Françoise Peretti: The World's Best Champagne Bars

02 July, 2013


Hardly a trainspotters’ place, Searcy’s Champagne Bar St Pancras is certainly the ultimate destination Champagne Bar. Dubbed the ‘longest Champagne bar in the world’, it has quickly and firmly established itself as a favourite with trans-Channel commuters but also with locals who live and work in this spectacularly regenerated neighbourhood. The Champagne offering – by the bottle and by the glass – would be a feat to match and opens up a frothy sea of tasting opportunities. Searcy’s food expertise shines with innovative Champagne and small bites pairings. The magnificent setting makes it a must. This is a truly fabulous Champagne experience and a magnificent tribute to the enduring love of the British for Champagne. The huge success of the destination/champagne concept has led Searcys to open four more Champagne bars around London.



A few months ago, as I was travelling to Munich, the limited conversation (due to not speaking a word of German) I managed to have with the taxi driver was about tennis as he pointed out a neighbourhood where Boris Becker had once lived. The other valuable piece of information was the scribbled name of a Champagne bar – proof that Champagne is a universal language even in a capital of beer. That night I visited Goldene Bar, an award-winner with a well-appointed Champagne list. The feel at Goldene Bar is post-modern – sort of Bauhaus meets Mies van der Rohe. Champagne is sipped lounging on soft tan leather sofas or sturdy dark leather and steel armchairs. Striking light streaming from a monumental central chandelier with giant hand-blown drops of light gives attractive honey hues that match the golden Champagne.  


While in Milan… do as the locals do and head for the seldom-visited but so typical Milanese-style souk that is Chinatown. There, amid bustling crowds and buildings, you will find the Cantine Isola, a tiny, friendly, inclusive cantina in the pure Italian tradition. Run by the son of the second owner (the first was the eponymous Signore Isola who opened this gem in 1896), Luca Sarais, you will be transported back several decades. Among the bottles that litter the shelves, spot a large array of Champagne NV and V that can all be sampled by the bottle and the glass, matched with superb local artisan cold cuts and cheese. Maybe not the most obvious place to drink Champagne. But don’t be fooled – owner and staff at this ultra-friendly enoteca will provide sound advice in the most endearing manner. 



Opened in August 2012, this is the most recent addition to the already buoyant Sydney Champagne scene. From the 30-plus Champagne list to the statement graphics on the wall, One Moncur Champagne Bar exudes champagne. In addition to the impressive list, six Champagnes by-the-glass are selected on a rotational basis, giving customers the opportunity to taste champagne diversity and a good reason to come back. The airy, contemporary, saffron-coloured space is very much reminiscent of New York. Velvet upholstered Louis XV armchairs sit next to traditional dark wood bar stools and beige banquettes, making the room warm and convivial. It is fun, accessible and varied. Local food such as native oysters, artisanal charcuterie and homemade chocolates are paired with Champagne. Sommeliers’ guidance is expert and friendly. This is a place to learn about Champagne but, most of all, to enjoy it with friends. 

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Tess Posthumus

Talking the challenges of cocktail weeks

Having recently returned from the US visiting both Oakland and Arizona Cocktail Weeks I was amazed by the differences in approach. In Oakland there was a much bigger trade focus and it felt more relaxed, whereas in Arizona it was one massive party for consumers.