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A sneak peek behind soon-to-launch Fare Bar + Canteen

Wine and cocktails on tap, a sun-soaked terrace and woodfire pizza. We're all over this soon-to-launch Clerkenwell venue from Michael Sager and Marcis Dzelzainis.

If you’ve ever slurped a bottle of Gamay and woofed through a jalapeño cheese toastie on Hackney Road or basked in the sunshine with a Grapefruit Americano on Paradise Row then you’ll be pleased to hear Michael Sager is opening a new venue, and this time all-round cocktail whiz kid Marcis Dzelzainis is along for the ride not as a head bartender but a fully-fledged partner. 

Fare Bar + Canteen will open in a frankly enormous 4,500 sq ft site near Clerkenwell with a pretty simple concept at its heart; draught drinks and pizza. But don’t be discouraged it that sounds too unassuming. After all Sager + Wilde, the first venue from Michael, opened on a similarly basic concept of baller, tasty and well-made wine – with plenty by the glass, lots more by the bottle. 

Fare is a venue designed with millennials in mind. Which doesn’t mean it’ll be all dusty pinks and gold accents (although DrinkUp hasn’t had confirmation this won’t be the colour palate), it means this won’t be a meat-laden menu with drinks that’ll knock your socks off, charge you a fortune, open late and stay open later.

Because that’s not how we spend our money anymore. Most of the time anyway…

It just takes a glance over to the high street restaurant chains shutting up all over the country to notice there’s a shift in how we’re eating and drinking and the quality we’re prepared to pay for. Marcis and Michael know this only too well. 

‘Millennial’s choices have completed shifted on what they spend their money on. There’s ethics to consider, wellbeing and health. They’re the first generation to drink less than their parents and when we looked at why it’s gone that way it turns out they’re worried about the pressures at work the next day and don’t want to be hungover. It’s a radical shift,’ says Marcis. 

Fare will be open in the day, with Assemble Roast coffee that they’re describing as ‘a game changer’ and a menu that’s mostly based on veggies and plants. There’s still some meat there for the carnivores among us but it doesn’t dominate the list. 

‘As the site is multi-level one big concept doesn’t work. We’re zoning it in what will hopefully be a clever move so that it’s always busy at some point somewhere in the building,’ Marcius explains. 

Upstairs a wood fire pizza oven will keep our mouths watering while the outdoor terrace is going to be perfect for those long summer nights – which Fare will be able to catch the tail-end of once they open. 

With a huge wine list to match Michael’s incredible knowledge and passion for all things grape and fermented, he’s said the focus at Fare will be 100% natural ‘in his definition’ – meaning no more than 30 mg/l of sulfur in a bottle. Fare’s bottle list will be entirely in the cellar and there’ll be wine on tap as well as all the cocktails upstairs on draught too. You’ll have seen this concept at Duck & Waffle Local in Piccadilly, and when done well it means tasty drinks on your table and past waiting lips in mere minutes. 

‘We wanted to have multifunctional staff so everything is on draught, all they need is the product knowledge. citrus was a key component to figure out and we’ve ended up distilling our own bespoke hydrosols. All in all it took a year to figure out how to make really tasty tap cocktails,’ says Marcis. Which explains what he’s been tinkering away at in Sager + Wilde Paradise Row for all this time. 

It’s not just cocktails he’s been working on though. Fare will launch with three sodas; a pine, a pink peppercorn and a sandalwood. The idea is they can be enjoyed on their own or pimped up with some booze, but only a small measure – Marcis has designed these with 25ml pours in mind not your classic 50ml.  Gin, vermouth and americanos are going to go perfectly with the pine, mezcal, tequila and other punchy white spirits will do well with the pink peppercorn and the sandalwood will shine with darker spirits such as rums, whiskies and cognacs. 

Keen for it to be affordable, cocktails will start at £5, while wines on tap begin at £4 a glass.

Downstairs the bar will act as a collaborative working space with a rolling guest series from world renowned bartenders, both from the UK and overseas. 

DrinkUp has rarely seen a duo as formidable as these two collaborative for such a huge project. With Marcis leading the way for so many of London’s successful openings in the past few years (Dandelyan and Satan’s Whiskers to name just two) and Michael the owner of two of what are arguably among London’s leading wine venues, Fare is set to be among the new wave of restaurants that take us away from the high street and towards a more considered dining experience. Add in some dusty pink hues and gold accents and you’ve got yourself a working business. We’re kidding… kind of.