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24 April 2014

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Champange Bars

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Champagne bars are springing up everywhere in London: in swish hotels, top department stores and even train stations. Julie Sheppard uncovers some of the best spots to enjoy a glass of fizz


Amuse Bouche

51 Parsons Green Lane, SW6 4JA, 020 7371 8517

Decor at both the Parsons Green original and its Soho sibling on Poland Street is minimalist, but thankfully so are the mark-ups at these two proudly egalitarian Champagne bars. As well as a list of 30 reasonably priced fizzes, ranging from house Champagne Bouché at £23.50 up to a magnum of Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé at £1,500 (amazingly good value when you consider there are only 24 bottles in the UK), weekly blackboard specials offer even more value for money. And prices aren’t the only small thing here either; mini eats, such as soup shots and tiny cones of perfectly cooked chips, will help to keep you going, as you taste your way through the list.

Dion

Dion 52-56 Leadenhall Street, EC3A 2BJ, 020 7702 9111

There are three branches of Dion across London: City, housed in a converted bank, St Paul’s, offering views of the cathedral, and Canary Wharf, which is definitely the glamour puss of the group with its grand sweeping staircase, gold sculptures and outdoor terrace – perfect for a glass of bubbly in the sunshine. The fizz on offer includes dependable names such as Billecart-Salmon, Jacquart and Veuve Clicquot. But thanks to a special relationship with Krug, which sponsors the Krug Room at St Paul’s, you’ll also be able to pick up some great back vintages including Krug Clos du Mesnil 1996 (£795) and a magnum of 1979 for a cool £1,500.

Gilt Champagne Lounge

Jumeirah Carlton Tower, 2 Cadogan Place, SW1X 9PY, 020 7858 7250

Gilt Champagne LoungeThis tiny jewel of a bar is a well-kept secret for Sloane Street locals, though it’s not a bad place for a celebrity spot either. Kate Moss, actor Trevor Eve and Arsenal’s William Gallas have all had a glass of bubbly here. As the name suggests, the interior is high glamour, designed in seductive shades of cream, gold and black and including lots of bespoke touches such as handbag-shaped gold ice buckets. The compact list of 10 Champagnes includes Louis Roederer Cristal at £230, but the best seller is Pommery Brut Rosé (£65). There’s also a bellini collection and a cocktail list featuring monthly specials: strawberries are the theme for June. If you’re feeling truly decadent, order the Louis XIII and Cuvée Louise Cocktail at £800.

Liberty Champagne & Oyster Bar

Liberty, 210-220 Regent Street, W1R 6AH, 020 7734 1234

Liberty_2_opt.jpg One of the true perks of shopping in London’s big department stores is the ready proximity of a glass of fizz. There’s the Champagne & Oyster Bar at Harrods, the Moët Bar at Selfridges and since last year, the Champagne & Oyster bar at Liberty. Located on the lower ground floor, the bar was once a humble Edwardian stockroom, but following a makeover, it’s now a white-tiled den with a sexy marble-topped horseshoe bar. The Champagne list is compact, offering a dozen bottles and only two by the glass, starting at £8.50 for De Nauroy Brut. And with a tempting range of seafood available too, you won’t need much persuading to take a bubbly break from your shopping here.

Kettners Champagne Bar

29 Romilly Street, W1D 5HP, 020 7734 6112

A Soho institution and one of London’s oldest restaurants, Kettners celebrates its 140th birthday this year – a perfect excuse to pop open a cork in its traditional airy ground floor Champagne Bar. The extensive list includes a fantastic selection of large-format bottles including a Bollinger NV Jeroboam (four bottles) at £260, a Louis Roederer Methuselah (eight bottles) at £510 and a Veuve Clicquot Salmanazar (12 bottles) at £775; right up to a hefty Pol Roger Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles) for £1,500. To fortify you while you work your way through those big boys, choose from crostini, ‘pizzettini’, and Galician-style squid served with Pernod mayonnaise or the Kettners’ Club Sandwich, all at £6.50 each.

POP Bar

London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE, 020 7493 8000

Pop Bar Just off the lobby of the Hilton hotel, the small but perfectly formed Pop Bar lists only Pommery Champagnes, including the fun mini Pop bottles in pink and silver at £20 each – sipped through a straw of course – and magnums of Pommery Brut Royal at £125. The bar is also a homage to pop art, with four specially commissioned pieces by Sir Peter Blake hanging on the walls. The list of 23 cocktails (all at £13.50) includes the heady Park Lane punch: lemongrass, Pimm’s, sloe gin, orange bitters and Pommery Brut Rosé. This summer also sees the introduction of a decadent afternoon tea menu, served on specially designed tiered tables and glam tableware both by artist Enzina Fuschini.

Texture

34 Portman Street, W1H 7BY, 020 7224 0028

Texture With a monster list of 88 bottles, featuring a good selection of smaller houses alongside the usual big names, Texture’s Champagne bar is the place to go if you want to try something different from your usual fizz. Bestsellers in the elegant bar at the front of the restaurant include Larmandier-Bernier by the bottle (£60) and Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV by the glass (£12.95). But super-sommelier Xavier Rousset will happily guide you through the choices on offer and recommend accompanying nibbles from the restaurant kitchen, such as moreish bacon popcorn. There’s also a short but reasonably priced cocktail list (all at £10), including the signature Texture cocktail (ginger- and lemongrass-infused syrup, mint and Champagne).

The Champagne Bar at St Pancras

St Pancras International Station, NW1 2QP, 020 3006 1550

Champagne Bar St. Pancras The fact that this is Europe’s longest Champagne bar alone makes it worth a visit, but add in the fact that it opens from 8am and does a mean deal on a Champagne breakfast (scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, toast, tea or coffee and a glass of bubbly for £17.50) and there’s more than enough reason to visit the Searcy’s bar at the Eurostar terminus. The 70-bin list majors on dependable big names including Bollinger, Moët & Chandon, Mumm and Laurent-Perrier, with a good selection of 11 by the glass. You can also find some notable rare vintages such as Krug 1976 (£550) and Dom Pérignon Œnothèque 1985 (£750).

Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2008