First off, let’s be clear: this place is going to leave you anything but un-wined.
Because it’s a vast repository of over 80 different hand-picked wines (which you can sample by the glass or bottle), where they offer weekly themed tastings and a kind of ‘omakase’ option, where they’ll pick out a bespoke flight for you to try.
You’ll find it on Waterloo’s Lower Marsh, a cute little street packed with bookshops and cafés just behind Waterloo station (where you’ll also find The Vaults). Unwined is the twinkling ground floor of the Stow Away, a hotel made entirely from shipping containers.
It’s the second Unwined bar from owners Laura and Kiki, who started out running wine tasting pop ups before launching their first permanent bar in Tooting Market. The Waterloo edition is much bigger, with a cosy wood-filled space spilling out onto the pavement outside.
Hidden gems and independent growers are their MO, so you won’t find any £4,000 Pétrus on the shelves here. Instead, there’s a selection of stand-out wines from ‘off the beaten track’ that rotates every two months or so. Spanning Old and New World wines, there’s always a balanced pick of red, white, and sparkling, with a couple of rosés, orange wines and dessert wines thrown in for good measure. With three simple taste notes for each one, it’s a simple one to navigate – and the staff are always on hand to give you advice, or define the word ‘furmint’.
Adding ballast to all this booze is a kitchen residency programme that gives a home to itinerant chefs for a few months at a time. Currently, Klose and Soan are on the pans, serving up a menu that’s as globetrotting as the wines. Start with Korean Fried (Sussex) Chicken wings or spiced lamb and hummus, before tucking into pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi, ratatouille, or salted caramel ice cream.
If you like what you’ve tasted, Unwined handily operates as a bottle shop, too – so you can take a bottle back home with you.
After, you know, paying for it.
NOTE: Unwined in Waterloo is open Tuesday to Friday, 4-10pm. You can find out more, reserve a table or book a tasting event right HERE.
Unwined in Waterloo | 137 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE
Like drinking exclusively in shipping containers? Get down to Pop Brixton