Borough Market is a real treasure trove for foodies. Thank God, then, for Bedales, which pays the same care and attention to vinophiles.
Bedales has the kind of location that bars across London would burn down their premises for just to move here. Well, almost. Being located in the heart of one of London’s most respected markets, it benefits enormously from the wine-loving foodies that descend upon Borough Market in their droves on a weekly basis.
A simple bar, the main decorative feature at Bedales is the row upon row of wine bottles everywhere you look. The plain white walls, wooden benches (now, now, sometimes we have to share space with strangers), large barrels converted into tables, and blackboards highlighting the latest offers and recommended bottles is pretty much all you get. Doubling as a wine shop, the almost shabby-chic style of Bedales makes you feel like you’re sat in someone’s wine cellar rather than a central London bar but therein lies its charm. If you’re taking part or hosting a wine tasting or other event then there is also a cellar downstairs with exposed brick painted in white that’s even more worn in appearance, although in this case that’s no bad thing.
Bedales isn’t the largest bar and it has a certain bustling appeal that’s on the right side of hectic. The crowd is, unsurprisingly, made up of people that know and like their wine but refreshingly there’s none of the pomp and thumbing of noses that often accompanies those that ‘appreciate’ the grape. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable, from the bar staff to the hosts of the wine tasting events. And they don’t make you feel stupid for asking what the difference between a chablis and a chardonnay is even though everyone knows that. Ahem.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Bedales is all about the wine – if it’s beer you want go to the nearby Rake. They offer bottles at retail prices if you want to take them away or you can add a corkage fee (ranging up to £8) on the takeaway price to enjoy them in ‘pristine glassware’ in the bar. They regularly have different recommended wines and will concentrate on various grapes or regions from month to month. For example, they have previously offered a boutique Bordeaux and Burgundy selection for reduced prices (£18-£99), something that epitomises what this bar is all about.
If you’re a wine connoisseur then you’ll be in your element with many fine examples to suit all budgets. However, if you’re unsure about wine and feel embarrassed to ask then this setting is ideal for finding out more. Whether you want to indulge in one of their wine tasting events or just want to learn as you go, the staff will make you feel at ease and encourage you to sample wine outside of your comfort zone, listening to the kinds of things you like and matching bottles you’ve probably never thought to try to your own palate.
The Last Word
Bedales makes wine the kind of exciting world of discovery that it should be – accessible to all.