Topping up London’s burgeoning wine scene is Spitalfields bar, Bottles. Blending Italian charm with rustic sophistication, the drinking den is courtesy of the duo behind Bottles & Battles in Borough’s Mercato Metropolitano. Bottles’ philosophy is to introduce wines from independent producers and lesser-known grapes in need of due recognition.
Despite the tastefully refurbished Grade-II listed building and sommelier-grade staff, the atmosphere speaks of cosy communal drinking and laid-back date nights. Distressed leather stalls, exposed hardwood floors and cured hunks of meat showcased like trophies by the mozzarella bar add to the ambience.
The 180-strong wine list stars lesser-known gems plucked from small Italian farms in far-flung corners of Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia and Sicily. There’s a rich 2013 red, Vatellina Superiore Costa Bassa Sandro Fay, there’s refreshing whites like a 2016 Gattorosso Azienda Agricola Sagona.
Partnered with pop-up restaurant concept Sood Family, Bottles’ menu features light nibbles and medium plates – all high on the cheese count. Hot mozzarella oozes from parmesan-coated arancini. While the creamy tomato sauce that’s twirled around a heap of spaghetti clearly gets its richness from formaggio, too.
Grated curls of cheese even adorn the top of the mascarpone-heavy and coffee-free tiramisu. Peckish, post-office city overspill and lunching hipsters will have plenty to pair with their drinks.
Bottles’ patrons can saunter in via Old Spitalfields Market or enter from Brushfield Street. Opt for the market-facing doorway and you’ll be greeted by an al-fresco terrace, decked with chunky benches beneath Spitalfields’ impressive lofty ceilings.