Dating 101: Wine Bars
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If Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard's love story in 2006 rom-com 'A Good Year' taught us anything, it's that wine, and all the chat around it, is hella sexy. It has the potential to bridge seismic differences - such as those between a mighty attractive French female lead and a hot-shot London-wanker.
Our takeaway? If a glass of vino can get that offensive bloke laid then imagine what it might do for you - a kind, liberal and gorgeous sort if ever we saw one.
P. Franco is a bit of an institution on the low intervention wine scene - almost single handedly making 'natural' the coolest wine for Londoners to drink. By day it's a friendly shop stocking unpretentious liquids; and by night it becomes one of the most intimate eating experiences about, where guest chefs work their magic over two induction hobs and serve up all sorts of goodies to a large communal table.
Sporting a charming little walled garden in the back, helpful staff, tasting evenings, cheese boards and quite the selection of cured meats (wild boar for you, sir?), Newcomer Wines is the spot to impress. Choose from over 250 wines from Austria and other European countries: every wine has a tale to tell and if you have the time then they have the stories.
As both a wine bar and deli, Furanxo has all the hook ups for some seriously choice eats. The airy space transitions seamlessly from daytime bodega to bar, packed most nights with a buzzy mix of languages and personalities. Carefully selected wines by the glass go hand in hand with their cheese and charcuterie boards - which can also be packed up in quaint parcels to take away.
The pigs with the power up at Jamon Y Salud (one of Spain's top jamón ibérico producers) had the bright idea of opening a tapas bar in Islington; and we think they're onto something. You know jamón ibérico right? The one where the pigs eat acorns so they're extra tasty. Well Llerena is filled with the stuff. Platters of cured meats, creamy cheeses and vino tinto. Where do we sign?
Mountgrove Bothy is a cosy and intimate neighbourhood wine bar hidden away on an indistinct street in Highbury, where a relaxed vibe is paired with an unrivalled selection of rare wines. And we really mean that - if you love wine you need to come here and chat to Gareth, who'll take you on a tour from peppy orange tipples from Canterbury to full bodied Merlots from Croatia.
Younger sister of WC in Clapham, Good Neighbour riffs on the same classic combos - wine, charcuterie and cheese. Throw in some low lighting and a little live music and you've got yourself a real good recipe for romance. Their menu offers a good range of cheese and cured meats, pizzette (that's mini pizza, guys), and a tidy selection of seasonal small plates too.
The Drop offers a good (but not overwhelming) range of fizz, orange, rosé, white and red wine. Sit at high stools, under a beautiful vaulted brick ceiling and sip on a glass of something rare while enjoying simple and hearty British cooking: chicken liver pâté, rarebit, pork pies - the kind of food that cries out for fine wine.
This rather swish looking wine bar isn't what you'd expect to find in the backstreets a short walk from Elephant and Castle station, but gentrification rages strong in these parts. So here we have it: a rather nice, relatively reasonably-priced coffee and wine bar with a focus on unusual bottles, lesser known regions and small suppliers.