• London
  • Exploring the wine bars of London

    cash loans and wine in London

    I have always felt very fortunate that I get to live in London.

    Being a woman in my mid-twenties, I find that this city never ceases to amaze me. The pubs, bars, theater and shopping keep me from ever wanting to leave. I’ve been living here for almost five years now and still feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of all London has to offer.

    I have recently made it a personal goal of mine to try and visit a new wine bar weekly, to get myself out of visiting my usual haunts. I love my local bars, but have decided to branch out and explore some new venues. Wine is always in high supply around Europe, and the sheer variety and quality is enough to turn any novice into a connoisseur.

    I’m no expert when it comes to wine, but it has always been my drink of choice.

    In each bar I visited I would ask for the waitstaff’s recommendation and trust that they probably knew more about their selection than I did. It was easy enough to get friends to accompany me on this “wine bar challenge” since I happen to have a group of friends that often refer to themselves as winos.

    1) Our first stop was Gordon’s Wine Bar, which is a short walk from Trafalgar Square.

    Gordon’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest bar in London, having been established in 1890. I’ve actually come here several times since my initial visit since I enjoyed it so much. It is located underground with the look and feel of being in a cave. Gordon’s has an extensive wine collection and cheese plates to match. The cheese selection is really what got me hooked! My friend and I split a French Pinot Noir called “Louis Jadot Cotes de Beaune Village.” It was full-bodied and delicious. I’ve tried a few different reds since my initial visit, but the first one is still one of my favorites.

    2) The next week I went to visit the wine bar called “10 Cases“.

    I live in Covent Garden and have passed this little bar several times and decided it was time to try it out. As the name indicates, the bar only buys 10 cases of wine at a time, meaning the menu is constantly changing. 10 Cases is a rather small bar, with only a few tables so it’s best to make a reservation if you plan on visiting during peak hours. I enjoyed a few glasses of a South African Chenin Blanc, but can’t quite remember the name. Since the bar is so small, I ended up having a conversation with a woman who was actually doing research for opening up her own bar. I was quickly drawn in, mostly out of curiosity as to how you’d even begin. I could see myself opening my own bar one day, once I had enough saved.

    Interestingly enough, Anita had said her first step to creating her own place had been a simple 2500 pound cash loan from PurpleQuid.co.uk she had applied for online (I updated the post with the correct link. Who knows – may be this website will help YOU one day). She went on to say that the procedure was so simple and straightforward that she had the cash a week later and was able to start planning logistically for her future bar. Obviously, 2500 pounds wouldn’t be enough for opening a business, but it did allow her to spend some time in France conducting research at some of the best wineries. While I am far from anywhere near launching my own business, I would love a French holiday to “learn” about, and drink, loads of French wine! A new friend made and a possible connection to the next best bar in London – not too bad for a fun blog experiment.

    3) A few days later I found myself squeezed into Jose, the bar on Bermondsey Street.

    When I approached the bar I knew it would be a good one due to the fact that it was nearly overflowing with people. Admittedly, it was a quarter to six on a Friday so it was to be expected that places would be quite busy. Miraculously my friend and I were able to find two seats by the bar. What luck! I had to shout a bit for the waiter to take my order, but a few minutes later we were happily tucked into a bottle of Cabernet with several tapas covering our table. I highly recommend the Chorizo Iberico, Patatas Bravas and Croquetas. I absolutely plan on visiting again, perhaps at a slower time in the day.

    4) My final bar for the month was Blanchette, located in Soho.

    I had done a lot of research online before choosing Blanchette, and had heard that the music and ambiance was top notch. I visited on a Saturday evening around teatime and was not disappointed. Since Blanchette is known for French food, I decided to order the frog legs and went with a modestly priced Sauvignon Blanc. I absolutely adored the food, even went on to order a few more items from the a la carte menu, and found myself really enjoying the atmosphere as my friends and I worked our way through not one, but three bottles of wine! The experience was well worth the headache I had the next morning.

    If you are just visiting London for a few days, I highly recommend Gordon’s Wine Bar since it is a truly unique experience.

    If you have more time to stay in London, or actually live here, try venturing out to some new spots and I’m sure you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with the variety the city has to offer. I know I will personally continue this fun challenge of visiting new bars often in order to explore different parts of London and to maybe one day call myself a wine connoisseur. If you happen to know of any amazing places I did not include, please let me know and I’ll add it to my list for next month! For now, all I can say is there can never be a dull moment whenever you go on a  adventure in London as the experience is almost always something to write home about.

  • Birmingham
  • From Wine Bar Hopping to Wine Market Shopping

    Wine shops and markets are the latest “in” thing to do for hipsters and millennials. While this age group rarely ever considers ourselves experts, we do know what we like. What we like is hanging out, having bold conversations about politics, society, and relationships. We like sharing these topics while sharing good wine, bread, cheese, and laughter.

    Planning a wine party is the easiest and smartest thing to do.

    Instead of guests bringing a wine to go with a heavy beef dish, fish, or chicken, wine is the focal point of the gathering, everything else is a side.

    For the wine parties my friends and I have, we gather at least once a month, more often in the spring and summer, and share wine and stories of the various shops and markets. The fun part, is there are really two wine parties in one if lucky, for the truly nice shops and markets have wine tastings.

    We usually watch this video again and again:

    … and start shopping!

    What we look for is not so much the vintage or the vintner, but rather the region.

    I for one, do not care for French wines, I find them most often too sweet, nor do I care for Californian, or indeed most American wines as I find them lacking in substance. South African and South American wines seem to have just the right amount of spice to their reds. Oddly I find Italian whites to be crisp and dry, as I prefer.

    My friend, Jobe, however is the exact opposite, loving the sweet reds and whites. Jobe was my wine shopping partner for today, so things got to be a bit interesting. After doing a bit of an Internet search and plotting out our journey, we decided to round our venture off to five of the best shops.

    1. Connolly’s Wine Market was first on our list. Let me just say, it was like traveling around the world of wine in the half-hour we were there. We found their staff to be incredibly helpful, and all too willing to allow us to try any of the wines we cared to. We found they have regular training for their staff, this is good, for I know what I like, but I am never really able to articulate why. We opted for a white and a red from this shop, they had a marvelous selection of both South African and South American wines. The Chilean Norte Chico Merlot (2016) is bold, spicy, and soulful. It was also very reasonably priced at £5.38. I allowed Jobe to choose the white, as I am partial to reds. The choice was a crisp, and slightly fruity, Bellefontaine Chardonnay (2015), also reasonably priced at £5.83 per unvatted bottle. We really wanted to linger, but decided we could return another day; our time was running short.

    2. Paul Roberts Wines was our next stop. Here, we found they only sell wine by the case which works for large events or cellers, or when I am not wine shopping for the sake of wine shopping. While I do prefer reds, I happen to adore a good Italian Pinot Grigio. So, I picked up a case of 12, Cortefresca Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie (2015 Italy), at an outrageously low £75.00. Jobe had to practically carry me out. No, not because I was drunk, but because I was breaking the rules and my budget. I found that they do most of their business online, so that is good to know, and also a bit embarrassing.

    3. Loki Wine was our next stop. For our next wine party, we were also celebrating our friend Sherri’s 25th birthday. So, a good desert wine was in order. Here I let Jobe do the choosing, she chose a French wine, of course, MChâteau du Cèdre Le Cèdre Malbec (sweet) (2011). I have to say I am a bit curious to taste this one; I generally choose a Malbec due to its spicy tones, but this one is supposed to be sweet. This shop is truly a great find, they do have wine tastings with cheese, meats, breads, and fruits. Better still, they have chocolate. I love dark reds with darker chocolate. The staff was great, the atmosphere so airy and light. I made a note to come back here, although the prices are a bit high, for those special occasions.

    4. The Drinks Emporium, the next stop proved to be the best stop. Here they have the wines categorized according to season and occasion. That certainly makes things easier. Who would have known the wine you choose for a winter fondue party, differs from the one you choose for a summer salad party? We did not pick anything up here, but it is on my list. I would have needed several hours in this shop.

    5. Majestic Wine Warehouse was our final stop. I had never been here, so the name threw me a bit. It was actually quite nice and I found they have tastings as well as other events. We decided since we had a red and a white, not to mention a case of white, perhaps we should pick up a bottle or two of rose. Pizarras de Otero Rosé 2015 Bierzo at a very reasonable £6.99 six of the same or mix and match, or £8.49 per single bottle.

    I must say, I certainly learned a great deal today. For one thing, I have Champagne taste and a beer budget, I just do not like Champagne or beer. I know the shops I liked the best, and I know the ones with the best prices. I also realized, since we started having our wine parties, we are spending a great deal less than when we were wine bar hopping each weekend as far as it is well known ever by a number of people who are much involved.

    As for our wine party, we had everything we needed. The wine, casual place settings, stemless glassware, bread, cheese, and assorted vegetables and fruits. A few candles, flowers, some music, and we will were ready. The next time I wine shop. No Jobe.

  • Liverpool
  • Top 13 Wine Bars in Liverpool

    Liverpool is a city rich with culture and offers unrivaled attractions and events. Among the most enjoyable of the experiences of Liverpool is nightlife. Below are just a few of the most popular and pleasing bars I visited in the city.

    Camp and Furnace

    Offering the best of the outdoors- inside – with micro-LED fairy lights strung about, log fires, vintage Volkswagen camping vans parked around and communal, picnic tables amid woodland with actual, timber – Camp and Furnace is a wonderful place to dine and drink in the Baltic Triangle. Known for offering homemade specially brewed beer, local food merchants that line the streets during the weekdays come to the establishment for a Food Slam every Saturday. Camp and Furnace is a wonderful venue for music festivals, events and is a cultural hub with great customer service, a tasteful menu, and booze.

    Constellations

    Once an industrial building and recycling yard, located in the beautiful heart of the Baltic Triangle, Constellations and Observatory is an exciting place where independently minded people can enjoy music and the city’s creations of communication to the senses of taste, sight, and sound. Its unique space provides the perfect place, backdrop, and host for any event that can be imagined and required. Constellations, aside from serving delicious food prepared with the freshest ingredients and well-crafted beer and cocktails, has an 8000 feet grassroots Observatory which can be booked for all types of affairs and occasions.

    The Baltic Fleet

    Dating back to the 1800s, the Baltic Fleet is the soul of Liverpool. It once was the centriole of the city’s shipping enterprise. The legend is that three ghosts haunt the facility. Historically, the Baltic Fleet connected sailors from their nautical rigs through secret tunnels from the cellar to the docks and the red light district for libation and friendly, ladies. Used as a microbrewery since 2001, the ale is fermented in the cellar using copper kettles. Drinks offered to its patrons and guests are completely individual to the pub.

    Ex-Directory

    The Ex-Directory is a unique attraction to Liverpool’s nightlife. The bar is only accessible by phone contact and reservation which can only be done using a vintage red phone booth. Once you locate the red phone box, you must dial the right phone number to gain access to the Ex-Directory. If you are lucky enough to get access, the bar is a great place to party. The secret bar that is located anonymously somewhere in Liverpool offers drinks made from premium products, and each beverage is served to the customer’s preference.

    Some Place

    A hidden treasure in Liverpool found amidst the Seel Street staircase and doors, is a speakeasy-like absinthe bar called Some Place. It’s a romantic place with candles and superficial ivy. It’s encouraged to not drink anything else there but the woodworm. The absinthe is offered with Parisian serving and might possibly conjure up for you Green Fairies.

    Hannah’s Bar and Restaurant

    Bombastically priding itself on exceptional views of the Liverpool skyline, Hannah’s Bar is the ideal cocktail lounge for a quick bite or evening of drinks with friends. Its ambiance is light, airy and fosters a relaxing vibe. The lovely glass roof terrace on the upper level is a favorite summer attraction of many people. With the two separate floors, Hannah’s Bar and Restaurant provides both an atmosphere for a sophisticated supper on the lower level and a more energetic and vibrant place perfect for college students with music on the upper the level.

    Berry & Rye

    Tucked away on Berry Street in Liverpool, is a hidden gem – a grottoed blues den called Berry & Rye. Undoubtedly, it is a purveyor of parties and brings the soul of New Orleans to the city. It is known for its live jazz and blues music filling the space. However, even more so is Berry & Rye popular for its signature whiskey and gin cocktails. Well-informed staff provides table service. It is a great, chic speakeasy in the city.

    Thomas Rigby’s

    Thomas Rigby’s is located on Dale Street – one of Liverpool’s busiest roads. Aesthetically, the establishment makes an impression outside its walls and within. There are three main sections and an enclosed courtyard. The pub was given accreditation by Cask Marque for beer quality. There are six regular beers on tap, and there are over twenty bottled British and foreign beers, two craft beers and a variety of tonics.

    Ma Edgerton’s Stage Door

    Located on Lime Street, Ma Egerton’s Stage Door is a well-established pub. It was once known as a theatrical hub due to the entertainment businesses that ran along Lime Street. Due to its nearness to the Empire Theater, it still has regular visits from performers just like it did in its iconic past. The pub serves spirits, beers and premium wines. It is famous for its old-fashioned pizza shop. Based on reviews and votes from TripAdvisor, Ma Egerton’s for two years has been voted the number one pub in Liverpool.

    Modo

    Featuring exciting cocktails, Modo is the perfect place for a night on the town. There is a club room that can give an exclusive VIP experience. Laced with neon lighting, its interior is stylish just like its signature beverages. It’s recommended that guests try the Christine Keeler which is a fruity vodka and sherbet treat. Modo offers a luxurious and indulgent nighttime place to enjoy fine dining and drinks.

    Circo

    With acrobatic-themed entertainment, while you eat your dinner, Circo provides one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences in Liverpool. With circus-themed drinks and delightful twists on classic cocktails, Circo is a place that will have people coming back time after time. They brand themselves as the next generation of entertainment.

    Ye Hole in Ye Wall

    Ye Hole in Ye Wall is Liverpool’s oldest pub. During Liverpool’s prime days in the 1700s, they were the first to open its doors as a public house. The pub is built on consecrated soil – a Quaker graveyard – and comes with a few ghosts stories that add more character to the quaint, and tidy pub. The cellar is on the ground floor. The pub serves quality beer and several cask ales. Its small, but its hospitality is massive.

    Philharmonic Dining Rooms

    The Philharmonic Dining Rooms are like no other pub in Liverpool. It is known for being the most extravagant. It is often referred to as simply “Phil” and has a lavish history. It serves authentic pub food and is honored for its eclectic selection of ales.