Wild for Wilde
So, London has cocktail bars down to a tee. Sultry basement speakeasies, rooftop gardens, secret doors and negronis galore. What it hasn't accomplished with such flying colours and in such quantity are the wine bars. There is a splattering such as Gordons, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and Terroirs, and then your Vinoteca's and your 28º-50º's but the choice is by no means extensive in comparison.
This is why, when you find somewhere particularly special, it's time to grab the bull by the horns and refuse to let go. Hello Sager & Wilde in Hackney.
I appreciate that I'm a couple of years late to the game with this one since Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde (the super couple behind the wine bar) have already had their second child, Mission, which opened in Bethnal Green last year but better late than never. Hats off to a new addition to #teamfun, who completed the intuition test by introducing me to this 'utter gem.'
Pulling up a seat at the bar was our first success. Raised from the ground, the bar top was fashioned from cast iron and glassy brick paneling and got me all a flutter. 1920's station lights hang from the ceiling and dripping candles ooze from the tables adding to the cuddle of warmth that eludes from this remarkably unpretentious drinking den.
And then comes the wine. Over 30 different varieties are available by the glass, from the well known to the obscure including bottles from £20 that you'll have a difficult job finding elsewhere. Shining, thin-stemmed, tall goblets of delicate beauty await the sacred liquid (yes, this is how I speak now) and there is always help at hand to select a glass to suit your mood.
To accompany our Pinot and Beaujolais, we went coastal and ordered the sardines. Wrapped in a paper parcel (not tied up with sting), I was obviously on board, it's pretty much Christmas (or Chanukah) come early. Peeling back the satisfying tin lid revealed the newest zero-fuss staple in my life. Wine & cheese, steak & wine, wine & wine, and now wine & sardines.
The bresaola and mozzarella disappeared without my camera noticing, it was a little too distracted by beard. No East London establishment would really be complete without it.
I have a strong mind to move in an Easterly direction and make this little haven my office. It is a well known fact that wine promotes serious and tangible business ideas and it goes without saying that 'a glass a day keeps the doctor away'.
Regular winemaker nights and serving food till beautifully late add to the joy of the place. With opening hours like this, there really is no complaining..