Food & Drink

The Jackal’s Guide to London’s best al fresco wine bars

London Wine Week’s drawing to close – the perfect excuse to head outside for a balmy evening drink

You can’t beat a summer evening spent on a breezy terrace with a crisp glass of vino in hand. London has plenty to offer when it comes to al fresco wine bars, so here are eight for your delectation. Plus, it’s London Wine Week to boot, so several of our chosen watering holes are offering exclusive deals for those in possession of a LWW digital pass.

al fresco wine bars

El Vino, London Bridge

Nestled between The Shard and Tower Bridge, El Vino is a wine merchant and bar created for oenological connoisseurs. Their menu is selective, with Argentinian, French and New Zealand wines all on offer at accessible price points. Share a bottle with friends on their sunny terrace, accompanied by sharing dishes from their tapas and small plates menu. The LWW pass entitles you to an Iberian wine tasting of an unusual Portuguese Pinot Noir, matched with a traditional tapas dish of Manchego and Membrillo (£8).

al fresco wine bars

Old Bengal Bar, Spitalfields

For a mid-week tipple, the Old Bengal Bar is right on the money. Located in the buzzy hinterland where the City ends and Shoreditch begins, the bar is based in an old East India Company warehouse. It also has a secret al fresco terrace that’s perfect for hiding away with your date of an evening, with a nice glass of something chilled. The LWW pass entitles you to salt and pepper squid with chilli sauce, and a glass of rosé (£9.75).

al fresco wine bars

Enoteca da Luca, Old Street

In Italian, ‘enoteca’ means local wine shop. Which is right on the money for this cosy Italian food and wine joint based in Old Street. They specialise in showcasing Italian wine producers, although they also carry a selection of round-the-world favourites. Their stylish terrace is an excellent place to escape after a long day at work. The LWW pass entitles you to Regal Rogue Wild Rosé vermouth and Fever Tree bitter lemon aperitivo matched with a saffron arancino and gorgonzola sauce (£10).

al fresco wine bars

The Refinery, New Street Square

Smart and sleek, The Refinery makes the perfect after-work escape with their al fresco terrace in the heart of the City. Their wine list is considered and extensive, from full-bodied burgundies to crisp, easy drinking sauvignon blancs made for whiling away a warm evening. The LWW pass entitles you to a choice of specially selected wines, chosen with summer drinking in mind (£5).

al fresco wine bars

Sager + Wilde, Bethnal Green

Dedicated to the cause of good wine, this specialist wine bar and restaurant on Paradise Row, a set of railway arches near Bethnal Green station, is well worth the trek east. With a buzzing terrace and casual wooden tables for a relaxed afternoon in the sun, Sager + Wilde stocks fine wines by both the bottle and the glass. They’re broken down by region, so whether you fancy a French beaujolais or a something chilled from Tuscany, you’ll definitely be looking in the right place.

al fresco wine bars

Franco’s, Jermyn Street

Team Jackal’s natural home, Jermyn Street boasts the venerable Franco’s. Located on the St James end of the street, the bar and restaurant was founded in 1946 as one of London’s first Italian restaurants. Today, it offers an extensive selection of rarified Italian wines by the bottle or glass, to be supped out-front on a sunny day, while watching the well-dressed gents of of St James’s saunter past.

al fresco wine bars

The 10 Cases, Covent Garden

This vibrant little wine bar does what it says on the tin: the proprietor only ever buys 10 cases of each wine that you’ll find on their precision-engineered wine list. Their cave à vin showcases a constantly changing selection of over 300 fine wines from across the world, available to sup on the terrace alongside some tasty plates from the neighbouring bistrot à vin.

al fresco wine bars

Northbank Bar, the Southbank

On hot days, sometimes there’s nothing for it but decamping to the water. The Northbank Bar on the Southbank offers spectacular views of the Thames, the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s from its private terrace, plus food and wine menus with a charming Cornish twist. Opened by Christian Butler (ex-Adam Street and Baltic) in 2007, the bar stocks fine wines from around the world, both by the bottle and by the glass, at price points ranging from the accessible to the aspirational.