If you could draw a Venn-style diagram with one circle labeled ‘Wine bars with highly knowledgeable staff who will steer you in exactly the right direction’ and the other circle labeled ‘Going rogue on a whimsical self-guided wine tasting anyway’, then the teensy little bit where they overlapped would be labelled ‘Vagabond’.
You see, all eight Vagabond venues (including the one in Fulham) are equipped with something that sets them apart from other wine bars. That something is a bunch of enomatic machines, and if you’ve never heard of them, then think of them as being like a kind of magic decanter that keeps the wine tasting perfect no matter how long the bottle’s been open. It means there are literally hundreds of open bottles you can snag a glass from.
The whole venue is built around these machines, which line many of the walls and wrap around large wooden tables where you can rest a tasting glass. In fact, one gets the impression that the coldly industrial feel of a polished steel enomatic machine kind of necessitates all the wood, greenery, and other rustic touches, so as to offset it with as much warmth as possible.
How does it all work? Thankfully, it’s pretty simple – you load up a pre-pay ‘wine card’ at the bar with as much cash as you plan to drink, and then you unleash yourselves upon the machines (with or without the guidance of a somm). The bottles are all on full display for you to browse, lit up behind glass as if they were in an art gallery. After settling on your booze of choice, you slot in your card and select how much you want it to pour; anything from a mere taste to the full glass. It’ll deduct the price from your wine card, and on you go to the next bottle. And quite quickly, you see the benefit of these machines – you can have a taste of something ludicrously expensive which you may never have otherwise had a chance to, and have half a glass of something unusual & interesting that you might never otherwise give a chance to.
There’s wine-friendly food too of course (lashings of charcuterie and cheese, mostly), and if for some reason someone comes in not wanting to drink wine, then they will have to choose from a mere 50 craft beers and a full keg of Aperol Spritz on tap.
NOTE: Vagabond Fulham is open now for online orders only. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
Vagabond Fulham | 18-22 Vanston Place, SW6 1AX
Like wine? Then you’ll probably be interested in our list of London’s best wine bars.