By Katie Wilson
London isn’t short of wine bars, but the newest one to open in the capital is doing things a little differently.
56 West Smithfield is in the city, as the name suggests, but is run by a family of French winemakers with a small boutique vineyard in Provence, close to the one owned by Brad Pitt.
The menu is small and exclusive, featuring their own Château De La Cômbe wines – three reds and two whites – alongside a select group of independent wines they have personally handpicked.
‘We know every person who makes our wine as it comes directly from their vineyards,’ Matt Landsberg, the son of the family, tells us.
Cutting out the middle man allows 56 West Smithfield to sell wine from a very reasonable £5 a glass or £24 a bottle, the same as if you bought it directly from the vineyard it came from.
In fact most bottles are under £30, which is practically unheard of in London. The most expensive item on the menu when we visited was a £60 bottle of Thierry Perrion, whose Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are sold to the top Champagne houses, as well as used to make their own premium bottles.
Split over three levels, the first floor at 56 West Smithfield is home to the bar and features a mix of stools, velvet sofas and a quirky wine barrel feature on the ceiling. This is also where you’ll find the wine shop, which is soon to launch online.
The second level has more seating and is better suited for dates, with big comfy armchairs and sofas on one side and cosy tables on the other.
Upstairs, the third level houses a private wine tasting room which regularly hosts events or can be booked out for intimate gatherings of up to 10 people.
In addition to the wine, delicious cheese, charcuterie and nibbles to accompany it are available, starting from just £4.
Guests who want to buy a bottle from the shop, which we did as we left, can take it home or enjoy it at the bar for a £5 corkage fee.
And if you like the wine here, you can soon visit the Château De La Cômbe vineyard in the south of France where the family will open their first restaurant and a guest house.
Best for: After work drinks, dates, independent wine shop
56 West Smithfield Wine Bar and Shop in Farringdon is open Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm 11pm
Prices start at £5 a glass and £24 a bottle
Read next: Inside Idris Elba’s new London wine bar
Read next: How to drink wine like an expert