Cocktails are de rigueur at London’s finest hotels, but many also boast an excellent selection of wine by the glass and bottle, says Fiona Sims...
Best London hotel bars for wine lovers
America might claim to have served the first cocktail, but the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel (pictured above) was the first to popularise the drinks in the UK, so it deserves its iconic status. Erik Lorincz is the most recent of only 11 head bartenders since it opened in 1893.
As well as guiding you around its prestigious cocktail list (the White Lady is the current top shake), he offers a line-up of equally starry wines, from by-the-glass offerings that include Pol Roger’s Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2004 at £90, and Stag’s Leap’s Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon at £29, and smart bottles such as Sassicaia 2008 for £420 and Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from £90. www.fairmont.com/savoy-london
The view of the Thames makes this a special setting for enjoying a glass of wine. Add to that the Tom Dixon interior, with its velvet armchairs and green marble bar, and it’s no surprise that this relatively new kid on the hotel bar block is turning heads.
The quirky list is the product of award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana – with help on the wine front from the sommelier in the hotel’s restaurant, Sea Containers, which broadens the selection.
The bar list includes a Riesling-Gewurztraminer blend from Apostrophe in Western Australia (£9 a glass, £42 a bottle) and Ventolera’s Leyda Valley Pinot Noir from Chile (£12.50/£50).
Birichino’s delicious Malvasia Bianca from Monterey in California is £56 a bottle, plump for Attems’s Pinot Grigio from Italy’s Veneto (£12/£50) – an orange wine. www.morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian
This is the first hotel for London’s most successful restaurant duo, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, so getting the vibe right was a breeze.
Think post-Prohibition New York, with black and white photos from the 1920s to ’50s, brown leather booths where you can eat chicken pot pie, and a handsome mirrored cocktail bar that focuses on the classics.
The wine list is split into European and New World reds and whites, with a separate section in each called ‘Limited Availability’, such as Felton Road’s Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014 at £88/bottle, plus highlighted ‘Featured Producers’, such as California’s Ridge Vineyards and Cos d’Estournel.
In the bar, drink Pazo Barrantes’ Albariño 2015 for £13/glass, a 2014 Californian Cabernet from Foxglove at £15.50, or pluck a bottle from the restaurant list, such as André Ostertag’s Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 2012 at £49.50.
Ernest Hemingway would have felt right at home here. www.thebeaumont.com
Popular with visiting Americans (it does a magnificent martini, including one with white truffles), this old school favourite is a beacon of cocktail excellence, thanks to head bartender Alessandro Palazzi.
It does a decent glass of wine, too – helped by the fact that you can order off the eclectic list at its new restaurant.
This is where James Bond creator Ian Fleming used to hang out, and the bar is said to be the inspiration for the classic line ‘shaken, not stirred’. And while there is a line-up of Champagne ( Perrier-Jouët NV at £17 a glass) Nyetimber from West Sussex in England is the hotel’s house pour, with the rarely seen demi-sec enjoying the spotlight.
Also on offer by the bottle are is Sharpham’s Dart Valley Reserve from South Devon (£45), a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Sileni (£49) and a Touriga Nacional from Duas Quintas in Portugal’s Douro Valley (£35). www.dukeshotel.com
The dynamic cocktail programme with its ever-changing roster of specials is one of the reasons why the Polo Bar is the current holder of Best Hotel Bar (London Club & Bar Awards).
Another reason is genial bar manager Elias Yiallouris who, as well as knowing his White Lady from his White Russian, also knows his grapes.
He works closely with the sommeliers at chef Alyn Williams’s restaurant located across the corridor, and customers can plunder that list here too, on request.
Back on the Polo Bar list, start with a glass of Gaia’s Assyrtiko from Santorini in Greece at £16, then maybe a bottle of Hirtzberger’s Wachau Riesling from Austria (£145) or Ten Minutes by Tractor’s Chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia (£110). www.westburymayfair.com
It has scooped World’s Best Bar four years in a row for a good reason. As well as show-stopping cocktails and the capital’s largest selection of rums, it has an extensive Champagne list and access to all the wines on the list at Roux at The Landau, the hotel’s swanky restaurant run by Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr.
Among the wine highlights are a long list from Californian maverick Paul Draper, and a significant trove from Rhône royalty Jean-Louis Chave.
Interiors legend David Collins was responsible for the décor, which blends a nod to the Orient with a bit of Victorian nostalgia. www.artesian-bar.co.uk
Located in Mayfair’s sumptuous Connaught Hotel, with its own entrance on Mount Street, there is here.
Yes, the cocktails made its name (the highlight is The Connaught Martini, served from a bespoke black-lacquer trolley with its range of handmade bitters) but the wines won’t disappoint.
You can keep it real with Pichler’s 2015 Grüner Veltliner, at £18 a glass, or try some seriously blue-chip wines by the glass, kept fresh underCoravin, such as Dagueneau’s Silex Pouilly-Fumé 2014 (£45) or Antinori’s Tignanello 2000 (£65), or order a bottle of one of the many Champagnes, including rarities like Salon’s Le Mesnil 1990 (£695).
Drinkers also have access to the list in Hélène Darroze’s two-star Michelin restaurant within the hotel. www.the-connaught.co.uk
The Zetter Group loves a good cocktail – which it leaves to famous mixologist Tony Conigliaro and the Drinks Factory, who train up the staff and oversee the list.
But it loves wine, too – especially at Club Zetter at the Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell.
It is a private members club, but only during the day – anyone can visit in the evenings. You can enjoy 20 wines by the glass, with the focus on unusual grape varieties like Godello and Refosco, with smarter bottles kept fresh through Coravin.
For fine-wine buffs there is also the Little Black Book of Wine, where new and interesting one-off purchases are listed at low mark-ups.
And there are wines on tap, plus wine flights.
Whites by the bottle include Greywacke’s Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand (£47), while reds range from Juan Gil’s Petit Verdot from Jumilla in Spain (£26) to a Marcillac from Domaine du Cros in Southwest France (£30). www.thezetter.com
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