El Vino, Fleet Street
City wine bars can divide opinion amongst drinkers - either loved or hated, for us it can sometimes conjure up images of the Square Mile's tacky excesses. However, cast aside any of this, as El Vino in Fleet Street is the real deal. As much as part of Fleet Street's old newspaper heritage as the Old Bell or Cock, it feels uncontrived, having developed organically over time, rather than suffering the ignominy of a makeover. Old cabinets of wine line the wall, while large barrels of sherry and port take up a disproportionate amount of space behind the bar. The back room offers table service and traditional British dishes at acceptable prices, while the front bar offers a lighter fare of Tapas and toasted sandwiches. Not only was this the most civilized place in Fleet Street to have a drink on our Thursday night visit (everywhere else was rammed), but it had the most polite clientele and the best service. The wine list, was, as you'd hope, pretty good - a good bunch by the glass, more by the bottle. A drinking establishment of the old school - upmarket yet unpretentious and characterful. Watch out though - it closes as 10pm.
47 Fleet Street, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1BJ
020 7353 6786
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