Whenever I think about London, one of the things that cross my mind it’s always to find a good wine bar or an old tavern, a good place where I can eat and drink nicely.
Located close to the Embankment Metro, you will find Gordon’s, the oldest wine bar in London, est. 1890.
Gordon’s wine bar is not only famous due to its premier award wine list, but also for its great variety of mature cheeses, and we all know, wine & cheese is one of the best combinations ever, a pairing no one can object to, a combination that’s hard to break up. Homemade pies, Sherries and ports (served from the barrel) are also an option.
I was introduced to Gordon’s through a dear friend who lives in London and I must confess, if I have to find it myself it would take a little longer, because once you see the place, you wonder if you really found it. A small alley leading to stairs into a cellar. The entry appears to be a little tight and everything, but, by the time I got there, around 3:00 pm, and after a long walk since Kensington Garden, I was famished and thirsty. All I could think of was having a good wine, seat, eat and relax.
My first impression: I was ecstatic. I live in São Paulo/Brazil and I can say that almost nothing impress when it comes to bars, etc. because here is one of the cities where you can find anything, everywhere, I mean, all kind of places whatsoever. But like these old taverns from Europe, not a chance. And even for Londoners or Europeans, you can see that Gordon’s impress for its unique social and cultural facts. I imagine how this was in the Victorian era (oh guess who was born here in 1579? Francis Bacon!!). So many things and tales about this place!
When you enter in this small cozy tavern, with enigmatic dark cave rooms, all the smell of wine, cheeses, candles, those old historical newspapers, pictures, paintings, drawings all over the walls, immediately you can feel the energy of a place that has lots, lots of history.
Placed in a building that it’s old as 1680s, and which only became a wine bar around 1860s, Gordon’s impress with its medieval stylish, the dimly lit cellars (in the bottom you can’t barely be on your feet) and its mysterious amount of energy.
Once, Rudyard Kipling wrote “the light that failed in the parlor above the bar”. Kipling used to live upstairs as a tenant in the 1890s. And whenever you need a fresh air, Gordon’s also offers a very nice outdoor terrace.
Forget about drinks and beers, you’ll only find wine there. And, talking about the wines, I must say you have to explore this world. Taste a wine is not the same for everyone, it’s subjective (have in mind that the best wine is always the ones you like it). And when you go to Gordon’s, you must have minimum 2 bottles.
With that said, I highly recommend trying the medium bodied Pinot Noir “Fat Bastard”, a very intense red wine. This is an excellent French choice created by two friends called Thierry and Guy.
The name evoked from the expression that came out of Thierry’s mouth to describe one of the first wines they created by leaving the wine on the lees (yeast cells) – “now zat iz what you call eh phet bast-ard”. And the results couldn’t be any better.
My other recommendation is the full bodied Echeverria Reserva Merlot 2010. This red wine it’s an excellent choice, red fruits aroma to eat along with the classic American cheese, Monterey Jack. Magical combination.
There are no waiters there to go on the tables. You go and you pay on time for your cheese choices, and the same goes for the wines, and it’s hard to pick once you have so many to choose.
At Gordon’s you can find all kind of people. A global mix with foreigners, executives, tattooed girls, friends, travelers, fashion, young, old, all sorts. A place that once you get to know, you never want to go away.
I must say that, first time there I was kind of 3 hours maybe, second one, oh geez, i got there even earlier, and the bottles just kept coming, and I do remember one thing: by the time I left it was nearly midnight! I loved the place so badly, that every time i step in London, I’ll pay back a visit in this lovely tavern!
Gordon’s Wine Bar
London WC2N 6NE
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