Seeking out the best champagne bars is Françoise Peretti, director of the Champagne Bureau, who acts as spokesperson for the Comité Champagne (CIVC) in the UK, the organisation established to look after the common interests of wine growers and producers in Champagne. A keen traveller, she loves spotting champagne trends around the globe.
THE EFFERVESCENCE AND SPARKLE of Champagne has always made it the international first wine of choice for celebration, appealing to consumers in both traditional and emerging markets. The British love affair with Champagne continues, with the UK remaining the largest export market for the 16th year running. So it can be no surprise we’ve chosen bars from what is considered the champagne capital of the world, London. But we also want to take curious champagne lovers on a journey of bars from some of Champagne’s new markets.
From NV to vintage to rosés, there is a style for almost every food and occasion. For a Who’s Who list, Texture Champagne Bar is not to be missed. Or, for an alfresco experience at the top of the world, enjoy a glass of rosé at the Xiu Bar at Park Hyatt in Beijing. Those searching for a traditional experience with a twist, recline in a comfortable Chesterfield armchair with a glass of champagne at The Library Bar at Leela Chanakyapuri Palace.
This list of Champagne bars is far from being exhaustive, but is a tribute to how Champagne can transcend cultures and countries. Although the locations range from the spectacular to the surprising, the universal language is Champagne. John Maynard Keynes said: “My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne.” Let’s not repeat history in this instance.
45 PARK LANE, LONDON
The English love story with champagne might have started when aristocrats on both sides of the Channel dashed back and forth dodging the various political upheavals of their respective countries, but it is still going strong today. Last autumn saw the opening of the most glamorous of luxury hotels in the capital: 45 Park Lane, sister hotel of The Dorchester part of Dorchester Collection, and its Bar 45 offers one of the best Champagne lists in London.
Here Champagnes are paired unorthodoxically but deliciously with chef Wolfgang Puck’s small bites, called Rough Cuts – a nod to the delicious super-premium meats on offer both at the bar and the restaurant, including a plate (slider) of three mini-burgers in brioche buns, spicy tuna in crispy wrap or artisanal cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy. A tribute that Champagne transcends cuisines and countries.
TEXTURE CHAMPAGNE BAR, LONDON
While Londoners are spoilt for choice of outstanding bars to enjoy the diversity of Champagne, no Champagne journey is complete without a visit to Xavier Rousset’s Texture Champagne Bar, off Portman Square. The sleek, pale-grey interior, warmed with tender greens and vibrant primary-colour oil paintings, provides the most chic of Champagne venues. Offering some 100 Champagnes by the bottle and by the glass, the dazzling list opens with a well-known quote reminding us Champagne is for all occasions. The list takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey across the region and its multitude of styles from NV to vintage to prestige cuvées, meanders through golden to rosé to blanc de blancs to blanc de noirs, standard or large bottles. This is a Champagne lover’s paradise with Rousset a benevolent and knowledgeable St Peter who holds the key to our beatific happiness.