London is in the grip of a wine bar revolution. And there's a huge new one on the way. Humble Grape opened its first wine bar and shop in Battersea last year and now they're planning a second one - this time on Fleet Street.
They'll be taking over a huge space on St Bride’s Passage, just off Fleet Street which, fittingly, used to be The Press House Wine Bar, once a famous drinking den for journalists. It all sounds very convivial, being tucked away in the vaults of St Bride’s Church (yes that's where Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall exchanged their wedding vows at the weekend).
The site's been unoccupied for several years. But when Humble Grape are done with it there'll be a 200 seat wine bar, shop, events space, 18-seat private dining room and wine cellar. The gist is that you get to decide how you want to drink your wine - at the bar, attending a tasting or winemaker dinner, or buying bottles to take away
As for the wine itself, the company directly imports handcrafted wine from small, sustainable, independent vineyards worldwide, avoiding the industry-standard markups from agents, importers or distributors. The wine list will feature around 30 wines available by the glass or carafe and over 200 wines available by the bottle to drink in or take away.
The food also sounds pretty good. Head Chef Anna Allan (previously at The Chelsea Arts Club and The Shed in Notting Hill) has come up with a menu of wine matched Humble Plates. She's sourced her produce from similarly independent suppliers. Dishes can include
- Galician octopus with chargrilled leeks & triple cooked new potatoes
- Roast bone marrow with dipping soldiers
- Lamb Ribollita stew
Humble Grape Fleet Street is open now at 1 St. Bride's Passage, London EC4Y 8EJ. They're taking bookings for their soft launch with 50% off food until 10 May here. Keep up with their news on Twitter @humblegrape