I’m a fan of Farringdon, something about the old Smithfield market and the remnants of Dickensian London make me see it as ‘real London’, before all the Shards and the Cheese graters and the walkie talkie buildings got in the way. Not only is there some beautiful architecture in the Farringdon area, there are some hidden gems like The Winemaker’s club tucked away underneath the Holborn Viaduct.
A couple of weeks ago I met up with some friends at The Fable which is just before the viaduct and even though it goes against my previous point about the old feel of Farringdon (it’s in a building of pure glass), inside it couldn’t feel any warmer and inviting. The walls are lined with pages from novels old and new, and one of the main features of the downstairs bar is the large dinner sized table which is a caved in snug enclosed with books upon books.
The Winemaker’s club drew us in because at first glance, it literally looks like the entrance to a secret den. It’s not dingy or dark, but instead had a Lady and the Tramp style table set up complete with waxed out wine bottle candle holders and checkered table cloth. The doors are weighted with wine bottles meaning you can only really push the door one way or risk glassing yourself and upon walking in, I was pleasantly surprised with the a) musky but sweet smell and b) the rows upon rows of wine on the wall.
Now the service works that you can either go ahead and choose a glass of any of the eight wines they currently have in rotation, or you can select (with or without help) from the big selection of wines on the wall. It actually felt all a bit religious, probably to do with the high arch ceilings and the smell of old wood you associate with churches. We opted for a little help in deciding which wine we’d go for, and after a few conversations of nodding and pretending that I knew loads more about wine than I actually do…we chose a simple Italian Soardo Bianco Vespaiolo. If you’re buying the wine to take away, you pay the price on the ticket, if you’re staying in you pay an extra £5 on the ticket price. The space isn’t huge, but if you’re paying to enjoy a nice wine, you might as well go the whole hog and pay to sit in.
Every Tuesday from 7pm, the doors close and the Winemaker’s club lives up to it’s name by turning into a club…for wine tasting. About 10-15 people, paying £15 per head, are invited to taste wines from all over the world, chat over cheese and generally soak in the atmosphere. A great present for a visiting parent or just as something a bit different to do on a weekday.
If you want to reserve a place you can call 0207 236 2936 or visit their website thewinemakersclub