Jason Allen 07/11/19
NOTE: Bar Aspen has now closed here, and become permanent in Battersea.
There aren’t many tree species that make the perfect inspiration for a natural wine speakeasy.
Because in English folklore the leaves of an aspen tree are said to grant the wearer the ability to visit the underworld and – importantly – return safely. Which in fairly literal way is what you can do at Bar Aspen. Because it’s a subterranean natural wine speakeasy, popping up every Friday night in a hidden Camden cellar.
That cellar is underneath coffee shop Music & Beans on Camden High Street. Head to the staircase at the back, make your way down, and if you get there early enough (that is, between 7.30pm-9pm) you’ll hear the sound of live jazz pulling you inside. The space is a dark, sleek, brick-arched cavern with sommeliers dressed in snappy braces ready to decant some top-shelf grape hooch into your glass.
The idea came from “wine geek” Sunny Hodge, founder of Diogenes The Dog, whose mission in life is to get people drinking interesting wines that challenge and expand their palates. Here, he’s curated a short, gem-packed list, which is never too expensive (it starts at £5 a glass, and there’s nothing over £14). They’re all low-intervention, natural and tasty. There’s red, white, orange, sparkling, skin-contact – there are even a couple of ‘apple wines’ from the Czech Republic.
To go with it, there’s a short food menu, including the likes of a pulled lamb burger with cumin onions & walnut dukkah, or a healthy-sounding Mediterranean Buddha Bowl that mixes roasted peppers, avo & quinoa. If you’re after something a little lighter still, there are classic wine-friendly sharing boards of cheese & charcuterie.
It’s just a pop up at this point, slated to run until the end of May.
But hopefully, it’ll lay down some roots.
The Cellars at Music & Beans | 82 Camden High St., NW1 0LT
Looking for a non-secret, permanent, open-daily sort of wine bar? Check out these places…
The Cellars at Music & Beans, 82 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 0LT
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