Style & Then Some

It’s 6 o’clock in…Bedford & Strand

I’ll say it now, the Bedford & Strand is my favourite wine bar in London, so recommending it publicly is like sharing my favourite film with someone I really like, hoping that a) they don’t judge me for liking it, b) they like it too and c) they like me back for liking it. This is a fragile moment.

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I actually threw caution out of the third floor of our office block and shared the post-work midweek Bedford & Strand experience with someone new recently (what was I thinking?). Having wandered the South Bank (whose bars don’t look as appealing unless it’s super sunny and you can sprawl out towards the river, drink in hand and bags on the floor) and decided we weren’t in the mood for Villier’s Street (which is so often a throng of people in suits all clogging up some or other bar), I found myself suggesting the Bedford.

The reasons I like this wine bar so much stack up one on top of the other in a way that makes it impossible to reason why anyone wouldn’t like it. I feel so very comfortable within its subterranean walls. There’s a pleasant hum and cheerful buzz about place, everyone at ease. I’ve since learned that the Bedford was started up by a group of friends, and so it begins to make sense. Quite simply, for me, the Bedford & Strand has it all.

But much like anyone’s favourite film, tastes vary and are based just as much on emotional responses as they are on how they score on a tick-list. So, with that in mind, here’s why I think the Bedford meets all the post-work-drinks-in-London criteria… and when you go, you can judge for yourself whether or not it makes you smile.

  • Location, tick. Close enough to busy Covent Garden and Leicester Square but far enough away not to get the crowds, the tourists or the price tag. Plus, it’s a stone’s throw away from three tube stations and Charing Cross rail.
  • Atmosphere, tick. The entrance leads you down some steps and into a bistro that gives you the feeling of 1930s France; somewhere that revolutionaries might collude and smoke lots of cigarettes.
  • Wine list, tick. Anywhere that describes wine like you would a potential partner (‘reliable’, ‘honest’, ‘decent’, ‘good’, ‘staff picks’) gets a big thumbs up from me.
  • Bar snacks, tick. I find it hard to enthuse over cheese and charcuterie boards because unless they’re loaded and the bread is unlimited, I think you can do better at home. At the Bedford, its deli counter specialities steal the show. The potted crab with little toasts, fresh and olive-oily hummus, crisp chunky chips with aioli, silken pork rillettes, and fat fish fingers with tartare sauce. You can create a mini feast for the table that will keep you dipping, spreading and munching while you talk and drink at length.

Most people book tables, even in the bar area, so if there’s more than two of you and you don’t fancy a bar stool, call ahead. The Bedford also has a restaurant, whose menu is mostly British with a sprinkle of French.

Thankfully, my companion for the evening liked it. And he wasn’t just saying so. If you go to the Bedford, please just don’t tell me unless, like me, it makes you beam.


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This entry was posted on March 22, 2016 by in And Then Some, Food, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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