Fare Bar + Canteen | Old Street Bar & Restaurant
Michael Sager and Marcis Dzelzainis have a lot in common.
1) A history at Hackney wine bar, Sager + Wilde, where the former was a co-founder and the latter their talented mixologist.
2) The initial ‘M’.
Grade 8 tap dancing They’ve both opened a bar and restaurant in Clerkenwell serving Modern European dishes, exquisite cocktails, bespoke coffee and over 250 bottles of wine.
This last one, it turns out, is not just a very specific and unlikely coincidence… because it’s the same place. It’s called Fare, and it’s settled over two floors of the Morelands building; a recently renovated cluster of mid-century creative warehouses in Clerkenwell.
In essence it’s a bar and restaurant that morphs from breezy breakfast spot to late night wine bar. Upstairs has a more laid-back bar feel, with a big wrap-around marble bar and high wooden tables with stools. Downstairs feels more intimate. It’s very warehouse-esque with a lower ceiling which, offset by reclaimed vintage pendant lighting and tea lights on every table, makes for an atmospheric setting. There’s also a huge cement and glass skylight between the ground and basement floors (of which they’re very proud) which floods the basement with light during the day. Here’s how all the food & drink breaks down…
On the ground floor you’ll find a grab & go coffee area overseen by Brixton roasters Assembly, who have created a bespoke roast for Fare. Beside that the bar is stocked with natural wines and there are almost a dozen cocktails on tap, including a Nitro Vodka Espresso and the Rum + Coconut, a piña colada boosted with lemon hydrosol (a distilled botanical water).
And finally there’s the canteen space, in which you’ll almost certainly spot that open kitchen and dining counter, where they’re serving small plates as well as dishes from the robata grill. Expect a very knowledgeable waiter/waitress dressed in snappy Carhartt overalls to bring you the likes of Basque-style stuffed mussels; sweet potato and taleggio calzones with pickled turnip; and an Istanbul-style ‘wet burger’ with sweet paprika & sour cucumber.
Downstairs in the basement (currently filled with all-wood furnishings, though banquette seating is planned) they’re working with a 250+ collection of wine plucked from Sager + Wilde’s roster of lesser-known, independent growers, and tailor-made cocktails (they’ve even created their own tonic, just to show off the spirits best). And they’re not dropping the ball when it comes to food, either – on pans is former Ellory chef Thomas Raymond, who’s cooking up seasonal dishes of all sizes taking inspiration from Britain and the Mediterranean.
The smaller numbers include fried artichoke with dill sauce & black olive; or warm beetroot with Cashel blue cheese. Going larger, you can expect whole flame grilled mackerel with pomegranate chermoula; beef shin ragu on a bed of creamy polenta; or slow-cooked Suffolk lamb shoulder for two.
Just make sure everyone gets their fare share.
NOTE: Fare Bar + Canteen is open now. You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Fare Bar + Canteen | 11 Old Street, EC1V 9HL
Looking for a nightcap spot? Head along to The Gibson