When I travel to cities, I like having my favourite places I return to on each trip. These can be attractions, neighbourhoods, bars or restaurants. In London I have many, one of them being a wine bar that isn’t so much a local secret, but it feels like it every time I visit.
Located on Villiers St in Central London, Gordon’s Wine Bar is the city’s oldest wine bar, dating back to 1890. Unfortunately this isn’t a secret, and it is well documented in many guidebooks about London. This isn’t that much of a drawback though, it just means you need to be there by 4pm to guarantee yourself a seat - giving you more time to enjoy the surroundings!
The proprietors here have thankfully employed a ‘no change’ policy. The décor you see today is the same that was there a hundred years ago; the bar still strictly only sells wine, just like it always has, while the soundtrack is the same today as it was when it first opened – the chitter chatter from those who surround you.
Finding the wine bar couldn’t be easier. Villiers St is beside Embankment Tube Station, which serves the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines. Each time I visit, upon exiting the station I always have a quick look at the London Eye which is located just across the Thames and Big Ben which is up the street. This always gives me that little reminder that the glass of Merlot I’m about to enjoy in one the word’s most authentic wine bars is in one of the greatest cities on the planet.
While the wines are the main attraction here including chilled Chardonnays and bottles of full-bodied Shiraz, you can eat here too. As you’d expect, a board adorned with the finest of cheeses can savoured, as can a selection of cold plates – think pork pie salad, pepper stuffed with feta cheese and organic cured pork sausage. Hot dishes are available too.
But wine is what it’s all about here, and it’s something they have in abundance. The wine list is, as you can imagine, extremely extensive and lists lighter, medium and full-bodied red and white wines. Each comes with its own description, availability (glass or bottle) and price.
For instance, if you’re looking for a medium-bodied red wine that will go well with salami and cheese, you might want to try a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Bove – an Italian red with a taste of ‘juicy cherry and black fruits’ that is ‘dry and backed with acidity’.
If it’s a rich, more complex white you’re after, try the sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. It’s ‘bursting with gooseberry and greengage fruit and minerality’. If it’s bubbles you’re after don’t fret – prosecco and champagne are on the list too. Eating and drinking is one of the best things to do in London. There are endless restaurants to choose from, while a pint in a traditional pub is part of the overall experience. But if you’re not in the mood for a full blown meal, or a night in the pub doesn’t excite you either, Gordon’s Bar will – light nibbles, wine to suit all tastes and (hopefully) good company is what you can enjoy here. The perfect night out. I strongly recommend pencilling in a visit in to your itinerary if you’re going.
For more information on Gordon’s Wine Bar visit their website
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