From the hustle and bustle of Borough Market to hipster hangouts in Peckham, the South East has plenty to keep wine lovers entertained. As the sun gets lower and the evenings draw in, these are our top picks of places to cosy up with a great glass of wine this autumn.
1. Mercato Metropolitano covered market, Elephant & Castle
Photo Credit: www.bottlesnbattles.com
South East London has plenty of famous food markets to explore but with unpredictable autumn weather, wandering outdoors in search of great wine venues is less appealing but Mercato Metropolitano, a hidden gem a short distance from London Bridge and Elephant & Castle tube stations is perfect for an afternoon sipping wine.
Fans of Italian wine should make a beeline for Bottles & Battles, tucked away in the middle of the market. Enjoy the beautiful rustic interiors while sampling the vast selection of carefully curated Italian wines from independent producers by the bottle or glass, also available to take away. There is a concise seasonal menu of cheese, charcuterie, pasta dishes and small plates if you feel like lingering longer, but there’s more to the market than Italian wines.
Former Barrafina chef Javier Duarte Campos launched Abel restaurant this spring serving hot and cold tapas, pinxtos, Spanish wines and cocktails that will push you beyond classics such as Rioja and cava. The menu rotates regularly but try the Txakoli if it’s available. This Basque Country lightly sparkling wine is poured from a height adding dramatic flair.
2. Good Neighbour, Camberwell
Photo Credit: www.goodneighbour.uk.com
Good Neighbour, as the name suggests, is what everyone wants to find on their local high street. Opened in March this year after the sudden closure of Cannon & Cannon venture Nape, the owners have transformed the space into a stylish, slick drinking den.
Sit near the entrance on high stools to watch the world go by through the glass front windows or snuggle up in the back and admire the soft lighting, banquette seating and the tiles along the bar.
On a crisp autumn day, enjoy the garden space out the back, but if the weather is frightful the downstairs bar with low ceilings and exposed brick walls makes for wonderful surroundings to work through the wine list.
The menu features mainly European wines and lesser known varieties in 125ml, 175ml, carafe and by the bottle. There’s also a nice touch for adventurous wine drinkers with a curated menu of five of their favourite bottles for £25.
Good Neighbour’s menu goes beyond standard wine bar fare, broken into sections with plenty of choice from cheese and charcuterie, snacks, vegetable dishes, seafood, meat and desserts. Prices start from as little as £3.25 for snacks with most small plates comfortably in the £7 to £10 range, so it works well for everything from a quick bite to a blow out meal.
The bar is perfect for an intimate date, catch up with friends or a bigger group get-together as there is plenty of choice and knowledgeable staff. I’ll admit I don’t know too many non-wine drinkers but if you do, they’ll appreciate the craft beer and spirit options. (Listen to Lawrence Francis’s podcast at Good Neighbour here)
3. Californian Sun with WEST Wine Kitchen in Peckham Levels
Photo Credit: www.peckhamlevels.org
A converted car park in Peckham might be a million miles away from sunny California, but for a break from chilly London in Autumn head to WEST Wine Kitchen.
With stripped back wooden interiors, the most instagrammable small plates in Peckham and music floating from the Peckham Levels bars, WEST Wine Kitchen is perfect for a boozy brunch, weekend afternoon or evening out.
The bar was started by two friends with a passion for wine and a conscious approach to vegetable centric food and sustainable catering. The all-day menu has a range of healthy-ish options with a California lilt such as ceviche and tacos.
The wine list features biodynamic and organic wine at a reasonable price point – on my visit wines ranged from £6 to £9 by the glass. They stock orange, sparkling and sweet wines alongside a longer list of reds, whites and rosé and the enthusiastic wine loving staff are happy to make a recommendation to help you find an old favourite or steer you towards a lesser known grape variety or region so make the most of a few hours to enjoy Californian living no further than Peckham.
About Wine Tasting Louise
Louise Dunne recently started sharing her London wine bar suggestions, wine reviews and wine pairing recommendations on Twitter, Instagram and her blog. When not in her day job in Product Marketing, she can usually be found scouting London neighbourhoods for independent wine shops and the best wines by the glass, preferably in dog friendly venues that stock hearty Swartland whites.
Interested in more articles about cool London openings? Read about Bottles in Spitalfields or Tequila hub Sin Gusano in Brunswick East. You could always do a food and drink tour of London to give yourself even more choice too.