It has been over two months since restaurants, pubs and bars were permitted to reopen to the public, but it appears the newest Government restriction is destined to set the hospitality back a step, with a 10pm curfew coming into place across England as of Thursday 24 September.
This comes as a particularly large blow to venues that rely on the late-night drinking trade, as well as restaurants that offer tables well into the evening. However, for those that offer take-away services of bottles, beers and cocktails, the curfew provides a new USP; diners can enjoy a meal out, and when the times comes to pack up and leave, they can purchase a bottle to take with them and carry the merriment on at home – safely within their social bubble of six, of course.
Wine bar-turned-shops are nothing new to the restaurant scene; the likes of Forza Win in Peckham, south London, Ten Green Bottles in Brighton, and outposts of Humble Grape around the capital have laid the groundwork for the format to pop up all over the country. The pandemic, however, has led to a number of restaurants to also start selling their bottles to enjoy at home. Here are a few of our favourites to try out.
Anna Hedworth’s dreamy Ouseburn bistro was one of the first to be hit with a 10pm curfew in a local lockdown. Luckily, her shop and deli, set up during lockdown, is fully stocked with wines, beers and home-made cocktails and soft drinks for diners to take home.
Foundry Lane Studios, Foundry Ln, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LH; cookhouse.org
The Patricia, Newcastle
Another restaurant hit early on by the introduction of a 10pm curfew, this sleek Jesmond restaurant was quick to make it known that although last seating would have to be 7:45pm to allow diners time to enjoy the full six-course tasting menu, bottles of wine would be available to take home for the merriment to continue. The restaurant even offers to doggy-bag the rest of your meal should you wish to leave early, allowing you to enjoy the rest of the menu, with your purchased bottle, at home.
139 Jesmond Rd, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1JY; the-patricia.com
Shop Cuvée, London
A lockdown project that turned into a bricks-and-mortar shop, Highbury’s Top Cuvée has recently opened Shop Cuvée, situated just around the corner from the popular neighbourhood haunt. Having set up an online store selling natural wine and store-cupboard goodies in March as a way to keep business going, founders Bodie Meah and Max Venning were shocked to see orders coming in from as far as Inverness, prompting them to keep the shop going when the restaurant was eventually permitted to open.
Browse in-store or visit its website for a huge range of natural wines, ciders, beers and alcohol-free options; the shop even offers a three- or six-bottle monthly subscription service from £55 per month.
177B Blackstock Road, London N5 2LL; shopcuvee.com
If it’s a post-dinner cocktail you’re after, the Berenjak Bazaar could provide you with a solution. Modelled on the hole-in-the-wall eateries of Tehran, this Persian restaurant in London’s Soho developed a range of cocktails to be sold to passers-by through its hatch. With the restaurant now open once more, diners can still buy a 750ml bottle of watermelon shume-pine or pouches of its cherry Manhattan to be enjoyed at home, as well as specially selected wines from Turkey, Georgia and Armenia.
27 Romilly Street Soho, London W1D 5AL; berenjaklondon.com
Exploding Bakery, Exeter
This quirky bakery, cafe, pop-up venue and, as of late, wine shop, allows customers to pop in for a cup of Round Hill Roastery coffee and a slice lumberjack cake (their signature bake, and a must-have when visiting), and leave with a bottle of beaujolais. As the cafe hosts a number of evening pop-ups from local chefs, it is fully licenced and doesn’t charge corkage, meaning you can even open a bottle in the cafe for a glass, and pop the cork back in to take home.
1 & 2 The Crescent, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3SB; explodingbakery.com
Prairie Fire, London
This Kansas-City BBQ restaurant and taproom in White City was gearing up to extend its opening hours past 10pm when the news of the nationwide curfew hit. In response, it now provides growlers for diners to fill from one of its 16 regularly changing taps, as well as a huge range of bottles and cans available to take home after indulging in pulled pork sandwiches and loaded fries.
Arches 88-89 Wood Lane Archways London W12 7LH; prairiefirebbq.com
The Fox and Hounds, Hertfordshire
When pubs and restaurants were ordered to close, owners James and Bianca Rix transformed the terrace of their award-winning pub into a pop-up shop, selling local beers, wines and gin next to their legendary sausage rolls, home-made pasta sauces and deli treats. Such was its success that the pair have moved the shop inside the pub, allowing diners to peruse their extensive offering and take home a bottle or two after their meal.
High St, Hunsdon, Ware SG12 8NH; foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk
Perhaps the first thing you spot when you enter this low-key gem nestled in London’s Borough Market is the impressive wall of (mostly natural) wines, available by the glass, bottle, and now, to take home with you after snacking on small plates in the candle-lit dining room. The restaurant currently only offers wines to take away, though plans are being put in place for a range pre-mixed cocktails to be sold next to the extensive range of sparkling, red, white and orange wines.
12 Stoney Street, London, SE1 9AD; elliots.london
Ex-St John chef Chris Gillard’s brand new residency at The Hoxton Hotel in Holborn has taken his takeaway wine bottle service a step further. At Rondo, diners can end their meal by purchasing a refillable glass bottle with one of the several wines available on tap.
199-206 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD thehoxton.com
The Black Swan, Oldstead and Roots, York
Both Tommy Banks’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Black Swan, and his farm-to-table York restaurant Roots, now offer some fantastic bottles from his ‘Made in Oldstead’ shop, established during the lockdown. Not only this, but as of October 1 diners looking to take something extra special home can buy one of his beautifully bottled cocktails – choose from a spiced rum old fashioned, blackcurrant leaf martini or bramble negroni – or take home all three.
The Black Swan, Oldstead, York, North Yorkshire YO61 4BL; blackswanoldstead.co.uk
Roots York, 68 Marygate, York YO30 7BH; rootsyork.com
The King’s Arms, Cornwall
When restaurants were asked to close on March 20, Helen and Kris Nathan wasted no time in converting their harbour-side pub into a bread and wine shop, increasing their range of bottles from 10 to 100. Though the pub has reopened with reduced hours, the shop remains, allowing revellers to buy a bottle or two after enjoying a pint and a fresh lobster in the pub.
17 Fore Street, Mevagissey , Cornwall PL26 6UQ; kingsarmsmeva.com