The Sampler

Shopping, Off licences Canonbury
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The Sampler
© Rob Greig

The Sampler is unique in London: a shop where you can taste 80 wines out of the 1,500 on offer. You buy a card (minimum spend £10), then use it to buy 25ml tastes. Samples cost from 30p to £10-plus for the costliest bottles. The wines are terrific at every level. There are around 100 under £10, and the upper reaches include mature classics.

There's also a branch in South Kensington (35 Thurloe Place, SW7 2HP, 7225 5091).


Venue name: The Sampler
Address: 266 Upper St
N1 2UQ
Opening hours: Open 11.30am-9pm Mon-Sat; 11.30am-7pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Angel tube or Highbury & Islington tube/rail
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5 / 5

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One of my favourite spots in London. Expect a cross between a shop and a bar, with 80 wines to try (these change on a regular basis) at reasonable prices. Choose from a small taster, medium or a full glass at the dispensaries spanning the room. If you do want to take something home, the bottles themselves are remarkably reasonable, or you can drink in (but there's a corkage fee - much better to pour yourself another taster instead). You'll get through the minimum £10 spend quickly but don't worry, top ups are allowed! Also yummy cheese boards available, or you can go across the road to Le Cave.