With the temperatures slowly rising and spring on the horizon (at last), there is nothing more relaxing than a glass of wine after a busy day in London. Although our hotel does not have its own bar (just yet), the city offers a wide range of wine bars. From very classy establishments to homely feeling bars, we have put together a selection of our three favourite wine bars you should visit while staying at The Cleveland Hotel.
1. The Kensington Wine Rooms www.greatwinesbytheglass.com
KWR is thoroughly modern in using dispensers to keep wine fresh for longer, so allowing single glasses to be served and thus facilitating experimentation. In contrast, its handsome, light-filled premises retain a comfort and clubbability that refer back to wine trade tradition. Usually busy, the venue seems to have become an unofficial clubhouse for a fairly smart Notting Hill crowd who drop by for everything from an aperitif and tapa to an evening blowout. Its close proximity to the hotel (15min walk) make it our number one!
127-129 Kensington Church Street
2. The Wonder Bar at Selfridges www.selfridges.com
Located at the heart of one of the most iconic luxury department stores in London, the Wonder Bar fuses together the art of shopping with that of a good glass of wine (ladies beware!). Customers are able to help themselves to small measures from up to 52 different wines, with the tiny 25ml pour bringing extremely expensive wines into the reach of ordinary mortals. What this means for the wine lover is that if you pop down to the Wonder Bar, you can get to try a sip of a Bordeaux Grand Cru for under £3 to see if it’s to your taste before parting with £30 or more for the bottle in the adjoining off-licence. The choice of wines remains good, with a nice mix of favourites and new, challenging flavours.
400 Oxford Street
3. Vinoteca www.vinoteca.co.uk
The no-bookings policy in the evening means it’s first come, first served, and such is Vinoteca’s reputation for interesting wine and food at very acceptable prices, there’s always a queue. Go at lunch if you want a guaranteed seat. The 25 wines by the glass change weekly, but typically traverse the globe from Austria (a Kurt Angerer 2009 Kamptal grüner veltliner) to Australia (a 2008 shiraz cabernet from One Chain Vineyards). Each dish comes with a wine suggestion. This lack of pretension combines with excellent dishes (rabbit and pork rillettes; pan-fried hake with broad beans, peas, fregola pasta and Amalfi lemon; or a selection of Spanish cured meats with almonds and olives) to create a winning formula. The punchily flavoured food is produced in full view from a tiny kitchen next to an equally diminutive bar, where there are a few perching stools for those waiting for tables. Ideal place to combine with a visit to the Barbican Centre.
7 St John Street