The intimate wine bar of the past, indelibly stamped with the tastes and décor of its owner is what I miss, even if that owner was a bit of a bore. Somewhere for people who really like wine, not just the latest fashionable grape or witty label. Somewhere that serves cheese, and salty bits. Somewhere that wine comes first, not décor. I like mustiness, old barrels as tables, bits of wine crate on the walls. A bit of tattiness does not go amiss. But slowly all the die hards are going.
One new wine bar to open and whose success is encouraging is Terroirs in Covent Garden. Well, not so much Covent Garden as, behind the Strand, diagonal from Trafalgar Square, a spit from the National Portrait Gallery and in front of the cop shop; 5 William IV Street WC2 to be precise. Very handy in fact and rather tucked away. Not that this prevents it from being crowded. The first time I went, on weekday, we were only just squeezed in front of the zinc bar, on a Saturday the bar remained packed but there was the odd table. I was taken by a wine obsessed friend from University days, now a barrister and we proceeded to drink the best part of 3 bottles of wine, leaving us just capable of getting off our bar stools. In my case I did manage to flag a cab, and turned up, very merry at the bearded one's home waving the remainder of a bottle of red (which the staff insisted I take) around like a captured roman standard. My companion was found by his wife, the following morning, fully dressed and fast asleep on the sofa.
VIEW: Mainly subterranean, French stuff on the walls, zinc bar and flitting staff.
FOOD: rustic tasty charcuterie and unpretentious tasty French stuff.
ENJOYABLE: Duck rillette, friendly staff and lots of quaffing.
WINE: Very good but mainly limited to France and immediate neighbours.
CRITICISM: has set sittings in one part of the place in the evenings.
The Retrometropolitan would take: Wine lovers, nibblers, people who like to drink…lots.