Monday, January 7, 2013

Cellar magic

A glass of Gordon's sherry
One of the London places I'd longed to revisit was a dark, secret wine cellar we learned about on our 2009 trip. Gordon's Wine Bar is easy to overlook if you don't know what you're looking for. But this unassuming little wine shop has been in business since 1890, although the building's history goes back much further than that.

The wine shop is on the ground floor. The bar is in the cellar. We'd gone before late on a hot summer night. This time, it was a rainy winter day and lunch time, and when we came down the steep and narrow stairs, the lunchtime buffet was still being served.

I checked out the food, while [The Man I Love] went to the bar. A good spread was laid out, with a salad bar and some hot casseroles. There was a beef stew, roast lamb, and a vegetable casserole. It all looked very hearty and British. You could also get cold sliced roast beef, or poached salmon, salad plates or cheese plates, but on a cold and rainy day, the beef stew sounded good. So did the hot cream of cauliflower soup.

Gordon's serves only wine - no beer or spirits. You can get bottled wine, or you can get Gordon's own sherry and port drawn directly from the casks.

The "dining room" is unique. Just off the main bar-room with its ancient ephemera and cobwebbed wine bottles,  it's a low-vaulted stone wine cellar. There are no electric lights inside - the rough wooden tables are candlelit. Once your eyes get used to the dark, it's very atmospheric.

The stone vaults arch close overhead. The space rumbles with the sound of the nearby Underground trains going into Charing Cross. You can imagine the people at the next table as revolutionaries plotting to overthrow the government - or perhaps a businessman having an afternoon liaison in the darkness with a sweet young miss.  You can huddle together and hold hands in the darkness - or you can hold forth about art, politics and philosophy like the great embittered intellectual heroes of literature. These stone walls have seen and heard it all.

A baguette, butter, and Gordon's sherry
What romantic story did we imagine ourselves taking part in?

A happy one.


Kizz said...

I want to go back to London now just to go there!

Deborah said...

What a wonderful place!

Janet said...

what an amazing place you found! And I love that first picture...glowing sherry :-)

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

you had me at sherry and port drawn from the casks! This looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

This looks incredibly cool!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Looks like a great hangout!

Sue (Someones Mom) said...

What a wonderful place and certainly unlike anything I've ever seen.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

A true wine cave, candlelight, and drinks from casks... that happy picture says it all!