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161 Food And Drink, SE26 4QJ

Wine bar in a single-unit shop space on Kirkdale in Sydenham.

With mismatched furniture (some table tops are recycled wooden doors), 25 people could squeeze in, maybe 30 shoulder-to-shoulder (there's no outside seating). There are bare boards on the floor and cream coloured walls. Note that they have limited opening hours.

Though primarily a wine bar, they also do food plus some beers and spirits. However, they do seem genuinely keen on the wine side of things, with dedicated wine tasting sessions. They also sell wine by the case ("you may need to haggle", says a board). Rowley Birkin QC visited on a Thursday evening in late August 2019; there were 5-6 other customers at first (7pm-ish), later increasing to 15-20 during a wine tasting session. However, Rowley was only here for the beer, sticking with their table beer (£4.80/pint, from The Kernel, no further info apparent) which he found a very good session beer.

Food. They do snacks and sharing/tasting plates (e.g., kimchi £4, nocellara olives £3.50, hummus + crackers £5.50, charcuterie £18), and more substantial things (e.g., veggie broth+rice noodles £9, chicken mansaf + salad £13). Rowley didn't try any himself, but it looked appetising and prepared from scratch.

Music is at a moderate level (this reviewer doesn't get music, but to him it appeared more tasteful and sophisticated, from a variety of genres, and not mindless pop). There's apparently WiFi (didn't grasp the password). The toilet is down in the basement (door's unmarked: when you get to the foot of the stairs, it's the one to the right).

Child-friendliness: Perhaps not that suitable for children, though their website says they "welcome well-behaved dogs and children". I have seen a one/two-year-old in, but there are no high chairs, and nothing for older children to do. However, there is a baby changing tray in the toilet.

Accessibility: a step to get in (15cm?), but otherwise level except for the toilet which is downstairs.

Rowley Birkin QC's verdict: I like this place (been a couple of times now), even though I'm only here for the beer (in spite of the limited range). Good ambience, friendly (I feel comfortable here), they work hard to make this place work and I get the feeling they know what they're doing.

See also:

Last visited by Rowley Birkin QC, August 2019. Opening hours taken from the entrance door, August 2019.
OS X co-ord: 534995 OS Y co-ord: 172006 (Latitude: 51.430983 Longitude: -0.059480)
Last edited 2019-09-01 16:44:33 (version 2; diff). List all versions.