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Review of Gordon's Wine Bar

Gordon's Wine Bar
Ranked #739 of 28,724 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $26 - $59
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Trafalgar Square / Embankment
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The title says it all. A perfect place for a date night or an after work tipple. The candle-lit cave/cellar makes this place, and they fill the glasses right up! Lots of varieties of wine to choose from and we loved the selection of mezze snack plates. Will definitely be visiting again in the future.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank sjking1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Gordon’s Wine Bar is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London having been established in 1890. Being the oldest wine bar in London, Gordon's must be doing something right.

The bar is loved by old and young alike due to the totally unique atmosphere in which time seems to have stood still. As you enter the bar you find yourself in a room with old wooden walls covered in historical newspaper cuttings and memorabilia faded with age.  Don't expect to get a table in the romantic candlelit coves on a Friday or Saturday night!

Make your way to the cellar and you need to stoop to get to your rickety candlelit table – anonymity is guaranteed!  Feels like back in time. But what a place. Inside is this amazing dark wine dungeon where you could spend days drinking great wine and eating cheese.

The cave ceiling is pretty low in places so watch your head! Everything is really tight inside, so if you are claustrophobic, this is not a good place to be.

Otherwise there is the extremely long terrace outside, with heaters and blankets. Sitting outside under heating is quite pleasant.

The award-winning wine list is varied and full of interesting wines at very high prices. Sherries and ports are served from the barrel. Food comes in proper portions ranging from homemade pies to wonderfully mature cheeses (boards), homemade cold plates, meats and evening tapas.

As much as I love to meet my friends there, unfortunately few disappointment points:

-  Toscar Tempranillo 2015 paying for a bottle 26.75, where same wine in Abel & Cole shop would cost less than 10 quid.

-  The wine glasses are not proper wine glasses. Definitely too small which means the wine is poured almost to the top. You can’t taste any wine in old fashion way.

-  Staff behind the bar and services team… oh my! Such a lovely guys but no smile, no excitement, no emotions. Make my day! Bring your British Charm!

-  And please, security team – very unpleasant and puts you off not to come again… Sorry

One off visit is perfect, and you get unique experience! The atmosphere is excellent for a short time. Place is dusty, grimy but full of charm, it's a love or hate thing :)

Date of visit: January 2020
1  Thank hotel_inspctUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Have been coming to Gordons for over 10 years on what we call the Gordons Express (train from Southampton), first stop is always Gordons Wine Bar. We have recommended this bar to countless friends and on my mates visit from South Africa this was no exception but on arrival we couldn't believe what we were seeing!!! The fabulous food counter has gone !!! replaced by a modern brightly lit fridge that is totally out of place, the food is served in portions not big enough to feed a mouse but the same price as before, no hot food in the day, a bar/obstruction had been added to one of the most atmospheric parts of the bar and the once informal terrace has been regimented.
On the up side at least the cave is unchanged and the staff are as friendly as ever, the food was also good quality but simply not enough of it (even the bread has shrunk in size).... this trip was a huge disappointment......somebody has killed the once wonderful Gordons Wine Bar !!!!......it is with regret that we will have to find another express train to take us to London from now on !!

Date of visit: January 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank 844geoffh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AmandaW621, General Manager at Gordon's Wine Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Dear Geoff,

It was with a heavy sigh that I read your review but I am grateful that you took the time and trouble to write. On the up side, I am glad you found our staff friendly and you still enjoyed the cave - it has changed a little, it's a lot less damp! Our builder has been brilliant at plugging the holes but has made sure the ceiling remains in keeping with expectation.

We love the idea of the Gordon's Express and really hope we can entice you back. We are reviewing the food menu and the bread size. Suppliers have been changed to meet delivery demands and we are still working to find the most reliable suppliers with the best bread to offer. Noted: bread portions and prices have changed.

The Gordon's family and bar management have had to respond to stringent new licensing conditions brought into effect in the autumn of 2019. The changes that have been made have not been undertaken lightly and we have agonised and discussed over many months how we could keep Gordon's going with the changes that had to made after the council removed our permission to remain on Watergate Walk. Without that area we simply could not make enough money to cover the rent, rates and running costs of the main bar. After much consultation it was agreed that if we made significant operational changes our permission to stay would be granted. So, we began by changing the set up outside to appease our neighbours by reducing capacity and to meet our newly imposed operating plan, hopefully making it more comfortable for our customers outside and more tolerable for our residential neighbours.

For many years we have needed to update our food serving area. With the restrictions on the terrace the customer dynamic changed inside - more people were coming inside to wait for a table and the queues for the food bar were getting increasingly longer which meant people either waited very patiently or gave up altogether and went elsewhere. Now we have table service and our customers in the main are delighted to be served quickly so they can enjoy more time with their companions. It is a big change but one we hope will serve everyone well. The new fridges, with lovely old wooden cladding are filled with all our cheeses and some of our wines to showcase what is on the menu - we are exploring ways of dimming the lights but it makes it very dark at night without them.

So, yes, we said farewell to our much loved food bar - we, too, were saddened but we have had to adapt and evolve to remain. However, the copper topped bar that was built by Luis Gordon from which the food was served has been saved and moved and while it may seem to be an obstruction it allows us to keep something historic and sentimental while allowing our standing customers to perch quite happily.

The change has been a challenge but we hope, with a little understanding and feedback that we can act upon, Gordon's will continue beyond its 130th year for many more years to come. We can't do that without you, and our other long standing customers. So please do come back and we will endeavour to give you a great time in the atmosphere that is uniquely Gordon's. Long live Gordon's!

With kind regards,

Amanda

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2020 via mobile

Absolutely the worst! We made a trip to Gordon’s based on reviews and recommendations. Not sure how this place as received any good reviews! Inside the bar/cave was so noisy that you couldn’t hold a conversation and the bathrooms were absolutely disgusting and filthy. Outside on the terrace was not much better. The waitstaff was non-responsive to the point of being almost nonexistent; the cheese plate was mediocre at best; and the atmosphere was that of a drunken sorority party. Completely underwhelmed and disappointed. Do yourself a favor and find yourself a truly romantic wine bar and don’t waste your time and money on this dump.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank Gmebrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2020 via mobile

Such a cool off the beaten path wine bar. If I remember correctly, they don’t take reservations for tables inside the bar, which is the coolest place to be, so just make sure you get there early enough to grab a seat inside the caves.

Huge variety of wines from all over so if you are a wine enthusiast, this is the place for you.

Date of visit: December 2019
1  Thank GZ89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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