The latest establishment from the guys at the award-winning wine bar, Vagabond, has arrived south of the river! Located at number 4 Northcote Road, their fourth independent wine bar and shop, already has a lively weekend scene and gathered enough momentum to insert itself firmly in our lists of places to go in Clapham Junction – Not even Google street view has caught up! Whether you’re a red or a white drinker, you’ll be sure to discover plenty of great wines here that you never knew about. So what makes Vagabond stand out from the other great wine bars of London? Their 100-stong wine list is available on tap (that’s right…on tap) and can be sampled (25ml), bought by the glass or by the bottle. This is where your top up card comes into play. Brilliantly their website says, “It’s like an Oyster card, except you get wine and it doesn’t go on strike”. Exactly! Once you have one of these you imply insert the card into the machine and choose which wine to sample and enjoy. You can simply taste away like crazy for the night or, like me, find one you enjoy (a nice Austrian red) and, well, enjoy!

After hearing so much about Vagabond, the Mrs and I ventured there for ‘a quiet Saturday night out’. We arrived about 8 o’clock and joined the buzzy yet chilled crowd that had formed. A few tables to stand at directly inside makes it quite a cozy little place so easy to make small talk with everyone and discuss how we all feel like children in a candy store. We topped 20 pounds onto our first card and were away! We sampled several great reds, found which we enjoyed the most, sorted a couple of glasses and perched up on the couches outside. The heaters were needed unfortunately. We were instantly chatting with people on either side of us and it wasn’t long before we had that nice neighbourhood feel which is so custom to places in and around the south. The patio at the back was also mostly full, which provided a great atmosphere. Reservations are accepted for those of you who don’t want to miss out on a space but if there are only 2-3 of you, walking in will be fine. We didn’t eat on this occasion but there is a menu with a few smaller plate options to have if needed, although with all the wine to sample it might be a good idea if they were to provide free bread sticks around the place. Most people we talked to on the night (myself included) thought it was odd to see beer available at a wine bar but it does provide another option for the non-wine drinkers…at a wine bar.

If you’re searching for a new wine to include with dinner, a quiet night out or to possibly make new friends, Vagabond needs to be high on the list. It’s a great night at this little red (or white) gem and it continues to be a highly recommended place to visit or to return to again. Cheers!