Vagabond – Wine Bars in London

As wine bars in London go, Vagabond is one of the best with an exciting line up of wines and an innovative smart card system which negates the need for queuing. Peter Gray reports.

Vagabond Wine bars in London

I’m at Vagabond on Buckingham Palace Road. The wine bar/shop is part of the new Victoria, keen to cast off its rather down at heal reputation as a transport hub. This has led to an array of modern buildings and a spate of restaurant, bar and fashion store openings.

The bar is certainly in an enviable spot, a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace and a ten minute walk from the Houses of Parliament.

The interior of the venue is pleasing enough too. It doesn’t stray far from the contemporary furnishing formula of exposed brick walls, wood floors and leather seating but it does it agreeably well. The muted lighting is a nice touch and the numerous cabinets full of wines give the place a cosy feeling.

Vagabond is a wine bar with a novel twist. Instead of queuing at a busy bar, desperately trying to grab the attention of an uninterested serving person, at Vagabond you simply serve yourself.

You are given the option of renting a smart card when you arrive. There is a five pounds deposit for the card but you can top it up with as much or as little money as you wish.

Once you have loaded your card, you are free to wander around the bar, selecting and sampling whichever wines take your fancy. The wines are displayed in cases dotted around the venue. There is a good choice to choose and some absolutely cracking wines on offer. There is also an assortment of sparkling wines and Vagabond also has its own prosecco variant (Pinot) if you fancy something different.

Once you’ve made your selection, you simply put your smart card into the reader above the corresponding wine cabinet, press the button to select your wine and serving size and hey presto, your wine is dispensed. It really is as simple as that.

 The food, for what it’s worth, is absolutely excellent. The crab salad is gorgeous, with a bed of salad topped with a flavoursome and moreish crab and celeriac paste.

The crab salad at Vagabond Wine Bar
The crab salad at Vagabond Wine Bar

The chorizo in red wine is good too. Far too many restaurants scrimp on the quality of their chorizo and the result is bland and tasteless. Not Vagabond however, their chorizo is absolutely top quality and even though the portion is generous, it nonetheless leaves me wanting more.

The star of the show however is the gorgeous little lamb sausages. They come with a Harissa mayo and the combination is really quite something.

Vagabond is a delightful idea and it works extremely well in practice. The bar free bar works a treat and the smart card idea is cleverly implemented and easy to use. The food is delicious which helps and the interiors of the bar are cosy and comfortable. I shall be back.

For more information on Vagabond, please click here.

For information on other wine bars in London, please click here.

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