Visit London Blog » wine tasting Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 St Patrick’s Day 2014: Top 5 Irish Bars and Restaurants in London Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:00:35 +0000 On 17 March each year, London adopts a decidedly Irish attitude to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. In addition to the free St Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festival in Trafalgar Square (this year on Sunday 16 March) many London bars and restaurants take the opportunity to become Irish for a day.

There is usually a sharp rise in Guinness sales during the St Patrick’s Day weekend and the experience of having fun with friends over a beer is often referred to as “the craic”. When raising your glass, it is also polite to say “Sláinte” (pronounced “slawnt-yeh”). Here are our Top 5 Irish bars and restaurants in London for celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2014.

London’s top wine tasting attraction, Vinopolis, is hosting two St Patrick’s Day events in March. On Friday 14 March. a Celtic Céilí will take place under the railway arches. This will include dancing and a live céilí bands performing Celtic and Irish tunes; an ideal opportunity to try Irish dances such as Walls of Limerick and Waves of Tory. You can enjoy a wine tasting experience plus entry to the event (with free Irish whiskey cocktail) for £35 per person. For those who like to celebrate the Irish at a slower pace, there is also an Irish whiskey masterclass on Monday 17 March.

The Porterhouse is probably one of the biggest and most authentic Irish bars in London. This multi-level bar in Covent Garden is filled with an array of interesting beers, stouts, ales and porters, each lovingly hand-crafted in Dublin, then exported to London. There is also a basement bar where live music is performed on Sunday afternoons.

Waxy O’Connors
Another Central London bar that has strong connections with Ireland is Waxy O’Connor’s in Chinatown. This unique rabbit warren bar is popular with many London visitors due to its West End location and unusual décor. The bar will be hosting a week of Irish-themed, St Patrick’s Day events with drinks promotions, whiskey tastings, live music, St Patrick’s Day menu, live Six Nations rugby (France Vs Ireland producing probably the biggest crowd), plus a St Patrick’s Day parade party on Sunday 16 March.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is run by celebrity chef and Irishman, Richard Corrigan. On Monday 17 March, Richard himself will be hosting a special three-course menu (£60) from 12:30pm which will be accompanied by live Irish music. Bentley’s still stands in the same Victorian building where it first opened back in 1916, providing a traditional backdrop to this St Patrick’s Day feast.

The Irish bar group, O’Neill’s, has a number of pubs around London. O’Neill’s Soho is hosting a week of events in celebration of St Patrick’s Day starting on 12 March with two Irish bands playing until 3am. Other highlights of the week-long party include dancing, lots of Guinness, comedy hats, live football, live GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), live Six Nations rugby, and an all-day party on St Patrick’s Day itself.

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Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Bar Launch at Vinopolis Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:56:22 +0000 The Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Bar Champagne bottles Event space at Vinopolis Event space at Vinopolis Laithwaites, the wine shop at Vinopolis Barrel

Last night I went to Vinopolis for the launch of their new Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Bar. I dutifully drank my way through Champagne brand Nicolas Feuillatte‘s Brut Reserve Particulière, Brut Vintage and Rosé Vintage, all of which I’d happily and somewhat drunkenly recommend.

The bar is a large and luxurious space decorated with wenge wood and veneered oak, plus some big comfy chairs to recline in should the bubbles go to your head. It can be visited on a Vinopolis wine tour (either as part of the Celebration Tour or by purchasing an upgrade.)

The launch party was also a chance to take a peek at the rest of Vinopolis and appreciate just how big it is. Their event space was particularly impressive.

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Meet & Wine at Meat & Wine Mon, 09 Nov 2009 17:17:43 +0000 Meat & WineTurns out I don’t “know my Australian wines blindfolded”.

I’m not sure if my sense of sight, smell or taste let me down when I caught up with Meet & Wine on one of its regular wine club meetings at Meat and Wine at Westfield London last week.

Meat & Wine is the only restaurant of the worldwide chain in the UK. The menu includes a range of steaks as well as specialist meats such as kudu, ostrich and kangaroo. There is a huge wine list (at reasonable prices) to match your choice.  

Exposed stone, rich reds and browns, spacious seating with big tables, and candle-light reflecting off thousands of wine bottles in glass towers give a lush feel. It’s a steak house with a bit of class.

We had a wonderful intro from Ryan Morgan, representative of Rathbone Wine Group. He comes from the Margaret River region near Perth, which sounds simply fabulous: “You’re either a winemaker, a surfer, or you run an arts-and-crafts shop.”

Ryan ran through prominent Australian varieties and regions, and topped up our knowledge of vintages, alcohol content and price points before we began the blind tasting. 

Looking at the results, my team lacked both a nose and a palate, but knew approximately how much a wine should cost and how alcoholic it was.

Meet & Wine events offer different wine experiences each time – one popular summer event involved matching wines with barbecued meats. 

All the events are designed to improve your wine knowledge and palate while having fun. I’m no connoisseur and had a fabulous time. You just need to enjoy wine to have fun!

Next year, the Meet & Wine evenings will be quarterly, kicking off with a Valentines-themed evening of bubbles in February. Keep an eye on the site for more info.

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Friday Night Laughter Lounge at Vinopolis Tue, 04 Aug 2009 10:29:35 +0000 Vinopolis Laughter Lounge

Vinopolis stages a comedy night called Laughter Lounge the last Friday of every month so my mate Jo and I went along to check it out. As neither of us had done a Vinopolis wine tour before and share a deep, rather uneducated passion for drinking (wine in particular) we thought we would sign up for the Grapevine tour as well.

Our Grapevine tour kicked off with a 20 minute lecture which was brilliant. We learned how to look, smell, slurp and identify the complexities, balance and age of wine. Then we were let loose on the labyrinth of regional wine rooms. Armed with tasting vouchers we put our new wine powers to the test.

The highlight was definitely the initial lecture, after which we sampled some lovely wines from Lebanon and Greece that we would never have bought from an off-license. The tour is an educational experience rather than an opportunity to get sozzled. That said, the final gin cocktail definitely put a spring in our step in preparation for the Vinopolis Laughter Lounge.

Located in another part of Vinopolis’s wonderful cavernous stone areas, the Laughter Lounge is a large room with a stage, bar and seats.

The evening was held together by MC Dan Atkinson whose self depreciating, political gags really did make everyone laugh out loud. Other acts included Matt Blaize and the brilliantly camp Topping and Butch whose fabulous, stupidly revealing rubber costumes and cheeky ‘Never Mind, Never Mind’ cabaret songs stole the show.

Although the seats are arranged auditorium style, it’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere that encourages everyone to make as many trips to the bar as possible. Which makes perfect sense, as it is a Friday night and Vinopolis is London’s shrine to wine.

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