Established in 1890, Gordon's is certainly the oldest wine bar in London, and possibly the oldest in the world. Now owned by Wendy Gordon, the wife of the late Luis Gordon, who was responsible for much of the bars current reputation, the bar was first set up by an Arthur Gordon in 1890, though the current Gordon family aren't related to him.
The building in which Gordon's is situated was home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680s, and Rudyard Kipling in the 1890s, as a tenant in the parlour above the bar. As a whole the building used to be a riverside warehouse, but this ceased in 1864 when the embankment was built and the building was landlocked.
The bar is reasonably hard to spot if you don't know it's there as it involves going through and anonymous looking door off Villiers Street, or down a side street, but once you're inside it is almost always packed out.
One caution for the uninititated is that Gordon's only sells wines and fortified wines, so you should not expect beer or spirits on your visit. Both are, however, served in ample portions in a cellared atmosphere which is virtually unrivalled in this area of London, so this is something to be thankful for. There is also the option of a range of cheese and meat-based food, should you work up a hunger. On Sundays there is also a substantial roast.
All in all, Gordon's is unrivalled, and we are lucky to have it. Long may it survive, unchanged and unchallenged. The Gordon's website alone, at http://www.gordonswinebar.com/, is absolutely intriguing.
Click here to see the location on a map.