As with many excellent stories, this one starts with two men walking into a bar, a bar that until that moment – unless you have had the good fortune of passing by the idyllic Lamb’s Conduit Street – had surely remained one of London’s truly hidden gems.
Having discovered this most charming of old-school wine bars, Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew – the founders of our favourite wine magazine Noble Rot and heroes of this tale – later sent an Uber over to Lamb’s Conduit Street carrying copies of their most recent issues along with a proposition to buy the bar, crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. Luckily for them the proprietor of 30 years was feeling just about ready to take a well-earned break and promptly took them up on their offer… Well, you don’t ask you don’t get right?
And so here we are, a little over two years from launching their creatively driven magazine that sees the likes of Brian Eno and Mark Ronson waxing lyrical about wine and gastronomy, and Noble Rot has jumped out of the pages of its beautifully designed magazine and become a real life restaurant and bar. A very classic, Parisian style of wine bar that combines great food (overseen by Stephen Harris and Paul Weaver from Michelin Starred The Sportsman) with a diverse and exciting wine list.
Much like our fair city the venue is a fantastic contrast of old and new, Grade 2 listed and dating back as far as 1700, it is steeped in history and filled to the brim with period features, oozing with the kind of warmth you can only find in a really old London bar, while the walls are adorned with brightly coloured pop-art prints of the magazine’s iconic artwork, giving the venue a big stamp of Noble Rot’s trademark wit and contemporary style. If only those same walls had ears one can only imagine the stories they could tell.
Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling.
The ‘by the glass’ list will most certainly see you popping in for a quick drink and leaving a few hours later in a taxi. Put together as Dan tells us “to showcase undervalued gems that deliver great flavour” many are also served at 75ml measures giving you the opportunity to work your way through even more of their expertly chosen tipples before you fall off your bar stool. Start the evening with the Sparkling Vouvray and you know you’re in business.
The atmosphere is inviting and there’s plenty of friendly faces around, both with the staff – a knowledgeable all-star cast of London’s very best sommeliers and managers, gathered from Sager & Wilde, Clove Club and Hawksmoor no less – and the chatty regulars, helping Noble Rot evoke the warm and fuzzy feeling that this really could become the place where everybody knows your name.
We’ll see you at the bar.