It’s one of the inscrutable laws of the universe that when a door closes to a 1970s NYC-inspired café, a window opens to a Parisian-style natural wine bar.
The most recent example: Bar Levan, a buzzy new bar adjoining Peckham’s critically-lavished restaurant Levan, and taking over from the team’s previous spot, Larry’s.
To be clear, they have a door, too.
Go through it, and you’ll find yourself in a snugly-sized neighbourhood nook, whose walls are now drenched the colour of good Burgundy, with a couple of cosy, candlelit tables hugging the walls. The place is soundtracked by chatter, clinking glasses and beats coming through the vintage stereo system. And of course, there are shelves stacked with rows and rows of wine.
Those wines hail from across Europe, from Slovenia to, er, Wiltshire, and are all plucked from organic & biodynamic vineyards. The team have long been sourcing interesting bottles for the restaurant next door, so you’re in safe hands here. There’s plenty available by the glass, including some decently priced house numbers, but if you fancy something a bit higher-end they also have a Coravin system in play here, which allows them to pour glasses from more premium bottles too.
If wine’s not your bag, there’s a handful of aperitivi including a negroni, a martini with a splash of natty wine favourite Radikon, and a Lillet spritz. And like any good French wine bar, there’s also a mezcal list, arranged geographically from Northern to Southern Mexico.
The food menu is short and sweet, featuring some lovely, salty small plates that partner perfectly with wine. You can order a couple of gildas (skewered anchovies, olives and guindilla peppers), or some crispy baguette and cod’s roe for a snack. There’s also cheese & charcuterie, croque monsieurs for a late-night carb hit, and pickled mussels on crisps (apparently a stalwart of tapas bars in Spain). If you’re after something more substantial, there’s a bavette steak frites to share – but given you’re right next door to the main restaurant (and a stone’s throw from some other great Peckham restaurants like The Begging Bowl and Artusi), Bar Levan is best saved for a pre- or post-meal drink.
Particularly post-meal, actually, so you can order the chocolate ganache with olive oil…
NOTE: Bar Levan is open Tues-Fri from 5pm till late, Saturday 12pm-1am. It’s also dog-friendly. You can find out more, and book, HERE.
Bar Levan | Unit 5, 12-16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL
Like checking out new places? See our guide to the best new restaurants & bars in London