With five branches scattered across London, I was astounded to have missed out on the phenomenon that is Vagabond Wines for so long.
The concept is simple but revolutionary for wine lovers. On arrival, you’ll receive an electronic card, similar to an Oyster card used for travelling across London’s tube network. You can then load as much money onto it as you wish and will also have to pay a £5 deposit for the card.
Here’s where the fun comes in. Each Vagabond Wines branch houses hundreds of wines, but with a twist. Every bottle sits behind glass, and you can browse the shop with a large wine glass in hand. Pick and choose your poison from the wide selection available and pay for it with your top-up card.
I can only describe Vagabond Wines as like a pay-by-the-glass wine vending machine. There is, of course, a huge variety between the quality and types of wines but luckily there’s a taster option to avoid shelling out on a large glass of wine you won’t love.
I’ve visited the Clapham Junction Northcote Road branch and Central London’s Charlotte Street store. Both were a real treat to visit, each rustic, cosy, and buzzing with the excitement of the novelty of it all.
As you can imagine, these heavenly spots get very busy, so I’d recommend booking a table in advance. Pair your selections with
a yummy cheeseboard, and you’re onto a winner.