Gordon’s Wine Bar is a London institution, but one that I have only belatedly discovered. My friend Sully has been singing its praises for years but it was not until last weekend that he finally convinced me to go there. You enter Gordon’s down a steep, rickety set of steps off Villiers street and arrive in a cramped cellar with vaulted ceilings. The brick walls are black from candle smoke and who knows what else and the ceilings are so low that you have to duck your head but it is all terribly atmospheric. Candles flicker on the rickety tables and couples canoodle in the corners. Faded newspaper front pages from Queen Elizabeth’s marriage and other major events are framed on the walls, although these must be relatively recent additions as Gordon’s claims to be the oldest wine bar in London with an establishment date of 1890.
Gordon’s adopts a dictatorial approach which I instantly loved. There is a sign behind the bar which reads “We don’t serve beer or spirits. We are a wine bar.” The wine list has a host of options by the glass or by the bottle and there are also serious barrels of port behind the bar. We chose a bottle of Chianti for around £18 and the cheese board was an incredibly barginous £11.25 for a choice of three cheeses, bread, pickled onions and cornichons. You just specify to the bar staff whether you want hard cheese, blue cheese, cheddar etc. There are also some hot food options and other goodies like pork pies and scotch eggs.
Cheese board at Gordon’s
Gordon’s can get incredibly hot and packed and probably has serious health and safety issues with those low ceilings and lack of exits. It is great fun though and I can’t believe I waited so long to try it out.
Details: Gordon’s Wine Bar, 47 Villiers Street, Charing Cross WC2 6NE (Ph 020 7930 1408) Tube: Embankment
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my post on other great wine bars in London at Vinoteca and Brawn.