus is on fine French dining and fine wines, so it comes with the price point. There’s a large selection of sweet dessert wines as well as all the classics.
If you have no idea what you’ll like, try a wine flight – 50ml each of three different types of wine.
10. Lady Of The Grapes
📍 Covent Garden
🍷 125ml glass from around £8, 500ml carafe from £32, bottles from £33
Lady Of The Grapes focuses on female winemakers / female vineyard owners, organic wines and French-inspired artisan foods.
The wine list has some inspired selections – for example, in addition to the usual red, white and rose, you can get orange wine, a nutty, bitter twist on white wine made with grape skins.