Gordon's

Restaurants , British Charing Cross
Recommended
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(23 user reviews)
17 Love It
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Gordon's
Gordon's

The capital's oldest wine bar, established in 1890, is housed in atmospheric subterranean rooms that offer one of the quintessential London experiences.

Gordon’s was established in its present form in 1890, but the exposed brickwork, flickering candlelight and fixtures and fittings in the low basement vaults make it feel older still.

The wine list hops from the classic regions of France to South America and beyond. There's also an unusual selection of fortified wines drawn directly from casks behind the bar: ports, sherries and Madeiras that fit nicely with the resolutely uncomplicated buffet-style food (pies, salads, cheeseboards) and tapas in the evening.

When the subterranean rooms are crammed, which is often, it can get distinctly warm in the semi-darkness, but a drink or two here remains a classic London experience. And on Sundays there is a traditional roast served with mash, veg, and Yorkshire pudding.

 

Venue name: Gordon's
Contact:
Address: 47 Villiers St
London
WC2N 6NE
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun. Meals served noon-10pm Mon-Sat; noon-9pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Embankment/Charing Cross
Price: Main courses £9-£10.95. House wine £18.40 bottle, £5.10 glass
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|23
1 person listening
Sheens86
Tastemaker

I have steadily been trying to get myself into wine over the last few months and thought what better place to immerse myself than here. I've been used to coming here and being the one awkward person that doesn't drink wine, making all my friends feel bad! And so to kick off this wine introduction, I started nice and easy with a small house white, which was delightful ... as much as a wine novice can say!There is also a little deli in the cavernous underground bar, stocked full of breads, antipasti and different cheeses, if you fancy a nibble with your wine.Inside seating is usually an unlikely occurence after work, the outside area that runs adjacent to Villiers Street is your best bet of finding somewhere to stand/sit. It's nice in both Summer and Winter, as they put patio heaters out when it's cold. Great atmosphere at this bar and the staff are really great in recommending wines suited to your tastes, definitely a good date venue or casual after work drinks.

Gemma H
tastemaker

Go for a glass, leave after three bottles.


Gordon's is a great wine bar with a wide range of wine for almost every price point. It's location means it's highly accessible from anywhere in London. Go when it's sunny, but be prepared to queue at the bar and hunt for seats - it's a popular spot. Use the staff, they're more than happy to provide recommendations. And make sure to try their selection of cheeses.


Mmmm, wine and cheese.

Rose L

Lovely wine bar full of character. Great spot for an evening of wine and cheese, both for a cost night in winter or out in the garden in summer. It's only downfall is how busy it is

Scott
Staff Writer

An institution in Central London, particularly in summer. Who doesn't love sitting out in the garden area with a cheese board enjoying great wine and good friends?


Admittedly, you do pay for the quality of the products and it can be busy, particularly if it is sunny outside, but none of that should discourage you from heading over. Maybe just leave a few minutes earlier.

Luisa G
Tastemaker

The only reason this place isn't getting 5 stars, is because the queue is always so long, and there's never any space to sit inside, unless you rock up at 3pm and you're lucky. The wine is lovely, and they fill your glasses right to the top (admittedly they are smaller glasses than usual). The cheese is delicious, and it comes with a big chunk of baguette, which is very yummy. Lots of outdoor seating as well, some of which has heaters by it. 

Cheeky Bellini
Tastemaker

Great place to hang out in `London and should be included in one of the places to visit.  As London's first wine bar, this would be  a place to go with a couple of friends, take out of town visitors or go on a date.  The location is convenient being close to Embankment and Charing Cross stations with Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden nearby. During the summer, it would be lovely to have a couple glasses of wine in the garden area.  Over the winter months, the wine bar section is a cosy candle lit hide away underneath archways that looks it is part of set for meetings for a hidden society.  The decor looks like it has stood through the test of time.  People have been gathering and enjoying wine here for years.  The wine list extensive.  There is something to suit everyone's taste.  My only regret is not discovering this place sooner.

Laura G
Tastemaker

Conveniently located right next to Embankment Station, you need a close eye to find the door to this famous location down some narrow stairs. Great location to have a glass or bottle with friends, in a cave like environment that sets the mood (mind your heads!). To eat, an ample display of tapas to share, that can be peaked at right at the entrance.

Anaelle
Tastemaker

I have to say… This is my favourite spot for a date! The place is weird, kinda cosy and filled with booze. What more do you want?


Located inside a cellar, it’s a unique experience to be sitting in a vault on old chairs with only the lights of candles to guide you. I love it.

There’s so many different wines, you’ll definitely find the one you want. And anyway the staff is so knowledgeable, they’ll surely give you something that suits your palate.

As for the food, you can only order cheese or ham platters but those are delicious. Fresh, carefully selected, the offer is stunning. You can even add olives and other little nibbles for free. Perfect.


I highly highly recommend it. Especially in the winter when being inside with a bottle of wine is exactly what you want.

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

This is not my first review of Gordon's but I decided to write again because for the first time I stayed outside instead of inside the bar.

It was actually really good and comfortable as they have  heaters on the top and it's a bit easier to get a table. We ended with a group of nearly 10 friends in two tables for nearly 3 hours of wine and cheese.


Definitely the best wine bar in London! 

MooseInLondon
Tastemaker

Don't care if the place is now haunted by tourists-- Love Gordon's too much to surrender it to the masses! Highly recommend sneaking out of work early if you can to try and snag a table outside if its nice outside-- else you will not get a table. As mentioned, inside it can get a bit warm, but there is something to be said about drinking a nice red in a cellar while noshing on cheese and scotch eggs. 



NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

Gordon’s Wine Bar has everything I am looking for in a London hot spot. Hidden down an unassuming normal looking London street between Pall Mall and Embankment tube, you could easily miss it. BUT if you turn into the little lane indicating Gordon’s Wine Bar you will find yourself descending down the steps into a piece of history. Gordon’s is London’s oldest wine bar with a very cool USP that it serves only wine (no beer here folks) and has a very good selection of cheeses and breads (it also offers meats and a Sunday roast on – you guessed it – Sunday). The setting is simplistic and authentic with hidden corners and a cellar which creates a dining area with candles and old newspapers setting a scene which is steeped in history. It is the one place I’m happy to hover for a table and the only place I can tell you the wine (whichever you pick) will be awesome. The only thing that can make this any better is the outside which is so low maintenance it is super cool. The lane in between the streets has seating all the way down it with barrels to lean against and as ever, a few seats which are at a premium. Gordon’s Wine Bar is an all year round winner; cosy up on a winter’s day inside or outside on a summer evening. And even better – afterwards you can take a stroll along the Thames – take a look at Southbank, Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye to remind yourself you’re in the best city in the world. 

www.nakedprgirl.com

Steve B
Staff Writer

One of my favourite places in London. Fantastic atmosphere down inside and an exquisite selection of wines to choose from, including some fine port. Always had a great time here and suits any occasion. Can get a little busy during the evenings, but that just goes to show how popular it is! 

Daisy Bowie-Sell

If you're coming as a tourist to London, and want a bit of the 'old London' then you definitely can't go wrong with Gordon's. It's dark, dingy, underground, candlelit, and absolutely brilliant. The only problem is getting into it. Friday nights are a definite no - in fact most nights you want to go will be hard to get in. It's tiny and always completely rammed. If you want to experience it without the crowds try Saturday late afternoon where you may possibly have a chance of getting a table... The cheese platters are brilliant value for money, and the wine selection is excellent. And unlike a lot of other London quirky establishments, the staff are generally nice too.

Tarra

Gordon's Wine Bar is the most extraordinary bar in London. My friends and I are frequent guests and it is always full of people any day of the week and from as early as 4 pm. It is not easy to find a table, but once you have found one you want to stay there until it closes. It is so smug and cosy in the candle-lit wine bar, everyone is in a cheerful mood and they have a very good selection of wines at fair prices. They even offer cheese plates and other small bits that go perfectly with the wine. Outside seating is available and the bar is so popular that people even use it throughout winter, which is still fine thanks to heaters. Gordon's Wine bar is traditional, simple and easy to feel comfortable in. I would definitely recommend it.

Charlotte Hillier

I discovered Gordon's about 15 years ago and now try to visit whenever I'm in London. Cocooned deep underground, sipping deep, delicious reds, in deep conversation with a good friend ... what better way to spend an afternoon

Charlotte Hillier

I discovered Gordon's about 15 years ago and now try to visit whenever I'm in London. Cocooned in the underground, sipping deep, delicious reds, in deep conversation with a good friend ... what better way to spend an afternoon

Kate Rushton

This is a hidden gem in the heart of London. It has a lovely dark cellar area for an intimate chat. Outside, there is a green outdoor area with lots of chairs to enjoy their extensive range of wine in the sunshine. Everyone there is really nice and friendly. I am definitely coming back for more.

Cactus

Unfortunately ruined by over exposure and rude and aggressive staff particularly at closing time. I personally will never return as there are far better options in London.

Steve

Have to agree with OMG below about the ridiculous 'closing time' harassment: The bright lights go on (including the mother of all floodlights in the cellar area) which immediately destroys the ambience. This is swiftly accompanied with *constant* interruptions by the staff demanding you drink up and leave, preventing any more conversation. Within minutes, you have gone from 'relaxed' to 'annoyed', you are fighting urges to lash out at the staff each time they lean over your table and the evening is spoilt. I thought London had left such atrocious customer service behind years ago! The only reason I give 'Gordon's Tourist Trap' two stars is that the bar is great otherwise. Although there are many in the area that are now better.

Rose

Interesting place, nice decor and location, but perhaps a bit dirty. The cheese and wine selections are good and the staff seem to know their stuff, but unfortunately I do agree with the less than satisfactory service mentioned in previous comments.

Stephen

Ignore the other review. This place is the business. Great food and marvellous wine.

OMG

Do not go to this place: if you are from another country it will make you wonder at how one bar can be so full and so awful – and how the Brits put up with such shabby treatment in such a shabby place. If you are from the UK, you will be ashamed at what visitors must think of our country. Gordon's claims to be the oldest wine bar in London, which is debatable, but it is definitely the most unpleasant bar in the capital: 10 minutes after we were sold a bottle of wine the staff began aggressively throwing people out, having given no notice of when they were closing. The group of people next to us – who had just bought a platter of cheese as well as drinks – were also being evicted with no warning. We all stood outside amazed at how rude and obnoxious a manager, and his staff, in the "hospitality" business could be. When one of my companions protested at our treatment, she was abused over her appearance and for being American. Gordon's clearly gets away with it because it is a tourist trap run by people with no regard for the law, English custom or plain civility. One to avoid.