Gordon's Wine Bar
Gordon’s Wine Bar is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London having been established in 1890. The bar is very much a family affair, owned by Wendy Gordon who is the wife of the late much loved Luis Gordon, and now overseen by Luis’ eldest son Simon. The Gordon’s wine bar family includes the bar staff many of whom have been with us for years under the caring management of Gerard who brings French joie de vivre to the atmosphere and ensures our customers are well looked after. We try to maintain the bar as our customers like it which basically means “no change!”. We have maintained the original décor and sell only wine, whilst providing traditional and well priced grub…. easier said than done in a world dominated by rules and regulations!
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. Make your way to the cellar and you need to stoop to get to your rickety candlelit table – anonymity is guaranteed! If the sun is out you can also sit outside in Watergate Walk and enjoy watching the world go by. The bar is loved by many because it has something to offer to each and every one of its customers.
The award winning wine list is varied and full of interesting wines at very reasonable prices. Sherries and ports are served from the barrel. Food comes in proper portions ranging from homemade pies to wonderfully mature cheeses.
Arthur ‘Staff’ Gordon, the previous owner of the bar, was one of the few remaining ‘free vintners’ who were able to set up and sell wines anywhere without applying for a license as a result of Edward III’s Charter to them in 1364 – granted as a result of Edward’s financial embarrassment at being unable to repay a loan made by the vintners to him some years earlier. The current Gordon family who own the bar are not actually related to Angus Gordon but it was a happy coincidence that Luis Gordon discovered the bar and took it over in 1975 so was able to maintain the Gordon name.
For those of you who are interested in history Kipling House, in which the bar is situated, was home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680’s and more recently (1820) was occupied by Minier & Fair, a firm of seedsmen who used it as a warehouse. This came to an abrupt end, when in 1864, the river was embanked and the warehouse became landlocked, following which it was turned into accommodation and Gordon’s Wine Bar began its life. Rudyard Kipling lived in the building in the 1890’s as a tenant.
The bar has many associations with the literary and theatrical fields. In the room overhead Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Light That Failed’ and both he and Chesterton wrote some of their works in the little parlour of the Wine Bar. Previously the original Player’s Theatre stood almost directly opposite, and the bar was (and of course still is) patronised by many illustrious thespians.
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