Steam Wine Bar
Steam looks more like a cricket pavillion than a wine bar, but hidden deep beneath Eastcheap there are some brilliant wine offers. Throughout July and August, a bottle of house wine is just £8.95 and a bottle of prosecco just £16.95. Hideously popular with insurance brokers (unsurprising given its Monument location), this cute wine bar is a real find.
1 St Georges Lane,
I’ve a lot of love for Brokers, purely because each time I go in I’m greeted as warmly as the first. It’s traditional time-old ‘City’, where on Friday the bar wheels out its wedding-style buffet for neighbouring insurance brokers. Set high above Leadenhall Market, enjoy the view over the bustle below while sipping a nice Rioja, before the bar descends into Friday night lock-in chaos.
9 Leadenhall Market,
Willy’s Wine Bar
One of the most established wine bars in the City, Willy’s is nestled away down a dark alley off Fenchurch Street. While it looks a bit red light district from the outside, inside Willy’s is warm and cosy, all intimate alcoves and soft lighting. Order the famous fish and chips, peruse the nine-page wine menu and remember that it doesn’t matter that you’re underground, as the weather is so crap anyway.
107 Fenchurch Street,
The Bolt Hole
Yet another cavernous wine bar (why are wine bars always cavernous?), but this time edging away from insurance broker land around Monument. So traditional is the Bolt Hole that if you cut it open, the Square Mile would bleed out. Think red polyester lounge chairs, intimate alcoves and exposed brick ceilings. It’ll both welcome you with open arms and provide a dark corner for you to hide in. Plus, there’s half-price champagne every day from 5pm-7pm.
2 Suffolk Lane,
The City Flogger
Yet another Fenchurch Street-based watering hole. The City Flogger is part of the Davy’s chain, but is no less traditional and still involves you losing all mobile phone signal as you sit drinking a cut-price glass of wine underneath Leadenhall Market. To prove its authenticity, bottles of wine and barrels are perched at odd angles in the bar. The wine list isn’t the most extensive, but there are some good finds including a 2010 Sancerre.
120 Fenchurch Street,
Lastly, no piece about City wine bars could forget chain Corney & Barrow. One of my favourite Square Mile chains, there’s almost always a C&B on every corner of EC1 and Thursday nights at a C&B are the usual raucous affair. Plus, Devonshire Terrace (the chain’s most upmarket outpost) is giving away a free bottle of wine to patrons who book a table of three or more for lunch. And with a decent wine cellar to boot, this isn’t a bad deal.