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London's best sherry bars

Sherry sales are rocketing. Here’s a list of London bars where you can drink it without feeling like your nan

By Laura Richards
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For years, sherry has found it difficult to shake off its reputation in Britain as your nan’s (and Dot Cotton’s) favourite drink. But the sherry movement is growing fast, and it’s no longer a bevvy best reserved for Christmas day. In fact, it’s a complex and rewarding fortified wine from Spain that pairs perfectly with tapas and salty snacks. Sales of the stuff are rocketing and there’s a wealth of producers making some top-notch tipple. So here are the best tapas joints, wine bars and surprisingly hip hangouts in London to knock back a little of the good stuff. 

The best sherry bars in London

london's best sherry bars, bar pepito
© Rob Greig

Bar Pepito

Bars and pubs Wine bars King’s Cross

When the sun is shining, stumbling upon this back alley sherry bar in King’s Cross can feel like coming across a bodega bar in Jerez’s cobbled streets. With upturned barrels for tables and pretty Spanish posters on the walls, it’s aesthetically all-there. And as for that drinks list, they have over 20 sherries to peruse, or you can choose a flight of three sherries that are similar in style so you can pretend you’re learning something.

Barrafina

Restaurants Spanish Covent Garden

At one of Time Out’s favourite London restaurants, an authentic Spanish atmosphere is formed through an earth-shattering Med food menu and a counter-dining layout that emulates Andalucian tapas bars (all that’s missing is the cigarette smoke). The sherry list cements this, with eight options by the glass or bottle. The owners have gone one further though, producing their own manzanilla aged in barrels on the coast by Jerez.

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Barrica

Restaurants Spanish Goodge Street

Another Spanish-style bar in Soho where sherry rules supreme, Barrica lists over 20 sherries in order of complexity, starting with easy-going, light finos and working up towards hefty Pedro Ximénez. You can order your tipple in two glass sizes (75ml or 100ml) or get it in by the carafe. They also serve pacaharan, a Spanish liqueur made from sloe berries. The bar’s canary yellow walls will have you feeling like you’re on the Costa del Sol in next to no time.

El Segundo

Bars and pubs Peckham

Adding more punch to Peckham's ever-expanding bar scene, El Segundo's uncomplicated informality is seductive. Snug and buzzy, this wine and tapas joint also provides an opportunity for slurping on sherry. Try one of their dangerously delicious sherry-based cocktails, like the Rebujito, a sweet, sharp and headily refreshing mix of Manzanilla sherry, lemonade and mint. Yum. 

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Gordon's Wine Bar

Restaurants British Charing Cross

Step into this cave of wine wonders for a spot of old-fashioned drinking that will suit the old-school sherry drinkers to a tee. Gordons Wine Bar has a list of four sherries from the barrel to choose from, as well as a chilled fino straight from the bottle. There’s even a rich cream style for those after a blend of sherries like nan’s beloved Harvey’s Bristol.

José

Restaurants Spanish Bermondsey

This very genuine, slightly rustic local Spanish bar may get more attention for its tapas, but it’s well worth washing down croquetas and crema catalana with a glass of sherry from the drinks list. There’s a hefty range of classic dry sherries available in 75ml measures, plus one sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry and – similar in style – a Moscatel from Alicante. In among the plain brick, timbers and tiles and with smiling service from Spanish staff, you can get quite caught up in the fiesta.

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Moro

Restaurants Fusion Exmouth Market

There are over 20 sherries to sample at Exmouth Market’s Moro, and in among the olorosos and manzanillas you’ll find a few palo cortados, which Moro describes as the rarest style of sherry going. The restaurant also offers flights of three grouped as either ‘light and dry’, ‘nutty and rich’ or ‘moscatel’. It’s a gentle way in for those less acquainted with the fortified wine.

The Resting Room

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Portobello Road

Why is a bar inside London’s ‘gin hotel’ on a list of the best places for drinking sherry? Well, The Resting Room actually dedicates itself to pouring from a range of barrels resting up above the bar. And inside one of those barrels is an oloroso sherry that’s continually aging and maturing. The bar uses it in a couple of the cocktails on its list too, bringing Jerez’s vinous tradition bang up to date.

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The Remedy

Bars and pubs Wine bars Fitzrovia

This rustic yet modern wine bar may be at the wrong end of Fitzrovia, but it’s a great spot to sample some challenging and obscure grape types. It’s also good for a wee dram of sherry, with five styles to choose from in 75ml measures. This includes a rare and interesting palo cortado and a medium dry oloroso. Knowledgeable bar staff can serve up some recommendations, and keep an eye on the specials board for further inspiration.

Find more great wine bars in London

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‘Cut me open,’ you announce dramatically to your gal pals, ‘and I bleed prosecco.’ You may know the ailment well, when the fizz becomes your life force. When you’re all about that bubble. Once you’ve popped, you literally can’t stop. It’s time to visit these London bars and hangouts where the prosecco game is stronger than your aching, needy fizz-thirst. 

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