Celebrating our 125th year LONDON’S OLDEST WINE BAR
Est. 1890

Wine list

Click to download our new Wine List Oct 2014

NEW: Gordon’s Veneto Red  ● Glass £5.10 Bottle £18.40

(ITALY. Merlot, Corvina) 12% ABV

Softest tannins, ripe red fruits and cherry aromas.

Very smooth and easy drinking

Vin de Pays Rouge ● Glass £5.10 Bottle £18.40

(FRANCE. Syrah, Merlot) 12.5% ABV

Fruity, easy drinking and medium bodied Gordon’s house wine.

Chianti Conti Serristori  ● Glass £5.60 Bottle £20.30
(ITALY. Sangiovese) 13% ABV

Dry and medium bodied with classic bitter cherry fruit aromas, and gentle tannins.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Bove Glass ● £5.75 Bottle £21.00
(ITALY. Montepulciano) 12.5% ABV

Juicy cherry and black fruits, dry and backed with acidity. Easy, approachable classic Italian red, perfect with charcuterie and cheese.

Fat Bastard Pinot Noir ● Glass £6.00 Bottle £22.00
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir) 13% ABV

Full of juicy red fruits, medium bodied and easy to drink.

Beaujolais Domain Romany ● Glass £6.60 Bottle £24.25
(FRANCE. Gemay) 12.5% ABV

Gushingly full of juicy strawberry and rasberry jam flavours, ripe fruit on the palate. Try slightly chilled.

Rioja Lanzado Joven ● Glass £6.20 Bottle £22.50
(SPAIN. Tempranillo) 13% ABV

Medium bodied with gentle touches of spice, vanilla and strawberry fruit.

Bairrada Tinto ● Glass £5.60 Bottle £20.30
(PORTUGAL. Baraida 100%) 13% ABV

Attractive, juicy red fruits, with gentle spicy oak and supple tannins. From the very well known Messias family.

Cotes Du Rhone, Vignes Du Prince ● Glass £5.90 Bottle £21.50
(FRANCE. Grenache, Syrah) 14% ABV

Full flavoured with ripe red fruits and medium body, with a spicy finish.

Andes Peak Carmenere ● Glass £5.40 Bottle £19.00
(CHILE. Carmenere)13.5% ABV

Medium bodied, with flavours of ripe damsons and intense bramble fruit, with savoury notes, leather, spice and clove.

Malbec Trivento ● Glass £5.60 Bottle £20.30
(ARGENTINA. Malbec) 14% ABV

Brimming with black fruits, soft and very approachable, well appreciated.

Fabulous Ant Pinot Noir ● Glass £6.60 Bottle £23.50
(HUNGARY. Pinot Noir 100%) 13% ABV

Deep ruby coloured fruity aroma with hints of black cherries perfect with cheeses to bring out the flavour.

Nero D’Avola ● Glass £5.85 Bottle £21.50
(SICILY. Nero D’Avola) 13% ABV

Full of plum, dark cherry and spice, deliciously fruity and fairly tannic.

La Reserve ● Glass £6.10 Bottle £22.40
(INDIA. Cabarnet Sauvignon) 12% ABV

Richly fruity with fresh berry fruit and a good concentration of well integrated soft tannins. Prepare to be surprised.

Cabernet Franc No. 2 The Avery ● Glass £6.55 Bottle £24.00
(USA. Cabernet Franc) 12.5% ABV

Smooth, medium bodied, well balanced dark fruit with classic leafy tones.

Chateau Hautes Graves d’Arthus Grand Cru ● Bottle £38.00
(FRANCE. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) 14.5% ABV

Super smooth plum and blackberry fruit with toasted oak. Hints of dark spices and liquorice on the palate.

Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riversa ● Bottle £43.50
(ITALY. Sangiovese, Merlot) 13.5% ABV

From a beautiful estate owned by the prestigious Frescobaldi family, made predominantly from Sangiovese grape with great elegance and balance.

Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon ● Glass £5.20 Bottle £18.60
(CHILE. Cabernet Sauvignon) 12.5% ABV

Rich blackcurrants and red berry flavours with gentle tannins.

Boundary Line Shiraz ● Glass £5.50 Bottle £20.00
(AUSTRALIA. Shiraz 100%) 13.5% ABV

Very approachable, fruit-driven style, medium bodied with a touch of spice.

Chateau Canevelle ● Glass £6.30 Bottle £22.90
(BORDEAUX SUPERIORE. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sav) 12.8% ABV

Fleshy spft and feminine, fruity and oaky; black current, prune and spicy aromas PRIVATE CHATEAU

False Bay Pinotage Western Cape ● Glass £5.80 Bottle £21.00
(SOUTH AFRICA. Pinotage) 14% ABV

Smokey and spicy. Berry fruits with rich, smokey and bitter fruit flavours that are just great with barbequed foods.

Lebanon Red ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £23.50
(Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Merlot and Syrah) 14% ABV

From the time of the Phoenicians this wine has been grown over the Bekaa valley, it offers very good structure and smooth ripe tannins with a hint of black cherries.

Echeverria Merlot Reserva ● Bottle £27.50
(CHILE. Merlot) 14% ABV

Purple red with intense aromas of red fruit swet plum, and a note of chocolate vanilla. Aged 12 months in oak barrels.

Viña Real Crianza ● Glass £7.00 Bottle £26.00
(SPAIN. Tempranillo) 13.5% ABV

Intense black cherry accompanied by vanilla fragrance. It is smooth and elegantly balanced and leaves a delicious lingering after taste.

Chateau Moulin des Graves St Emilion ● Bottle £31.20
(FRANCE. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) 13% ABV

Powerful spicy nose with grades of crushed fresh fruits. A velvety harmonious wine with mellow tannins

Viña Pomal (Reserva) Rioja ● Bottle £31.50
(SPAIN. 100% Tempranillo) 14% ABV

18 months aged wine and a further 2 years in bottle full of red fruits and a savoury, tobacco and spicy character.

Dona Paula Estate Bottle ● £29.00
(ARGENTINA. 100% Malbec) 14% ABV

Intense violet colour, plum, black cherries, licorice and dried herbs aromas, round and ample in the mouth with a lingering finish.

Louis Jadot Cotes de Beaune Village ● Bottle 40.00
(FRANCE. 100% Pinot Noir) 13% ABV

From the heart of Burgundy and produced by one of its leading producers. Pale garnet and evolving mellow strawberry flavours, with grippy tannins and a long finish. Oak aged for 12 months.

Clos du Val Zinfadel Napa Valley ● Bottle £50.50
(CALIFORNIA. 100% Zinfadel) 14% ABV

Luscious wine with deep ruby red hue, brambly and a cranberry note of spice, black pepper and cherry marry aromas with silky mouth feel and moderate tannins.

Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz ● Bottle £39.50
(AUSTRALIA. 100% Shiraz) 13.5% ABV

Dense dark purple red, aromas of mixed, fresh bright berry, fruit compote. Dark plum and violet intermingled with a savoury complexity. Full bodied.

Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour ● Bottle £58.50
(FRANCE. 100% Pinot Noir) 14% ABV

Ruby red with a bouquet of ripe red fruits and spicy notes. A very lengthy wine on the palate, highly recommended.

NEW: Gordon’s Veneto White ● Glass £5.10 Bottle £18.40
(ITALY. Garganega) 12.0% ABV

A fresh, delicate white wine with hints of tropical fruits.

Vin de Pays Blanc ● Glass £5.10 Bottle £18.40
(FRANCE. Colombard, Ugni Blanc) 12.5% ABV

Dry, clean and refreshing (Ask for a dash of Crème de Cassis to make a perfect Kir)

Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc ● Glass £5.20 Bottle £18.60
(CHILE. Sauvignon Blanc) 12% ABV

Light, floral aromas, refreshing with green and citrus fruit.

Pinot Grigio ● Glass £5.30 Bottle £19.25
(ITALY. Pinot Grigio) 12% ABV

A dry, light, and crisp wine with lemon and apple fruit.

Kronenberg Riesling ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(The blue bottle!) (GERMANY. Riesling) 10% ABV

Off dry but with good balancing acidity, honeyed apple fruit and raisins.

Paarl Heights Chenin Blanc ● Glass £5.25 Bottle £18.80
(SOUTH AFRICA.) 13.5% ABV

Crisp and well-balanced wine combining tropical and citrus fruit flavours.

El Coto White Rioja ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(SPAIN. Viura) 12% ABV

Vibrant fresh and crisp green fruits and zingy acidity, very elegant.

Trivento Viognier ● Glass £5.70 Bottle £20.50
(ARGENTINA. Viognier) 12.5% ABV

Seductively aromatic with apricots and peaches. Well-balanced acidity, not too dry, and an elegant finish with honey.

Umbrele ● Glass £6.00 Bottle £22.00
(ROMANIA. Sauvignon Blanc) 13.5% ABV

Deliciously refreshing wine with zesty citrus character and a hint of exotic fruit.

Andes Peak Chardonnay ● Glass £5.40 Bottle £19.50
(CHILE. Chardonnay) 13% ABV

Light yellow colour with aromas of pineapple, peaches, herbal and mineral notes. Perfect with salmon.

Chateau Chanteloup ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(FRANCE BORDEAUX. Semillon Sauvignon) 12% ABV

Elegant, with floral nose and pear and grapefruit aromas, still crisp, a great white from Bordeaux.

Fat Bastard Chardonnay ● Glass £5.90 Bottle £21.50
(FRANCE. Chardonnay) 13.5% ABV

Citrus, mineral with biscuity, creamy texture, and a balanced acidity.

Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie La Griffe ● Glass £6.40 Bottle £23.40
(FRANCE. Muscadet) 12% ABV

Refreshingly dry, zesty and crisp from Lie with green apple and lemon, from one of the most prestigious producers.

Sauvignon de Touraine ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(FRANCE. Sauvignon Blanc) 12.5% ABV

Dry aromatic, herbaceous and refreshing. From the chalky clay soil of Touraine. An inexpensive alternative to Sancerre.

Vinho Verde Santola ● Glass £5.75 Bottle £20.50
(PORTUGAL. 100% Alvarino) 9% ABV

Ripe tropical aromas, very fresh and fruity with a lovely bouquet, pleasant finish. A classic Verde.

Vouvray Les Coteaux Demi Sec ● Glass £6.85 Bottle £25.50
(FRANCE. Chenin Blanc) 12% ABV

Medium dry, with delicious baked apples and a hint of honey backed with a streak of acidity that makes it refreshing and balanced.

Saint Claire Sauvignon Blanc ● Bottle £33.50
(NEW ZEALAND. Sauvignon Blanc) 13.5% ABV

Aromas of ripe lime and grapefruit, nectarine, papaya and mango and floral notes of orange blossom, gooseberry and sweet fennel are striking. From one of the most awarded wineries.

Stobi Special Cuvée ● Glass £6.10 Bottle £23.30
(MACEDONIA. Blend) 13.5% ABV

Cuvèe from Zhilavka, Zhupljanka, Riesling, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel. Strong, crystal, yellow-greenish reflection. Aromatic spicy fruity symphony with citrus notes and white fruits. The taste is soft, full, smooth, sweet with long, fresh and mystical finish.

Grovers Sauvignon Blanc ● Glass £6.25 Bottle £22.90

(INDIA. Sauvignon Blanc) 14% ABV

Delicately exotic, light, aromatic, grassy and fruity with hints of apple, lemon and peach.

Gavi Tenimenti ● Glass £6.60 Bottle £24.00

(ITALY. Cortese) 12% ABV

A bright clean and crisp wine with apple and mineral notes, refreshing and perfect as an aperitif with salad or fish.

Lebanon White ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £23.50
(BLENDED. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Obeideh) 13% ABV

From the time of the Phoenicians this wine has been grown over the Bekka valley, a fresh blend of subtle aromas of tropical fruits and nuts, mild on the palate with a note of almond.

Keo Thisbe ● Bottle £31.50
(CYPRUS. Xynisteri) 10% ABV

This is a medium dry fruity white wine. On the palate it is fresh of apples and grapefruit with a hint of lively citrus. Enjoy it well chilled on its own and accompany it with fish or poultry.

Yalumba Riesling ● Glass £6.85 Bottle £25.50
(AUSTRALIA. Riesling) 11.5% ABV

Positively dry, with lime and tangy marmalade flavours.

Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough ● Bottle £24.50
(NEW ZEALAND. Sauvignon Blanc) 12.5% ABV

Bursting with gooseberry and greengage fruit and minerality. Classic in your face Kiwi style!

Sancerre ● Bottle £34.30
(FRANCE. Sauvignon Blanc) 12.5% ABV

Very dry and refreshing with green fruits and intense minerality from the chalky clay soil.

Saint Veran Louis Latour ● Bottle £36.50
(FRANCE. Chardonnay) 13% ABV

From the Maconnais in Burgundy, rich and buttery, with a wonderful concentration of ripe citrus fruit. Gently oaked and a great mouth feel and finish.

Chablis 1er Cru ● Bottle £42.50
(FRANCE. 100% Chardonnay) 12.5% ABV

Very aromatic bouquet, floral (acacia) and rose petals. Accompanied by a light aroma of vanilla, round in the mouth with a touch of acidity to keep it fresh.

Moutard Cuvée Prestige ● Flute £12.65 Bottle £48.50
(FRANCE. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) 12% ABV

Creamy, biscuity and citrusy, baked apples in a glass. Award winning Champagne.

Moutard Prestige Rosé ● Flute £12.65 Bottle £48.50
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir) 12% ABV

A lovely delicate colour of salmon pink, with aromas of strawberry fruit, good acidity and mouth filling bubbly richness.

Gérard Loriot Cuvée Tradition ● Flute £11.50 Bottle £45.00
(FRANCE. Pinot Meunier) 12% ABV

From a small and exclusive family run vineyard this specially selected Champagne is of exceptional quality. With a rich golden colour it is floral and fruity on the palate with a smooth and beautiful aftertaste.

Prosecco Treviso Pasqua Glass £6.85 Bottle £25.50
(ITALY. Prosecco) 11% ABV

A bright pale yellow with ribbons of bubbles. Gently floral with a mixture of peach, pear and tropical fruit notes. Lightly off dry fora refreshing and easy going flavour.

Anna de Codorniu Cava Glass £6.85 Bottle £26.50
(SPAIN. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) 11.5% ABV

Citrus, apple and toasted flavours with a good creamy finish.

Bucks Fizz Glass £7.10

Kir Royale Glass £7.40

Anna de Codorniu Rosé Cava ● Glass £6.85 Bottle £26.50
(SPAIN. Pinot Noir) 12%ABV

Cava made using the traditional method, fresh strawberries and lively acidity.

Fat Bastard Brut Blanc de Blanc Glass £7.00 Bottle 26.50
(FRANCE. Our favourite brand 100% Chardonnay) 11.5% ABV

Traditional method, pale green colour, fine bubbles from 100% Chardonnay which give a delicate blossom to fresh toasty aromas.

Messias Douro Rosé ● Glass £5.45 Bottle £19.75
(PORTUGAL) 12% ABV

Clean, refreshing summer drink.

Pasqua Grigio Rosé ● Glass £5.50 Bottle £20.00
(ITALY. Pinot Grigio) 12.5% ABV

Aroma of freshly crushed cranberries and a hint of apricot. This harmonious single-vineyard wine obtains its colour from the maceration of the must with the pink-skinned Pinot Grigio grapes for one night at 4-5°C, which enhances its floral and fruity bouquet.

Cotes de Provence ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £24.00
(FRANCE. Grenache, Rolle, Syrah) 13% ABV

Beautiful classic rosé with strawberry and gentle fruit flavours. Delicate, coral pink, full of strawberry fruit, balanced with refreshing acidity (a favourite rosé).

From the barrels…

(SPAIN. Delgado Zuleta)

Manzanilla La Goya – chilled ● Schooner £4.55 Beaker £5.60

15% ABV 

Fino ● Schooner £4.20 Beaker £5.00                                           (dry) 15% ABV

Amontillado ● Schooner £4.45 Beaker £5.40
(medium dry) 17.5% ABV

Rich Cream ● Schooner £4.45 Beaker £5.40
(sweet) 17.5% ABV 

Malaga Virgen Pedro Ximenez ● Schooner £5.95 Beaker £7.10
(sweet) 17.5% ABV

Bottles…


Dry Oloroso Schooner £4.45 Beaker £5.40 Bottle £24.50
18% ABV

Fino Delgado Zuleta – chilled ● Schooner £4.65 Beaker £5.70 Bottle £26.00
18% ABV

(MADEIRA. Local grapes) 19% ABV

Gordon’s Blended Madeira ● Schooner £5.95 Beaker £7.10
(from the barrel)

Henriques and Henriques Madeiras ● Schooner £6.00 Beaker £7.20 Bottle £31.50
(sweet, medium, medium dry, special dry)

As our selection of dessert wines varies habitually please check our blackboards at the bar for the latest offering.

(PORTUGAL. Local grapes)

From the wood…

Gordon’s Old Wood Tawny ● Schooner £5.10 Beaker £6.20
19.5% ABV

Bottles…

Gordon’s Ruby ● Schooner £5.85 Beaker £7.00 Bottle £32.50
19.5% ABV

Dry White Port ● Schooner £5.85 Beaker £7.00 Bottle £32.50
19.5% ABV

Sweet White Port ● Schooner £6.00 Beaker £7.10 Bottle £33.50
20% ABV

Messias 10 Year Old Port ● Schooner £9.35 Beaker £11.10 Bottle £52.50
20% ABV

Messias Pink Port – chilled ● Schooner £4.80 Beaker £5.90 Bottle £27.00
(50cl) 20% ABV

Messias Colheita 1985 ● Schooner £14.60 Beaker £17.60 Bottle £85.50
20% ABV

Food

Gordon’s Wine Bar is not only famous for its premier wine list but also for its wide ranging cheese selection. With over twenty cheeses to choose from you will be truly spoilt for choice!

Served from 12.00 – 10.00 p.m.

All Cheese boards come with bread, butter and pickles.

1 cheese slice £6.00, 2 cheese slices £10.50 or 3 cheese slices £15.00

(v) – vegetarian; (u) – unpasteurised

Cheese Selection:

Brie (v)
FRANCE. A mild, soft cheese. A timeless classic and a Gordon’s favourite.
Wine Pairing: this mild cheese will pair heavenly with the fruity Andes Peak Chardonnay.

Chèvre
FRANCE. Goat cheese, soft with a tarty flavour.
Wine Pairing: a tip from our lovely lady behind the cheese counter: add bubbles to goat cheese – Anna de Codorniu Cava.

Dambuster
LINCOLNSHIRE, UK. Strong, mature cheddar with a hard, black wax coating which gives it a buttery and creamy consistency.

Taleggio
ITALY. This medium, soft cheese has a pungent aroma yet is surprisingly medium to mild in strength.
Wine Pairing: The creamy, smooth texture pairs well with our blue bottle Riesling.

Cotswold
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK. Traditional, semi-hard cheese made with chives and spring onions which gives it a very aromatic taste.

Gouda
NETHERLANDS. Young, mild and creamy cheese, medium-hard in consistency.
Wine Pairing: goes down beautifully with our Pinot Grigio.

Smoked Cheddar (v)
SOMERSET, UK. Applewood cheddar with paprika and smoked aromas. With its absolutely smooth texture it is highly addictive!

Mature Cheddar (v)
CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UK. From Croxton Manor this full flavour mature cheddar is a staple cheese on our wooden plates.

Emmentaler (u)
SWITZERLAND. A mild, savoury cheese that’s famous for its many wholes.
Wine Pairing: made to be savoured along with the fruity Beaujolais Domain Romany.

Gruyère (u)
SWITZERLAND. A sweet yet salty hard cheese with a distinctive but subtle taste.

Stilton (v)
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, UK. Classic English blue cheese, it has a very strong, slightly acidic flavour and a crumbly texture.
Wine Pairing: for a truly decadent experience why not pair it with Port?

Gorgonzola
ITALY. A milder and creamier version of the Stilton this blue is exceptionally indulgent.

Manchego (u)
SPAIN. Sheep cheese from La Mancha region. Compact and dry in consistency with a distinct, sharp taste.
Wine Pairing: try it with our Tempranillo for a Quixotic experience.

Camembert
FRANCE. Mild, soft and creamy with a slightly more aged flavour than Brie, another popular choice.
Wine Pairing: best enjoyed with a Cabernet Sauvignon, we recommend the Lebanon Red.

Saint Nectaire
FRANCE. Dense and silky texture with a nutty aroma and a semi-hard, pâte like consistency.

Fleur du Maquis
CORSICA, FR. Fresh sheep cheese with a dense consistency covered in aromatic herbs such as rosemary, thyme, fresh sweet chillies.
Wine Pairing: a summery cheese will combine well with a summery wine, we think it tastes divine with our favourite rosé – Côtes de Provance.

Isle of Avalon
SURREY, UK. Sticky fingers are a must with this strong, smelly meaty soft cheese. The process begins with a Port Salut, which is then washed in wine at James Aldridge’s dairy in Godstone. One of those rare instances of British gooeiness.

We offer a wide range of homemade cold plates, including our best kept secret recipe for Pork Pie and Scotch Eggs!

Available from 12.00 – 10.00 p.m.

Pork Pie Salad  £8.80

Poached Salmon Salad  £8.50

Smoked Salmon Salad  £8.50

Roast Beef Salad • £8.50

Scotch Egg Salad • £7.90

Jamón Serrano* and Bread • £7.50

Pâté8 and Bread • £5.90

Organic Cured Pork Sausage* and Bread • £5.90

Peppers Stuffed with Feta Cheese* and Bread • £5.00

Houmous* and Bread • £4.90

Cold plates are served with salad unless marked *

*Served with bread and pickles

Salad Bowl • £4.90

Extra Portion of Bread • £1.80

Hot Plates

A variety of hot plates are served every Monday to Saturday from 12.30 until 3 o’clock. The menu varies on the basis of fresh produce, availability and, of course, the chef’s fancy. We offer six different dishes: one chicken, one beef, one lamb, one pork, one fish and one vegetarian option.

All dishes are served with salad and rice OR potatoes.

Prices start at £9.00

Tapas

Every evening, Monday through to Saturday from 6.00 – 9.00 p.m.; a wide range of finger food to share is offered.

£5.50 one portion • £17.50 four portions

Sunday Roast

On Sundays our very own Tony brings you his traditional Sunday Roast with a selection of lamb, beef, chicken or pork with mashed potatoes, a vegetable side and Yorkshire pudding.

£10.95

Gordon’s Grill

We offer during the warmer months a special outside menu. Located in the middle of our terrace we serve food between 12 noon and 3 o’clock and 5 to 9 o’clock in the evening, Thursday through to Sunday.

Rib-eye Steak
With caramelized onions served in toasted focaccia bread.
£7.90

Burger
With bacon, onions, tomato and pickle served in toasted flaguette bread.
£6.80

Chicken Chorizo
With roasted red pepper in toasted focaccia bread.
£6.80

Pork
With onions in toasted focaccia bread.
£6.80

Grilled Haloumi
With roasted red pepper and aubergine pate in toasted focaccia bread.
£5.80

Jumbo Hot Dog
With onions served in toasted focaccia bread.
£4.00

Fries
£2.50; w/sandwich £2.00

History

Gordon’s Wine Bar is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London having been established in 1890. The bar is very much a family affair, owned by Wendy Gordon who is the wife of the late much loved Luis Gordon, and now overseen by Luis’ eldest son Simon. The Gordon’s wine bar family includes the bar staff many of whom have been with us for years under the caring management of Gerard who brings French joie de vivre to the atmosphere and ensures our customers are well looked after. We try to maintain the bar as our customers like it which basically means “no change!”. We have maintained the original décor and sell only wine, whilst providing traditional and well priced grub…. easier said than done in a world dominated by rules and regulations!

The bar is loved by old and young alike due to the totally unique atmosphere in which time seems to have stood still. As you enter the bar you find yourself in a room with old wooden walls covered in historical newspaper cuttings and memorabilia faded with age. Make your way to the cellar and you need to stoop to get to your rickety candlelit table – anonymity is guaranteed! If the sun is out you can also sit outside in Watergate Walk and enjoy watching the world go by. The bar is loved by many because it has something to offer to each and every one of its customers.

The award winning wine list is varied and full of interesting wines at very reasonable prices. Sherries and ports are served from the barrel. Food comes in proper portions ranging from homemade pies to wonderfully mature cheeses.

Arthur ‘Staff’ Gordon, the previous owner of the bar, was one of the few remaining ‘free vintners’ who were able to set up and sell wines anywhere without applying for a license as a result of Edward III’s Charter to them in 1364 – granted as a result of Edward’s financial embarrassment at being unable to repay a loan made by the vintners to him some years earlier. The current Gordon family who own the bar are not actually related to Angus Gordon but it was a happy coincidence that Luis Gordon discovered the bar and took it over in 1975 so was able to maintain the Gordon name.

For those of you who are interested in history Kipling House, in which the bar is situated, was home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680’s and more recently (1820) was occupied by Minier & Fair, a firm of seedsmen who used it as a warehouse. This came to an abrupt end, when in 1864, the river was embanked and the warehouse became landlocked, following which it was turned into accommodation and Gordon’s Wine Bar began its life. Rudyard Kipling lived in the building in the 1890’s as a tenant.

The bar has many associations with the literary and theatrical fields. In the room overhead Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Light That Failed’ and both he and Chesterton wrote some of their works in the little parlour of the Wine Bar. Previously the original Player’s Theatre stood almost directly opposite, and the bar was (and of course still is) patronised by many illustrious thespians.

To explore in more depth the history of Gordon’s Wine Bar why not browse our timeline?

View our Timeline here

  • Luis_sepia

Luis Gordon, wine importer, publican and owner of Gordon’s Wine Bar, was born in Crawley on 21 May 1933. He died of cancer in Henfield on 22 October 2002, aged 69.

Obituary
The Times
Wednesday 30 October 2002

Luis Gordon, owner of the oldest wine bar in London and former chairman of the family sherry shippers who for more than 200 years remained sole importers of Domecq to Britain, has died at 69 after losing a four-year fight against cancer.

Father of six, many of whom worked behind his bar located in the cellars beneath Charing Cross at 47 Villiers Street, Gordon was an exuberant, gravelly-voiced character who bought this historic watering hole in 1972 after a lifetime in the wine trade.

Gordon’s Wine Bar drew literary figures like Chesterton, Tennyson and Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Light That Failed in the room above the bar. Later its dusky vaults have hosted numerous celebs including Lord (Lawrence) Olivier and Vivien Leigh drawn by the unobtrusive atmosphere.

During his 30-year ownership Gordon preserved the Bar’s special character – fine wines, old oak casks of port and sherry, memorabilia and crusting walls – even keeping the cobwebs after a six-month closure for what was supposed to have been a “revamp”. A tradition that will continue to be preserved by his family who have now taken up the mantle.

After school at Downside where he crashed a gigantic model jet in a ball of flame in the centre of the 1st XI cricket pitch, Gordon gained his private pilot’s licence at just 16 and joined the RAF three years later as a rear-gunner in Shackleton aircraft.

He had already experienced his first “crash”. Aged 17, he was given an Avro Prefect bi-plane which he dismantled, towed home from nearby Gatwick Airport and tried to fly. He taxied around a field behind his house, but the plane was so unstable that it lifted off, then hit the deck and turned upside down. Gordon walked away unscathed.

In his early twenties Gordon joined the family sherry business Luis Gordon & Sons as a salesman and in 1971 became Chairman. The Company was sole importer of the Domecq range of sherries.
Under Gordon’s reign the company became the biggest player in the fast-expanding UK sherry market with the distinction of receiving a Royal Warrant from the Queen and also from King Alfonso of Spain.
The company back in the 1960s was among the first to embrace the spirit of corporate entertainment, typically hiring a Comet to take more than 200 guests on wild trips to Jerez, an awesome combination of wine traders, publicans and journalists. Typically these three-day marathons would end with a demonstration of small-scale bull fighting – testing out young, but fierce animals – in a private ring on the Domecq estates. When Gordon judged that his watching guests had sipped enough sherry he’d invite them to have a go themselves as matadors, roaring with laughter as tipsy hacks staggered about waving handkerchiefs and diving for cover. Once he took over the rooftop of the five-star Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo for the annual Powerboat Race. Only halfway through lunch the claret seemed in short supply. Gordon summoned the waiter for more wine to be told: “But Sir, we have run out of Latour”.

After just a year as Chairman, his company was floated on the UK stock market and Gordon moved into the retail trade, buying his eponymous wine bar.

Outside business Gordon was extremely creative with a great talent for painting and sculpting which he pursued throughout his life with vigour. Among his many commissions was a bust of building tycoon Sir Norman Longley, and a complete set of decorative furniture for couturier Anthony Price who was later photographed for Vogue by Lord Snowdon seated in one of Gordon’s chairs.

Throughout his life, Gordon’s dynamic entrepreneurial spirit ranged across wonderful eccentricities. They included a company well ahead of its time in the late 1970s which converted cars from petrol to LPG.
In total contrast when he lived at Outwood, Surrey, he bought the Village Stores, had it fitted out by CP Burge of Sloane Street in traditional style and showcased his extensive collection of Victorian and Edwardian period stock and gadgets like Bromo toilet paper, Sunlight soap and the real highlight, a fully operational Golden Syrup vending machine. He dabbled with an antigravity device powered by electric motors and gyroscopes. And when bored with that, thundered around the village after Sunday lunch in his Second World War tank, vintage fire engine or racing car.

His dearest love, though, was wife Wendy whom he met and fell for when he was only 15. He said that when he first saw her he knew it was not necessary to approach her immediately because he also knew he was destined to spend the rest of his life with her. They were married eight years later and during 47 years together their family extended to six children and 13 grandchildren. They started their married life at Henfield, Sussex, and returned there 12 years ago.

buildinggordon

1. INTRODUCTION

This report details the history of 41-47 Villiers Street, a building which was built as a warehouse in the 1790s and converted to residential and office space in 1880.

Villiers Street was developed in the 1670s on the site of York House, one of the great waterside houses of the Strand, with its front and gardens facing the river and its rear towards the Strand. (Villiers Street was apparently built on the line of the entrance from the Strand to York House).

The report, which is based upon a rates-book search as well as the Survey of London and other standard references, outlines the history of York House and the development of the estate (Section 2), and then details the development and changes on this particular site (Section 3).

A summary of the history is given in Section 4, and a full list of site tenants follows in Section 5.

2. YORK HOUSE AND THE BUCKINGHAM ESTATE

The first reference to York House — then Norwich Place, the town-house of the Bishop of Norwich — dates to 1237. The house remained with the Bishops until the Dissolution in 1536, when it was granted to the Duke of Suffolk; 20 years later, it was given to the Arch-bishop of York, from which it took its name for the remainder of its life as a private mansion.

At this date, the estate included a total of 50 houses, 10 cottages, 4 stables and 7 gardens; it was not used long by the Archbishop, however, and from 1558 to the 1620s was given to successive lord keepers of the Great Seal. (This association led to the intriguing situation whereby Francis Bacon was born at the house in 1561 – when his father was lord keeper — and lived here in his own right when he held the post in 1617-20.)

York House and its grounds were given to the Duke of Buckingham in 1624. He apparently repaired the old house and in 1626 added the existing watergate (Figure 1), but was murdered in 1628. The swings of fortune during the Civil War meant that his widow, their son and her second husband lost the house when it was sequestered, but it was retrieved in the 1650s when the son (the 2nd Duke) married the new owner’s daughter. It was then given back to him in his own right at the Restoration in 1660.

The second Duke of Buckingham mortgaged the house heavily to help pay his considerable debts, and in the early 1670s developed the estate to raise more money. As is often noted, the streets and lanes of the new development contained the Duke’s name and title: George, Villiers, Duke, Of and Buckingham. (Villiers and Buckingham Streets still exist; Duke Street is now part of John Adam Street, George Street became York Buildings, and Of Alley is now York Place.)

The best houses were undoubtedly in Buckingham and George Streets: the east side houses in Villiers Street were often used in conjunction with the larger Buckingham Street houses, while the appeal of the west side was eroded almost immediately by the building of the York Buildings Waterworks in 1675 and the opening of a market on the site of Hungerford House in 1682.

3. 41-47 VILLIERS STREET

For the first century of its life, the site at 4l-47 Villiers Street formed part of 14 Buckingham Street – a large private house occupying a south-facing site fronting the river (Figure 2 and Figure 3). Although always well-occupied, the history of this house was not straight-forward: the site was first leased in 1674 when the foundations were said to have already been in place, but it was apparently not occupied until 1680 and burnt down four years later (in a fire which started in the York Buildings Waterworks).

The house was rebuilt on the same site in 1687-88 — perhaps re-using the earlier foundations — and was occupied by the diarist, Samuel Pepys. He remained until 1701, and for the next 30 years the house attracted aristocratic tenants. In 1732, however, it was taken over by the Salt Office to collect the tax on that substance, a use which remained here for over 50 years.

The Salt Office moved out of the house in 1788, and the building was demolished shortly afterwards — a change which perhaps reflected an initial 99-year lease of the 1670s. In 1792, it was replaced by two new buildings (Figure 4): 14 Buckingham Street, which was let out in chambers, and 19 Villiers Street, a warehouse owned by Minier, Minier & Fair, a firm of seedsmen with a shop at 63, the Strand.

Minier and its successor firms appear to have improved the building in the 1820s and 1830s, and remained here until 1880 (a tenancy which again suggests the running-down or expiry of a 90- or 99-year lease). During this occupancy, however, the changes around the building were drastic: Hungerford Market was rebuilt in 1830-33; Hungerford Bridge was added in 1836-45; in 1853-64 the market and bridge were removed to develop Charing Cross Station and its railway bridge, obliterating the west side of Villiers Street; and — most importantly — the river was embanked and the warehouse landlocked in 1864-70.

This latter change undoubtedly decided the fate of the Minier warehouse, as the loss of access to barges would have made the facility of little use to the company. In 1880, the upper floors of the building were converted to a rooming house with up to 50 rooms, while the ground floor was turned over to shops and the whole of the building was renamed “Embankment Chambers”.

Although the mix of uses in the building has varied over the past century, it remains largely unchanged aside from some modernisation in the 1920s and after World War II. The nature of the uses are discussed in Section 4, but some are of particular interest: the longest-established is the wine bar, opened in the 1890s by Angus Gordon, while others — including a brothel of the 1920s — have since been replaced by offices.

4. HISTORICAL SUMMARY

The site is that of York House, and Villiers Street is believed to lie on the line of the main entrance to the house from the Strand. Until 1790, the site formed part of a large house in Buckingham Street which had been built in the late 1670s, burnt down in 1684, and was rebuilt in 1687-88. The site was redeveloped in 1791-92 for chambers in Buckingham Street and a seed warehouse at what became 41-47 Villiers Street.

It is not known if foundations or vaults from York House (now comprising Gordons wine bar) were used for the first house of the 1670s, nor if vaults were re-used in the 1680s for the house occupied by Samuel Pepys, nor if the vaults which now exist were again re-used again in the 1790s. Given the nature of the various rebuildings, however, it seems likely that the existing vaults date to the late 17th century.

The warehouse was occupied in 1792 by Minier, Minier & Fair, a firm of seedsmen; its successor firms remained here until 1880, when the building was redeveloped as a rooming house and shops. Rudyard Kipling famously stayed here from 1889 to 1891, and the building’s longest tenant, the wine bar, was first established here in the 1890s.

In the early 20th century, the residential population of the building levelled out at 17 or 18 but the clientele deteriorated: one Alfred Frederick Joyce was convicted and fined in 1923 for keeping a brothel at this address. (Disorderly houses were more common, however, at other addresses in the street and, particularly, in Craven Street.)

Offices were developed in about 1925; the present street numbers were assigned in 1926; and in 1950 the building was presumably upgraded when it was renamed “Kipling House”.

5. SITE TENANTS

York House (to 1674)

by 1237-1536 Bishops of Norwich (Norwich Place).
1536-1556 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (Suffolk Place).
1556-155S Archbishop of York (York House).
1558-1579 Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper of the Great Seal;
1579-15S7 Francis Bacon born at house, 1561(probably) Sir Thomas Bromley, lord keeper.
c1587-1594 Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex.
1594-1596 Sir John Puckering, lord keeper.
1596-1617 Sir Thomas Egertan, lord keeper.
1617-1620 Sir Francis Bacon, lord keeper.
1622-1640s Duke of Buckingham (to 1628) and family.
1640s-1660 Thomas, Lord Fairfax, and son-in-law, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.
1660-1674 George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

With 14 Buckingham Street

1674 Site leased to Six Thomas Estcourt.
1680-1684 Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset.
1684-1688 Burnt down and rebuilt.
1688-1701 Samuel Pepys.
1701-1714 Robert Harley (Earl of Essex, 1711).
1714-1716 Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington.
1717-1732 George Henry Lee, 2nd Karl of Lichfield;
1732-1788 Edward Harrison, postmaster general. Salt Office.

As 19 (now 41-47) Villiers Street

1792-1880 Minier, Minier & Co, seedsmen.
1880-1950 Embankment Chambers. Up to 50 tenants including:
Rudyard Kipling,
Angus Gordon, wine merchant, (1890 – bar now longest serving tenant)
17 to 18 private residents
1923 Brothel prosecution!
1923 Renumbered as 41-47 Villiers Street.
1925 offices introduced
1950 Renamed Kipling House.

History of Villiers Street courtesy of In and Around Covent Garden.

Angus Stafford Gordon, a Free Vintner, started Gordon’s wine bar in 1890. His son took over after him and his grandson after him (all 3 had the same name!). The grandson worked there for 3 years as a young man, but went off to become an actor – something he loved. In March 2009, Angus Stafford junior came to the bar and met me, Simon Gordon (Luis Gordon’s son), and kindly brought along a batch of wonderful old photographs.

Angus

Although we don’t think we are related, there are family likenesses, so you never know! It was lovely to meet Staff (as he likes to be known) and I am delighted that he says he is very happy that Gordon’s is keeping alive the traditions which his grandfather and father tried to instil – good service, discretion and a wonderful atmosphere! He will be returning!

Simon

Angus 2

Angus Stafford Gordon

Angus father

Angus Gordon Clovelly Devon 1936

Angus junior

Angus Gordon junior

Original Gordon

Gordons old handout card

Read some of our customer’s memories of Gordon’s here.

  • We will display this on our website for anyone to see so we recommend no oversharing!
  • Remember, it's going public!
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Here is a selection of articles that have featured Gordon’s Wine Bar. If you know of any interesting articles or excerpts from books please let us know!

You may also know that Gordon’s nearly closed in the 1990s due to the huge upheavals in Villiers Street but managed to hang on thanks to the help and support of many of our stalwart customers. Here are some of the articles and papers at the time:

What’s on

Events

Canada Day Wednesday 1st July

Join us on Wednesday the 1st of July for a Canada day special. There will be a lunchtime special of maple syrup glazed salmon, did I hear any yums? We will

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Prosecco Evening Wednesday 8th July

And so the celebrations continue. Join us on the 8th of July to celebrate our 125th anniversary with bubbles. Yes, we will be promoting our Gordon’s Prosecco and offering some

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News

Neat Streets Project

You may have noticed by now the curious campaign ‘Neat Streets’ that has taken over Villiers Street to try and cut down on littering. At Gordon’s we are fully endorsing

Read More

Celebrating Gordon’s 125th Year!

For 125 years Gordon’s Wine Bar has been pouring great wines and ports and serving it’s famous home made pork pies and food along with traditional cheeses and crusty French

Read More

Bookings & Contact

Social Media

Address

47 Villiers Street
London
WC2N 6NE

WE OPERATE A STRICT FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED TABLE POLICY. WE DO NOT TAKE TABLE RESERVATIONS. WE ONLY ALLOW BOOKINGS OF “THE CAGE” FOR LARGE PARTIES.

WE REGRET WE ARE UNABLE TO TAKE TABLE RESERVATIONS BY TELEPHONE

Please see our ‘Make a Reservation’ link below

We are open seven days a week, except Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Our opening hours from Monday to Saturday are 11.00a.m. – 11.00 p.m. Sunday’s from 12.00 noon until 10.00 p.m.

Please see below for reservations. As you will know if you have visited Gordon’s, we get very busy, so we have had to come up with strict booking guidelines to make sure there is no favouritism! These are:

  • The “Cage” (the old wine cellar, which holds around 10 people) can be booked now for arrivals before 12.45pm at lunch and for arrivals before 4.30pm in the evening (after which you can stay until we close!)
  • No bookings at other times – just get here early! *
  • We don’t ask for a deposit or booking fee but please that bookings must be for at least 8 people.
  • You can book for the lunchtime session, or the evening session, or both.
  • You must arrive by the following times or we will remove the “booked” notice: Lunchtime session – 12.45pm, and Evening session – 4.30pm

By special arrangement we can accommodate larger parties on our terrace on Watergate Walk. Please contact us via General Enquiries for details.

Thank you so much for your fantastic support of Gordon’s and we look forward to welcoming you at the bar.

*Although we are very busy, we do have tables outside that seat 80, which our wonderfully loyal customers use as long as it isn’t raining too hard! Inside, if you arrive at around 4.00pm you can normally bag a table, but even after that you can normally find somewhere to perch if you persevere. Don’t be afraid to ask to share a table – all our customers are lovely friendly people.

Make a reservation

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Gordon’s is located at 47 Villiers Street, just up from Embankment tube station.
Right next door to Charing Cross and a stroll across Hungerford bridge from Waterloo.

For a detailed guide on how to get access to Gordon’s please click here: AccessibilityGordons.

We look forward to welcoming you next time you visit us!

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