You can find East London’s only urban winery by turning into a narrow alley with used furniture piled high on either side (making it feel all the more narrow). Continue beyond the armchairs and dressers and you’ll find yourself at the coolest little enclave: Renegade London Wine. After the tunes spilling out of the speakers and warm candlelight beckons you in, their top-notch wines will keep you around (their English sparkling wine is some of the best bubbles I’ve ever had). Here, founder Warwick Smith—who left a career in finance to open Renegade—shares some of his favorite spots around London:
KQ: Where would you put up friends visiting from out of town?
WS: London hotels are nice but expensive, so I'd probably tell them to book an Airbnb somewhere interesting.
Katie Quinn: Where do you head for a casual meal?
Warwick Smith: Best cheap meal in London is at Falafel and Shawarma in Camberwell. I get the chicken wrap for £3.5. Incredible! The lunch set menu at Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly is brilliant, too. Kricket is amazing, as is som saa. London does Asian food really well (and I lived in Asia for nearly 10 years).
KQ: Where would you send folks for a celebratory dinner out?
WS: I'm a bit over super-fine dining, so I'd send them for really good, wholesome, solid cooking. I was impressed with Brat recently. I also love som saa and Smokestak. These are all Central-East. If you wanted more West End, then Sketch is pretty spectacular.
KQ: Where do you go for a proper cup of coffee or tea?
WS: I don't think any Brit would go out for tea. (Do they?) Homemade Builder's tea is best. For coffee, I like Rapha Cycle Club in Soho and I like Allpress on Redchurch Street. If I'm near the winery, I'd go to Second Shot.
KQ: What’s the spot in town with the best late-night eats? What’s the thing to order?
WS: Lahore Kebab House is a great spot and it's B.Y.O.B., so buy some Renegade wine and take it along. The curries are great and the lamb chops are ace, too.
KQ: What’s the dish everyone should try once when visiting London?
KQ: Is there a museum or cultural activity you really love in the area?
WS: I am really not a museum or gallery person. I love art and music but I don't really like the traditional spaces...I'd rather just go to a gig!
KQ: What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday or Sunday in town?
WS: Wandering around, eating and drinking. Just wander and pop in places.
KQ: Where can folks find the best view in town?
KQ: What’s the best souvenir from London?
WS: Well, I would take Renegade London Wine home to wherever you live and show people how progressive and amazing urban craft wine can be!
KQ: What’s the thing people shouldn’t leave your city without trying/doing?
WS: In the summer, go to a lido and have a picnic in the parks. In the winter, just eat and drink at non-touristy places. In spring, walk in the parks. In autumn, probably just eat and drink, too.
What are your favorite London spots? Tell us in the comments below!