You may remember a certain level of gushing about Sager & Wilde in our recent Take 5, Wine Bar feature. Well, we want to do it again. In fact, we might make it a weekly occurrence. It is, quite simply, one of those places you never ever want to shut up about. Only six months old, Sager & Wilde has been born into a hostile environment. Thankfully we’re long past the time when a discreet doorway and dim lighting was all that was needed to garner critical acclaim. Sadly, jaded as we’ve become, the mere mention of an unassuming wine-bar on Hackney road is now met with a cacophony of eye-rolls. We have now got ourselves to a point where there is little a bar can do to avoid being ferociously dissembled by an army of prospective Vice writers. It is this sad fact that makes Sager & Wilde just so impressive because, despite the general cynicism that pervades East London, it seems to be universally adored. That kind of achievment requires perfect pitching. And that is what Sager & Wilde is; perfectly pitched. It is one of the best looking bars in London replete with a bar-top of Victorian cast iron and glass brick pavement insets. Despite this it avoids the common fault of being twee or quaintly retro. Another common fault of wine bars particularly, but more recently also overly-earnest cocktail bars, is a convoluted menu. The wine list rarely exceeds a dozen red and a dozen white; ample choice without being overwhelming. The staff are happy to walk customers through the list despite the fact that the bar is never less than heaving. In fact, therein lies Sager & Wilde’s greatest strength, it exudes calm even when every pocket of a space is crammed with adoring customers.
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