A new site is planned for wine bar and shop Humble Grape off London’s Fleet Street after the success of the first in south London.
Founder James Dawson is to open his second bar in May, converting a 3,600 sq ft space in St Bride’s Passage – a venue that was once The Press House Wine Bar, a popular haunt for journalists.
Unoccupied for several years, it will be revived to comprise a 200-seat wine bar plus a shop, events space, private dining room and wine cellar. Round the corner from the City of London Distillery, it is tucked away down a cobbled street in the vaults of St Bride’s Church.
Humble Grape, which opened in Battersea in July last year (pictured), directly imports handcrafted wine from small, sustainable, independent vineyards worldwide, avoiding the industry-standard mark-ups from agents, importers or distributers.
The wine list will feature around 30 wines available by the glass or carafe and over 200 wines available by the bottle to drink in or take away. Highlights will include Blackwater Underdog Chenin Blanc MMXIV 2014 Stellenbosch from winemaker Francois Haasbroek and Vecchie Terre Montefili wines from Panzano – the first in the Chianti region to adopt biodynamic farming.
Head chef Anna Allan has devised wine-friendly “Humble Plates”. Like the wines, the ingredients will be sourced from independent suppliers, whose produce can be traced straight back to the farm.
Dishes will include Galician octopus with chargrilled leeks and triple-cooked new potatoes; roast bone marrow with dipping soldiers; and lamb ribollita stew.
James is working with acclaimed architect Jean Dumas of Trellik Design Studios on the design. Aged woods, cork, concrete and Portuguese tiles will complement the stunning stone arches, which are thought to be the original design of Sir Christopher Wren.
The colour palette will be a mixture of natural ambers and smoky greys with rich and lively undertones. The bar will be crafted from old champagne riddling racks, and a teal-leather banquette will be centred beneath dramatic industrial lighting.
Towards the back of the venue will be the cavernous events space which will feature a striking glass-fronted wine cellar behind the arches, and the 18-seater private dinning room.
James said: “I started Humble Grape in 2009 with a handful of wines that I’d discovered on my travels. I ran wine tastings for my friends and family and delivered cases on the back of my motorbike. Now we import over 200 wines, and have a loyal following.
“Many of my customers invested in our crowdfunding raise on Seedrs enabling me to launch the first Humble Grape wine bar and shop in Battersea, the mission being to make great-quality wines accessible for all. The bar was so well received we’re now in the position to bring the concept to central London.”