Guest contributor, Natalie Wilson has 5 Of The Best Wine Bars In The UK in her sights…
At the end of a long week, there’s often nothing better than sitting down and enjoying a glass of wine in order to soothe the stresses of the day. In the UK, there is a new trend where casual wine bars are transforming the way that we eat and drink when it comes to socialising during the week. With exciting new wines and food of excellent quality, there are some truly wonderful bars and gastropubs to explore across the UK if you are searching for an evening of great wine tasting and good food.
Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table, St Ives
A wine shop and delicatessen, Scarlet Wines is one of St Ives best-hidden gems. With over 300 different wines from around the world and The Vineyard Table restaurant, this is a great place to spend an hour or two at the end of the week.
Their selections of wines are, as you’d expect, vast and impressive and all bottles can be enjoyed in the restaurant, with a small surcharge. Simple and tasty, their Mediterranean menu takes huge inspiration from Italy, Spain and France with dishes including crispy squid, baked cod and fresh salads – all to be enjoyed alongside a glass or two of wine.
Just 10 minutes from St Ives train station and just 15 minutes from Penzance, Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table is in one of the most picturesque places in the UK and just a stones-throw away from St Ives Bay.
When it comes to wine, size isn’t everything. Huge wine lists, whilst thrilling, can also be extremely intimidating. Every now and then, you just want an expertly chosen wine menu that is full of exciting finds.
Porta in Chester is a place which offers this experience. With just 8 wines to choose from, it’s likely that you’ll experience a wine which is completely new and full of flavour. The tapas menu here is designed to be enjoyed alongside their specialist wine and gin offerings and features your classic choices, as well as some dishes that are sure to pique interest and variation.
The purple sprouting broccoli with romesco sauce and almonds is something which must be tried, whilst the slow roasted ox cheek and pickled walnuts is a firm favourite. Porta doesn’t take bookings or reservations, so if you fancy trying here for your next after-work tipple, be prepared to wait for a table.
One of Manchester’s most popular wine bars, Evuna now has 4 locations spread across the city. Both a tapas restaurant and wine importer, Evuna is heavily focused on wine. With a huge wine menu to choose from, you’re sure to find one to suit your tastebuds. Thankfully, the menus are split into ‘ages’, ranging from mature and oaky to fruity and the waiters are all trained to guide you through your choices.
The tapas menu is one of the most popular in the city, so if you’re looking for where to eat in Manchester, it is likely that you will be recommended to visit here. The Northern Quarter bar has now been open for 5 years and is the most popular branch of Evuna and is noted to have the best food. Whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-free or just looking for good Spanish tapas, then you’re sure to find something to enjoy with your wine.
Smith & Gertrude, Edinburgh
Breaking away from the old-school 80s wine bar associations, Smith & Gertrude is a sleek and modern bar full of Scandi vibes. It is a cosy place to sit and enjoy wine, with 20 wines available by the glass. Many of the customers are regulars, popping in for a glass of wine after a day at work or on a Saturday afternoon with a paper. The bar has won a host of awards, including Best Wine Bar in Edinburgh.
Inspired by wine bars in Melbourne and New York, the owners Amy and Duncan hoped to create somewhere with a similar concept. Both places are huge foodie-focused cities, with brunch and after-work drinks a huge part of the day-to-day culture for local people. Smith & Gertrude is a now a must-visit bar in Edinburgh and is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Nestled in the middle of The Lanes, Plateau is a wine bar full of energy. With a huge reputation in Brighton, the wine bar is slowly becoming more well known further afield and is now known for being one of the best wine bars in Brighton. Plateau feature organic and biodynamic natural wines to reflect their ideology of sustainability, ethical farming and quality. Their natural wines tend to be made in smaller quantities, often by independent or artisan producers who tend to work without the use of chemicals.
Their food menu also echoes their sustainability focus, making it a key element in their dishes. Focused on the seasons, the produce is sourced from biodynamic farms in the local area with the menu changing daily based on what is available from the local day boats, butchers, game hunters and foragers.