Location: 70 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QG
Great for: grower champagnes. With a long list filled with unique grower champagnes this is where to be in London if you want to discover small batch, craft bubbles. With five being offered by the glass there’s plenty to explore (Gaston Chiquet for £6.5 is delightful) or if you’re ready to get stuck into a bottle the menu will certainly your choice is made much easier by dividing the champagnes by flavour, from fresh and clean to a touch a spice, ripe fruit bowl or toasty and nutty delights. Look out for Jacques Selosse, one of the visionaries in Champagne, as well as Pierre Péters and Chartogne-Taillet. Of course the real beauty of this place is taking champagne away from its normal habitats and pairing it with hotdogs.
2. Coburg Bar at the Connaught Hotel
Location: Connaught Hotel, 16 Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
Great for: unique expressions of grande marques. The Coburg Bar stocks Laurent Perrier, Ruinart, Pol Rogger, Krug and Deutz - and that’s it. However they stock nearly every bottling on those champagnes – here you can order Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs from 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2002. It’s a similar story with Pol Roger, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill and even further back with Pol Roger’s brut vintage, with Krug’s Clos du Mesnil, Vintage and Clos d’Ambonnay. Of course none of this will come cheaply but for those with a sustainable back pocket this is one of the most exciting places to discover old vintages.
3. Humble Grape
Location: 2 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1ED / 1 St. Bride's Passage, London EC4Y 8EJ
Great for: discovering your first grower champagne. The team behind Humble Grape have recently started importing bubbles from the Grand Cru grower Soutiran, offering a delightful mix of non-vintages from blanc de blancs to rosés as well as a few vintage styles from 2008. You’ll be surrounded by knowledgeable and passionate staff in a venue dedicated to drinking wine – so why not take that first step outside the big-brand box?
4. Searcys Champagne Bar
Location: Grand Terrace, Upper Concourse, St Pancras International Station, London, N1C 4QL
Great for: destination drinking. You’ve come here to sip champagne, Paris is a tantalising two hours away and there’s plenty of excellent fizz by the glass in case you decide a bottle will only prevent you from that last minute dash to France. This is where to come when you’re craving a crisp non-vintage grande marque champagne and nothing else will do.
5. Wright Brothers Spitalfields
Location: 8a Lamb Street, London, E1 6EA
Great for: seafood pairings. Timeout had it right when they said there are some formulas best not tampered with, and the classic seafood bar is one of them. Champagne is a natural pairing for Wright Brothers incredible seafood, especially the Billecart-Salmon marque – this champagne house is one of the few remaining to be owned by the original family and is renowned for the quality of its delicate rosé.
6. Noble Rot
Location: 51 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NB
Great for: Vintages. Noble Rot is arguably one of the very best wine bars and restaurants in London. 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 in town, and the chatty regulars. While there’s a great line up of non-vintages here, look out for vintages from 2002 (one of our favourite years), 2007 and 2000 all before you hit the £100 mark for a bottle. If you’ve got a few more pounds to spend there are more 2002 past that mark, plus a 1999 and a 1992. If you’re not swayed by the vintages then go no further than their Pierre Peters, Blanc de Blancs ‘Cuvee de Reserve’ from Mesnil-sur-Oger, the village that renders the greatest finesse and purity of any chardonnay in Champagne.
7. Beaufort bar at the Savoy
Location: The Savoy Hotel, Carting Lane, London, WC2R 0EU
Great for: grande marques. The Beaufort is staggeringly stylish – it feels like a your own personal corner of London decked out in black and gold. Here you’ll find classic champagnes such as Lanson, Krug and Pol Roger plus a wonderful array of vintages from Louis Roederer (known for owning a high percentage of their vineyards) all the way back to 1993. Not to be outdone the Savoy has it’s own list of growers such as the incredible Jacques Selosse and Egly Ouriet as well as vintage Cristal, rosés from Dom Perignon, Veuve, Ruinart and Bollinger. If you’re here with a crowd or extremely thirsty you can also treat yourself to magnums, jeroboams, methuselahs or even a nine litre salamanazar or a 15 litre nebuchadezzar.
8. Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels
Location: 8-10 Neal's Yard, London, WC2H 9DP
Great for: drinking in style. CVS is one of the most beautiful French-styled bars in London, all dedicated to wine, with 80% of the list sourced from French vineyards. This bar has an extensive champagne list, one which reflects sommelier Julia Oudill’s love of the category. Promoting small producers over big brands, Julia tries not to go crazy on prices and mark-ups, enabling guests to drink great value fizz. Look out for Egly Ouriet Grand Cru Ambonnay with its prolonged aging as well as some fantastic vintages from bigger brands such as Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot and Deutz.
9. Duck & Waffle
Location: Herron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Great for: timeless drinking. When it comes to Duck & Waffle the view is obviously paramount, and how delightful to sip champagne forty stories about London. However the real gem here is that you can order champagne whenever you feel like it, be it Midnight, 5am or with breakfast just a few hours later. The list isn’t huge and you’re looking to pay £75 minimum, but if you can afford it, a big further down the list you have some special vintages from Tattinger, Bollinger and Philipponnat. What else would you cheers the sunrise with?
Location: 5 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DW
Great for: organic champagne. Terroirs only work with winemakers who are sustainable, organic or bio-dynamic in the vineyard and with minimal interventions in the winery. Their champagne list is simple, made up entirely on non-vintage wine and the bar even says that champagne is classic with few surprises. However, if all you’ve drunk to this point is grande marques then the terroir aspect of organic champagne will be a big, notable difference. The grande marques source their grapes from across the region, meaning there’s no way to keep control of the farming methods. These champagnes are different, with more dedicated in the vineyards. Try a blanc de blancs from Jacques Lassaigne, a blanc de noir from Bertrand Gautherot or a harmonious blend of all three champagne grapes from Pierre Gerbais.