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Gordon’s Veneto Red ● Glass £5.80 Bottle £21.25
(ITALY. Merlot, Corvina) 12% ABV
Softest tannins, ripe red fruits and cherry aromas. Very smooth and easy drinking
Tikves Kratoshija ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(MACEDONIA. Kratoshija) 13% ABV
Aromas of redcurrents, red berries and cherries, with vibrant fruit flavour end note
Malbec Trivento ● Glass £6.25 Bottle £23.00
(ARGENTINA. Malbec) 12% ABV
Brimming with black fruits, soft and very approachable, well appreciated
Reserva Aliança ● Glass £6.30 Bottle £23.25
(PORTUGAL. Baraida 100%) 13.5% ABV
Attractive, juicy red fruits, with gentle spicy oak and supple tannins
Echevaria Carmenere Reserva ● Glass £6.75 Bottle £25.00
(CHILE. Carmenere) 13% ABV
Intense berried fruit and ripe plums on the palate, with a hint of spice from the private vineyard of the Echerverria family
Chianti Conti Serristori ● Glass £6.35 Bottle £23.40
(ITALY. Sangiovese) 13% ABV
Dry and medium bodied with classic bitter cherry fruit aromas, and gentle tannins
Devil Valley Pinot Noir ● Glass £6.35 Bottle £23.50
(HUNGARY. Pinot Noir 100%) 13.5% ABV
Estate bottled, a subtle and elegant red with enticing cherry and raspberry fruit flavours. Perfect with cheese to bring out the flavour.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Bove Glass ● £6.50 Bottle £24.00
(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
Nero D’Avola ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £24.00
(SICILY. Nero D’Avola) 14% ABV
Full of plum, dark cherry and spice, deliciously fruity and fairly tannic
Rioja Real Rubio ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £23.90
(SPAIN. Tempranillo) 14% ABV
Full and lively in the mouth, juicy with aromas of wild berries and blackberries over a balsamic base
Fat Bastard Pinot Noir ● Glass £6.65 Bottle £24.60
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir) 12.5% ABV
Full of juicy red fruits, medium bodied and easy to drink
Côtes Du Rhône Tradition ● Glass £6.70 Bottle £24.75
(FRANCE. Grenache, Syrah, Carignon, Mourvedre) 13.5% ABV
Aromas of red fruit spices such as liquorice and grey pepper
Grover Zampa La Reserve ● Glass £6.75 Bottle £24.95
(INDIA. Cabarnet Sauvignon) 14% 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 £6.95 Bottle £25.75
(USA. Cabernet Franc) 14% ABV
Smooth, medium bodied, well balanced dark fruit with classic leafy tones
Beaujolais Villages Château de L’Hestrange ● Glass £6.90 Bottle £25.50
(FRANCE. Gamay, Pinot Noir) 12.5% ABV
Ruby red with aromas of black fruits and morello cherry. Characteristic of the Beaujolais-Village area. Try slightly chilled
Chateau Hautes Graves d’Arthus Grand Cru ● Bottle £41.50
(FRANCE. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) 13% ABV
Super smooth plum and blackberry fruit with toasted oak. Hints of dark spices and liquorice on the palate.
Sancerre Rouge● Bottle £54.00
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir) 13% ABV
Gentle tannins, red berry flavours with fresh acidity and subtle spice.
Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon ● Glass £5.95 Bottle £21.75
(CHILE. Cabernet Sauvignon) 12% ABV
Rich blackcurrants and red berry flavours with gentle tannins
Boundary Line Shiraz ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £23.95
(AUSTRALIA. Shiraz 100%) 13% ABV
Very approachable, fruit-driven style, medium bodied with a touch of spice
Swartland Founders Pinotage ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £24.00
(SOUTH AFRICA. Pinotage, Cinsault) 13% ABV
Soft, easy drinking with fresh red and blackberry fruits, vanilla and cloves with a touch of lingering spice to finish
Chateau Canevelle ● Glass £6.75 Bottle £25.00
(BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sav) 13% ABV
Fleshy soft and feminine, fruity and oaky; black current, prune and spicy aromas PRIVATE CHATEAU
Lebanon Red ● Glass £7.50 Bottle £28.00
(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
Viña Real Crianza ● Glass £7.60 Bottle £28.50
(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
Echeverria Merlot Reserva ● Bottle £30.00
(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
Dona Paula Estate Bottle ● £33.50
(ARGENTINA. 100% Malbec) 13.5% ABV
Intense violet colour, plum, black cherries, licorice and dried herbs aromas, round and ample in the mouth with a lingering finish
Viña Pomal (Reserva) Rioja ● Bottle £34.50
(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
Chateau Moulin des Graves St Emilion ● Bottle £36.90
(FRANCE. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) 13% ABV
Powerful spicy nose with grades of crushed fresh fruits. A velvety harmonious wine with mellow tannins
Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz ● Bottle £43.50
(AUSTRALIA. 100% Shiraz) 14% ABV
Dense dark purple red, aromas of mixed, fresh bright berry, fruit compote. Dark plum and violet intermingled with a savoury complexity. Full bodied
Louis Jadot Cotes de Beaune Village ● Bottle 49.00
(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 £60.00
(CALIFORNIA. 100% Zinfadel) 14.5% 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
Châteauneuf du Pape Domaine Chante Cigale ● Bottle £61.00
(FRANCE. Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre) 15% ABV
This is a traditional Châteauneuf du Paps with a peppery, leathery nose. A dry palate with spices, more pepper and a beautiful hint of vanilla
Amazon della Valpolicella ‘La Colomaia’ ● Bottle £61.00
(ITALY. Corvina, Molinara, Rondinalla) 15% ABV
Ripe, warm and generous on the nose with plum and cherry aromas and hints of dried fruits
Gordon’s Veneto White ● Glass £5.80 Bottle £21.25
(ITALY. Garganega) 12.0% ABV
A fresh, delicate white wine with hints of tropical fruits. (ask for a dash of Creme de Cassis to make a perfect Kir)
Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc ● Glass £5.95 Bottle £21.75
(CHILE. Sauvignon Blanc) 12.5% ABV
Light, floral aromas, refreshing with green and citrus fruit
Andes Peak Chardonnay ● Glass £5.95 Bottle £21.90
(CHILE. Chardonnay) 13% ABV
Light yellow colour with aromas of pineapple, peaches, herbal and mineral notes. Perfect with salmon
Pinot Grigio ● Glass £6.05 Bottle £22.25
(ITALY. Pinot Grigio) 12% ABV
A dry, light, and crisp wine with lemon and apple fruit
Vinho Verde Santola ● Glass £6.05 Bottle £22.25
(PORTUGAL. 100% Alvarino) 9% ABV
Ripe tropical aromas, very fresh and fruity with a lovely bouquet, pleasant finish. A classic Verde.
Tivkes Smederevka ● Glass £6.15 Bottle £22.50
(MACEDONIA. Indigenous Smederevka) 11% ABV
Tropical stone fruit aromas with a crisp, refreshing zingy palate
Swartland Founders Chenin Blanc ● Glass £6.50 Bottle £24.00
(SOUTH AFRICA.) 13% ABV
Currently considered the most exciting wine region in South Africa, this wine has a aromas of passionfruit and guava giving it a rich palate with a hint of minerality
Hungarian Sauvignon Blanc ● Glass £6.10 Bottle £22.20
(HUNGARY. Sauvignon Blanc) 12.5% ABV
From Nagyredei in the Matra region, this estate bottled wine is deliciously refreshing
Chateau Chanteloup ● Glass £6.60 Bottle £24.50
(FRANCE BORDEAUX. Semillon Sauvignon) 12.5% ABV
Elegant, with floral nose and pear and grapefruit aromas, still crisp, a great white from Bordeaux
Viognier ● Glass £6.65 Bottle £24.50
(ARGENTINA. Viognier) 13% ABV
Seductively aromatic with apricots and peaches. Well-balanced acidity, not too dry, and an elegant finish with honey
Fat Bastard Chardonnay ● Glass £6.65 Bottle £24.50
(FRANCE. Chardonnay) 13% ABV
Citrus, mineral with biscuity, creamy texture, and a balanced acidity
El Coto White Rioja ● Glass £6.75 Bottle £25.00
(SPAIN. Viura) 12.5% ABV
Vibrant fresh and crisp green fruits and zingy acidity, very elegant
Riesling Feinherb Abtie Hammerod ● Glass £6.80 Bottle £25.25
(GERMANY. Riesling) 9.5% ABV
Fresh citrus aromas and notes of green apples. On the palate this Riesling enchants with its finesse; fresh acidity with a long finish
Touraine Sauvignon Les Eglantines ● Glass £7.00 Bottle £26.00
(FRANCE. Sauvignon Blanc) 12% ABV
Gooseberries and crushed blackcurrants on the nose followed by an intense, fresh palate
Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie La Griffe ● Glass £7.15 Bottle £26.60
(FRANCE. Muscadet) 12% ABV
Refreshingly dry, zesty and crisp from Lie with green apple and lemon, from one of the most prestigious producers.
Grovers Sauvignon Blanc ● Glass £6.75 Bottle £25.00
(INDIA. Sauvignon Blanc) 13.5% ABV
Delicately exotic, light, aromatic, grassy and fruity with hints of apple, lemon and peach
Lebanon White ● Glass £7.50 Bottle £28.00
(BLENDED. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Obeideh) 13.5% 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
Gavi Tenimenti ● Glass £7.50 Bottle £28.00
(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
Yalumba Riesling ● Glass £7.50 Bottle £28.00
(AUSTRALIA. Riesling) 12% ABV
Positively dry, with lime and tangy marmalade flavours.
Vouvray Les Coteaux Demi Sec ● Glass £7.75 Bottle £28.95
(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
Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough ● Bottle £27.00
(NEW ZEALAND. Sauvignon Blanc) 12% ABV
Bursting with gooseberry and greengage fruit and minerality. Classic in your face Kiwi style!
Bishop’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc ● Bottle £31.80
(NEW ZEALAND. 100% Chardonnay) 12% ABV
Made by Saint Clair this is a wonderful NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of gooseberries, grapefruit, herbs and passionfruit
Montagny Premier Cru ● Bottle £37.00
(FRANCE. 100% Chardonnay) 13.5% ABV
An expressive nose of delicate yellow fruits with a touch of honey. The palate is precise, supple and savoury
Sancerre ● Bottle £38.00
(FRANCE. Sauvignon Blanc) 13.5% ABV
Very dry and refreshing with green fruits and intense minerality from the chalky clay soil
Saint Veran Louis Latour ● Bottle £46.00
(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
Champagne Bernard Remy Carte Blanche NV ● Flute £12.00 Bottle £50.00
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier) 12% ABV
A family run house since 1968 nestled on the Côtes des Blancs; a refreshing Champagne with notes of lime and lemon with finesse and elegance
Bernard Remy Rosé ● Flute £12.75 Bottle £54.00
(FRANCE. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier) 12% ABV
This house owns 11 hectares of vines throughout the Champagne region. Raspberry red in colour, with charming fruity aromatics and a palate of red fruits
Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru ● Bottle £60.00
(FRANCE. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) 12.5% ABV
From Bouzy, this is a 5 year old Grand Cru from the Paillard family estate that has been making wine since 1768. A light elegant champagne, beautifully balanced and wonderfully low in sugar (2.6g/L)
Bucks Fizz ● Glass £8.00
Kir Royale ● Glass £8.75
Prosecco Treviso Pasqua ● Glass £7.75 Bottle £29.00
(ITALY. Prosecco) 11.5% 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 £8.60 Bottle £32.50
(SPAIN. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) 11.5% ABV
Citrus, apple and toasted flavours with a good creamy finish
Echerverria Nina Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine ● Glass £7.90 Bottle £29.50
(CHILE. Pinot Noir) 12.5%ABV
A fresh sparkling rose, named after Nina Luz, the win maker’s vivacious grandmother. An elegant wine with wild strawberry and vanilla aromas and a racy acidity
Fat Bastard Brut Blanc de Blanc ● Glass £7.75 Bottle 29.00
(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
JP Setubal Peninsula SyrahRosé ● Glass £6.20 Bottle £22.80
(PORTUGAL. Syrah) 13% ABV
Clean, refreshing summer drink with a fresh mineral finish.
Pasqua Grigio Rosé ● Glass 6.25 Bottle £23.00
(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
Côtes de Provence ● Glass £7.75 Bottle £29.00
(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 £5.40 Beaker £6.50
Amontillado ● Schooner £5.10 Beaker £6.20
(medium dry) 17.5% ABV
Rich Cream ● Schooner £5.10 Beaker £6.20
(sweet) 17.5% ABV
Fino Delgado Zuleta – chilled ● Schooner £5.00 Beaker £6.00 Bottle £28.00
Xeres Zeluta Pedro Ximenez ● Schooner £5.50 Beaker £6.65 Bottle £31.250
(sweet) 15% ABV
(MADEIRA. Local grapes) 19% ABV
Henriques and Henriques Madeiras ● Schooner £6.10 Beaker £7.35 Bottle £35.00
(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 £5.60 Beaker £6.70
Messias Pink Port – chilled ● Schooner £5.20 Beaker £6.20 Bottle £29.00 (50cl)
Gordon’s Ruby ● Schooner £6.15 Beaker £7.40 Bottle £34.00
Dry White Port ● Schooner £6.10 Beaker £7.30 Bottle £33.75
Sweet White Port ● Schooner £6.20 Beaker £7.40 Bottle £35.00
Messias 10 Year Old Port ● Schooner £9.50 Beaker £11.45 Bottle £54.00
Messias Colheita 1995 ● Schooner £15.50 Beaker £18.20 Bottle £89.00
Messias LBV 2013 ● Schooner £9.50 Beaker £11.40 Bottle £54.00
For Dessert Wines please refer to our blackboards on the premises
These wines may be subject to variation and availability. If visiting especially to try them please email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to make sure we have them in stock – we don’t want to disappoint you!
Les Granges 2017 · £6.85/£25.50
(Languedoc. FRANCE) 12.5% ABV
This Picpoul offers fruit and mineral complexity backed up with fresh
gooseberry from the Sauvignon. The Vermintino rounds out the texture
and adds stone fruit notes
Ekuo Merlot 2015 · £6.65/£25.00
(Central Valley, ITALY) 12% ABV
A superb dark ruby red with fascinating bouquet; herbaceous notes, well
balanced with juicy fruit flavours. Great equilibrium and harmony.
LOW SULPHUR WINES
Toscar Tempranillo 2015 · £6.95/£25.75
(La Mancha, SPAIN) 13.5% ABV
Complex nose with notes of rose, strawberry and forest fruits. Delicately
floral, perfumed yet persistent on the palate, this is like Barolo at its best.
Our menus are changing! Watch this space for updates.
Gordon’s Wine Bar is not only famous for its extensive list of great wines but also for its fantastic cheese selection. With over twenty cheeses to choose from you will be truly spoilt for choice!
Served from 12.00 – 9.30 p.m.
All Cheese boards come with bread, butter and pickles.
1 cheese slice £7.00, 2 cheese slices £12.00 or 3 cheese slices £17.00
(v) – vegetarian; (u) – unpasteurised
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.
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.
LANCASHIRE, UK. Strong, mature cheddar with a hard, black wax coating which gives it a buttery and creamy consistency.
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.
FRANCE. Smooth texture cheese with a delicate flavor and a smoked after taste.
NETHERLANDS. Young, mild and creamy cheese, medium-hard in consistency.
Wine Pairing: goes down beautifully with our Pinot Grigio.
Smoked Comté (u)
FRANCE. The classic Comté taste, of a balance of brown-butter and roasted-nut aromas and a sweet finish, with a smoked twist.
Mature Cheddar (v)
CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UK. From Croxton Manor this full flavour mature cheddar is a staple cheese on our wooden plates.
Wookey Hole Hard Goat
SOMERSET, UK. Cave aged to the recipe of cheddar it is a firm, savoury cheese with a ‘hint’ of goat.
Wine Pairing: made to be savoured along with the fruity Touraine Sauvignon Les Eglantines.
SWITZERLAND. A sweet yet salty hard cheese with a distinctive but subtle taste.
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?
ITALY. A milder and creamier version of the Stilton this blue is exceptionally indulgent.
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.
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.
FRANCE. Dense and silky texture with a nutty aroma and a semi-hard, pâte like consistency.
SWITZERLAND. A very smooth, semi-soft cheese with a river water washed rind.
Wine Pairing: why not treat yourself all the way with an equally smooth wine such as the Chateau Hautes Graves d’Arthus Grand Cru.
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 • £9.50
Poached Salmon Salad • £9.50
Smoked Salmon Salad • £9.00
Roast Beef Salad • £9.50
Scotch Egg Salad • 8.50
Parma Ham* and Bread • £8.50
Pâté and Bread • £8.50
Organic Cured Pork Sausage* and Bread • £6.50
Peppers Stuffed with Feta Cheese* and Bread • £5.50
Houmous* and Bread • £5.50
Cold plates are served with salad unless marked *
*Served with bread and pickles
Salad Bowl • £5.20
Extra Portion of Bread • £1.20
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?
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.
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.
Reproduced by kind permission of W H H Van Sickle
Topographical and Building History Researcher
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:
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.
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!
Read some of our customer’s memories of Gordon’s here.
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:
BOOK THE CAGE
PLEASE NOTE: WE DO NOT TAKE TABLE RESERVATIONS
WE OPERATE A STRICT FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED TABLE POLICY.
WE ONLY TAKE BOOKINGS OF “THE CAGE” FOR 8 – 10 PEOPLE.
WE REGRET WE ARE UNABLE TO TAKE TABLE RESERVATIONS BY TELEPHONE.
For other enquiries please email email@example.com and allow 24 hours for a reply.
PLEASE NOTE: FROM MONDAY JULY 29th WE WILL NO LONGER SERVE HOT FOOD.
We are open seven days a week, except Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Our opening hours from Monday to Saturday are 11.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m. (last orders 10.30 p.m.) Sunday’s from 12.00 noon until 10.00 p.m. (last orders 9.30 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 12.30pm 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!
- 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 – 12.30pm, and Evening session – 4.30pm
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.
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!