Rupert Hohwieler 17/01/23
Finley’s | Hoxton Wine Bar Championing Female Producers
Places in London like Finley’s are few and far between.
It’s a wine bar and shop, which London does, yes, have a lot of, but hear us out: it’s a wine bar and shop that sells bottles exclusively from female winemakers and LGBTQ+ businesses.
It’s not exactly an eye-opening piece of information that the wine industry doesn’t have the best reputation for gender diversity – a reputation that Finley’s owner Kasia Smith thoroughly acknowledges – but it is slowly getting better in that regard. Something that she’s hoping to show here – that the industry is no longer a man’s world.
The space she’s bagged herself on Hoxton Street has been brought to life through her own funding as Kasia is fortunate to have friends who are talented handy workers (plasterers, carpenters etc); friends who she’s called upon to help her craft the shop to her own aesthetic style. You’ll notice plenty of pot plants to cheer the space up, a few light hanging light fixtures to brighten it, and a handful of seats both inside and out with a long communal table commandeering the centre of the room intended to instigate a welcoming dinner party kind of vibe. You can probably get in about 25 punters, with extra if you’re counting dogs (it’s dog-friendly). The most important feature you’d have to say though, is the wine wall.
As the name hints at, it’s a wall stacked with wine. There’s roughly 70 of them on the floating shelves with Eleanora Kausinyte (Maison François‘ head sommelier) helping Kasia to come up with the carefully selected list. While what you get changes on the regular – for example, varieties from Vins Et Volailles and The Modest Merchant – one thing that’s constant is you’ll always read a female name on the label of the bottle. It’s much like Covent Garden’s Lady of The Grapes in that respect. In fact because of this, most of what you’ll sip is new…
In the rare event that you’ve arrived here and you don’t actually drink wine, then fear not, this isn’t an unmanageable situation; Finley’s also sells cans of beer from Queer Brewing, a queer and transgender owned brewery. There’s stuff to nibble on too – cured meats, cheeses and breads – plus light wine food dishes such as baked camembert or ricotta & anchovies with sourdough. The produce they use for these also comes solely from female-makers, or brands where women are involved in the ownership (like Sea Sisters, the English tinned fish brand co-run by Charlotte Dawe and her chef-husband Angus Cowen).
And finally, Finley’s holds occasional tastings as well where you can sharpen your vino comprehension with sessions covering orange wine, natural wine, wine & cheese pairings, meet the makers nights and so on.
It’s a diverse range…
NOTE: Finley’s is open from Weds-Sat (though on Weds it’s a shop only). You can find out more and check when tastings are on instagram, right here.
Finley’s | 297 Hoxton St, London N1 5JX
This your cup of tea? You can find similar spots in our guide to London’s best natural wine bars…
297 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 5JX
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