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Critics' choice
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Charing Cross

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
Address: 47 Villiers Street
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun. Meals served noon-10pm Mon-Sat; noon-9pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Embankment tube or Charing Cross tube/rail
Price: Main courses £9-£10.95. House wine £18.40 bottle, £5.10 glass

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.