I think I’m in love. No, not with the cute guy who serves me coffee (although World, if you could let me say just one witty, non-idiotic, thing to him that would be GREAT), but with a rather lovely little wine bar on Hackney Road. It is perfect and when I think about it, which is often, 90s boy band ballads inexplicably start playing in my head. I want to lose myself in its warm embrace for hours, I want to show it off to all of my friends, and maybe even, oh gosh, take it to meet my parents. I think it might be *whispers* The One. Yep, I’ve got it bad.
It’s name is Sager & Wilde, and it was opened a few months ago by Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde after a successful pop-up last year at the Bird & Ballard.
It ticks all my wine bar boxes. It’s the equivalent of a witty, kind boy who can make beds and drives with straight strong arms (just me? Oh). To start with it’s very handsome in a relaxed, ruffled shirt and messy hair hair sort of way. The overhanging lights and flickering candles cast a warm glow over the bare brick walls, reclaimed industrial fittings, and beautiful long tiled bar. It’s the sort of place you want to stay in all night.
Then there’s the wine list. It’s small, but perfectly formed (ok, the perfect boyfriend analogy does fall down here). It’s an eccentric mix of well-regarded classics (white Burgundies and riojas) , and some fresher, more interesting choices (a lovely light Jura and some whites from more unusual parts of France). They are all available by the glass so you can afford to experiment without making a big financial commitment (glasses range from £5 to £14.50). But what I really loved was how the waitress choose to describe the wines I queried her about. Rather than relying on standard lines about structure and tannins, she instead described how the wines would feel in your mouth – ‘lively and filling’ or ‘light and smooth’. It’s nice to find a place that wears its wine pedigree so lightly. The wine list has clearly been put together with a great deal of care and expertise, but rather than intimidating, it just feels like a pair of safe, strong hands.
The small menu is made up of the type of food you actually want to eat when drinking – grilled cheese toasties (£6.50), charcuterie (£10 for a board), cheeses (£3 each or £10 for a board), and nibbly bits. Everything we tried was delicious, particularly the crisp on the outside and ozzy in the middle toastie. Sager & Wilde has the balls to serve food they know people will want without feeling the need to fancy it all up, and I really really liked that.
But just like the perfect man, it didn’t just tick all my boxes, it had that something extra that makes a place really special. I arrived after a long day, a bit tired and grouchy, fighting the urge to go home and snuggle up with my hot water bottle and Sky TV remote. But within 15 minutes I was my best possible dinner date self. My friend and I sat in Sager & Wilde for hours, just chatting and sipping, and munching and when I think back on that time now I get a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach *blushes*.
Now I don’t want to be one of those girls who rambles on and on about how wonderful the love of her life is (I HATE those girls), so I think you should just go and see for yourself. I’m more than happy to share, just don’t get too close.