By Katie Wilson
As one of central London’s original natural wine bars (Terroirs) closes its doors for good, another has opened.
The Cellar on Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, doubles up as a coffee shop by day. But come evening, wine is served alongside cheese plates and charcuterie boards.
Once a butchers – there are still hooks behind the bar – this 150-year-old building has been stripped back to reveal its original wooden floors and green tiled walls which had been hidden away for decades.
Some are chipped, giving the place an industrial vibe, but this just adds to the character and is somewhat intentional.
The manager, Edgar, tells us when we visit: “Our ethos is natural and sustainable. From the wine, to the walls and the floors, it’s all untouched.”
The Cellar showcases an ever-evolving menu of low intervention wines, which means they are made as naturally and with as little impact on the environment as possible.
Care is also taken to work with a select group of independent winemakers who share the same philosophy as The Cellar team.
We try a ‘skin contact’ wine for the first time. This is orange in colour and slightly cloudy as it was made while the grapes still have their skin on, unlike most wines we are used to drinking.
This is how wine was originally made going back centuries. It has a slightly heavy taste, but I like it.
A white Tuscan Vermentino, a clean-tasting wine which has notes of lime and pear, is followed by a Cuvée du Chat Beaujolais with hints of cherry, raspberry and cola.
As we work our way through the wine list (we stopped at three glasses), we nibble at a board of Neal’s Yard cheese, Saltpig cured meats, smoked almonds, olives and focaccia bread.
Inspiration for both of The Cellar bars comes from the food and drink market culture in cities such as Madrid and Bologna. It’s all about sampling, sharing and relaxing in a casual environment.
The London branch, which seats 32, has an actual cellar space below, which they hope will be developed further down the line so they can hold wine tastings and the like.
Owners Mike White and Michael O’Sullivan opened not one but two bars in lockdown, which is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards.
The Cotswolds bar came first in September 2020, followed by the King’s Cross branch on May 17. There is no outside space so they had to wait for indoor restrictions to be lifted.
It’s only been open a few weeks, but this place definitely has a lot of potential. Visit on a weekend to soak up the best atmosphere.
Best for: Drinks with friends or bring a date
The Cellar, at 258 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross is open Tuesday to Saturday until 10.30pm
Prices start at around £5 a glass, and between £24-£60 for a bottle