This is a fantastic small wine bar with atmospheric cave like alcoves all candle lit. The bar area itself is like stepping back in time to a period of yellow walls and smoke stained photos with dusty used wine bottles for décor. It sounds a little dirty but it is more about the unchanged atmosphere so don't let this put you off. It has a buffet area for cheese boards and pickles which is great with wine together with some hot food selection. The premises also has a modern outside seating area with heaters.
Unfortunately, the bar staff let this beautiful place down. The bar staff are all of foreign nationality (which is in no way a problem but they seem to have no idea of English etiquette and do not seem to respect or represent the traditional wine bar establishment. When ordering a bottle of wine, I approached the bar and simply asked "can I have a glass of white wine" and the bartender responded with "please" ushering me to repeat the word "please". I was so surprised at this and there was a large queue that I just wanted to get my wine and go outside but I couldn't believe the attitude he had towards his customer. I made a polite request, "can I have....". The bar staff also seem to be smothered in tattoos (not that I have anything against this) and dress how they want to such as wearing death metal t-shirts, big beards and piercings. The glass collector outside looked weather beaten with a cigarette hanging out his mouth and only wanted to shift his weight and push past you to collect the glasses. The staff just do not seem to represent or reflect the type of clientele that enter the bar which is a bad message. I also asked one bar member about one of the white wine specials on the blackboard and he replied that he hadn't tried it. The staff are there to simply open bottles and do not know their wines.
I first came here 3 years ago on a Saturday night and was drinking in the outside area when a homeless man happened to come into the outside area and ask some people for change. He was harmless and probably well into his 50's. One of the Brazilian bar staff (who was showing off martial arts moves to his colleagues an hour earlier) came out, punched the homeless man in the head and threw him over the bins cutting the homeless mans head. About 5 customers went up to the bar member and confronted him telling him he was out of order and that was unacceptable while some customers attended to the homeless man's cuts.
The owners or management seriously need to address their staff on their behaviour and etiquette as this is a central London bar where tourists and city workers want to relax and take a break with a glass of wine, not to witness violence and be told off for not saying "please". I would have given this bar a 5/5 if it wasn't for this.
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