Earlier this month, Champagne fever gripped the nation as National Champagne Week unleashed a hail of flying corks followed quickly by a barrage of bubbles. For most of us in the country’s capital, however, the prospect of Champagne bars and bottles of bubbly comes tainted with the monetary regrets of the morning after, as blurred heads rediscover last night’s receipts.
With that in mind, we here at Food & Drink Guides thought we’d take an adventure – to propose a London Champagne safari for the many, bringing you some of the quirkiest Champagne bars around, while keeping the price tag as low as possible. Don’t worry – we’re not on about a guided tour here. Amble and peruse between destinations in true safari style, soaking up the fizz and enjoying the buzz.
The first stop on our grand safari, and with good reason – the Crown and Shuttle is one of the very few bars we’ve ever come across to serve Prosecco on tap. With a glass going for less than £5 and a bottle of the good stuff for just £29, we can definitely see the advantage of serving draught Prosecco. No bottle means cheaper packaging and reduced waste. It also means faster service and an easier customer experience.
Tapas and Cava, anybody? This Spanish mini-chain serves glasses for just under a fiver, and a selection of great tapas and Spanish cuisine to keep the night moving. Best of all, Cava itself is pretty similar to Champagne. Similar production methods give an equally fizzy taste, with added sweetness from the native Spanish grapes.
Sparkling wine for £4.95, you say? On Clapham Common? Oh, and if you weren’t convinced, there’s a great modern European menu to match.
Well we did say one of the few… Essentially cool with a quirky kick, Mele e Pere serves a range of sparkling wine and Prosecco, including bubbles on tap. With sparkling rosé for the sweet-toothed, get on down for a Prosecco pit-stop.
Okay, we’re straying away from the champagne region here (you could say this post has gone a little sparkling wine…). But cahoots has earned its way onto this list, with its underground station theme and 1940’s wartime chic. Always a bar to surprise you, keep an eye out for the secretive specials menu and the characters dotted about.
Walk into The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, and ask ‘to see the mayor’. You’ll be led to a fridge at the back. Open the door, and you’re met with a staircase, leading down to one of London’s very best secrets. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is one of five Breakfast Club venues across the city, each with their own great story and immersive experience. Think cocktails, Champagne, and silly word games.
Last on our list maybe, but if they were ranked in order of quirk factor, The Aviary would be top. Described as ‘Bruce Wayne’s bat-cave with a 4am license’, there’s no way this could be missed. Available for private hire, be sure to call ahead beforehand – a capacity of only 95 makes it that little bit exclusive.