A BAR FOR EVERY TASTE
A London night out doesn’t have to involve sauntering to the likes of Shoreditch to get your drink on. Fulham has plenty of places to do that. From quirky house party vibes to sophisticated cocktails, Fulham might not be the biggest of areas but its got enough interesting bars to keep your night going and then some.
As always, we’ve visited every recommendation and only list those we – as a group – wholeheartedly enjoyed. Do let us know if you visit any.
WINE BARS IN FULHAM
Ombretta & Ante’s Wine Bar
OUR FAVOURITE WINE BAR IN FULHAM
Wine bars have a history, for me at least, of being very hit-and-miss. Some provide magical experiences filled with love and warmth, while others can – again, for me at least – make you feel uncomfortable. I first thought this feeling of discomfort was a particular trait of mine, but it turns out the other Butlers feel the same way. Wine bars can be stuffy and classist. There, we said it.
I mention this because Ombretta & Ante’s Winehouse is very much the former – a place of warmth, fascinating people and delectable wine. Vagabonds (see below) used to be our top recommendation for vino, but this has fast become our go-to wine bar in Fulham.
Why? First off, Ombretta and Ante are genuinely lovely. You feel as if you’re entering their home and, more importantly, a home they want you to be in; to feel at ease, and to have an unforgettable time. We experienced all three and more.
Ombretta told us the story of how the Winehouse came to be whilst recommending wines based on our tastes – I had a full-bodied beauty; the kind of wine you never seem to be able to source for yourself. As for food, I went for a goulash – this is in the realm of French Onion soup, in that if I ever see it on a menu, I’m going all in. It was so good.
Ombretta, from Milan, studied to become a sommelier, having managed restaurants in the UK. Ante, born in Split, is a trained chef, and from a family that owns bars. The mixture of these skills, not to mention a unique blend of cultures, has resulted in a wine bar that prides itself on Dalmatian boards – think prosciutto, cheese, homage bread, focaccia and pizzas – and a selection of quality Italian and Croatian wine.
If, as we like to think, the ingredients that make a top wine bar are: love, personality, and immense knowledge of wine, Ombretta & Ante’s Winehouse is a recipe you’d pass down through generations. If you can’t tell, we love this place.
To summarise, this is our favourite wine bar in Fulham. A place without pretence, just wonderful people and experiences. Suited for dates, casual drinks and everything in between; for those who want to spend and those who are on a budget. Just go here.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF WINE BAR
Vagabond is on a crusade to become the quirkiest wine bar chain in the country – at the time of writing, it has 11 wine bars to its name. But Fulham is where it all began.
Its reputation for being quirky is a result of its card-dispenser concept: you’re given a card to top up with hard-earned cash (this has now changed to contactless payment), which can then be used to sample over 100 wines, varying in price, by shot or glass, via its unique dispensers. This is particularly useful for newbies / those who are still working out which sort of wine they like. And for those that know their way around the good stuff, it allows you to try even more than you usually would.
The staff are very friendly, knowledgeable, and always on hand to point you in the direction of something that suits your taste (there are tasting notes accompanying the dispensers).
No wine bar would be complete with cheese, and this one is no different: Vagabond boast a cured meat and cheese selection, together with Mediterranean sharing plates to complement your choice(s) of vino.
Vagabond has really established itself – with its unique concept – as a go-to wine bar in Fulham and beyond. It’s one you’ve got to try.
COCKTAIL BARS IN FULHAM
REALLY HAPPY HOURS
Five-hour happy hours, kitsch wallpapers, neon lighting (which we normally hate, but this somehow does it for us), and colourful and varied menus: it’s safe to say Simmons sure as hell isn’t subtle. But, let’s be honest, it doesn’t want to be.
This is very much a marmite cocktail bar: if you’re one for classic cocktails in a sophisticated environment, this isn’t the place for you. But if you’re after a ‘everyone’s welcome, let’s have a good time’ sort of vibe, you’ll love Simmons.
It’s a fun, friendly place that serves cheap cocktails all night long. And with 26 locations across London, they’re clearly doing something right.
Little Blue Door
LIKE BEING AT YOUR BESTIE’S PLACE
Most of us will have experienced being out with friends at a bar, beyond tipsy, having a great time, only to get a sudden wave of wishing you could transport the party back to one of your group’s homes. There’s something about getting drunk in a homely environment that, by its very nature, is not usually achievable in a bar setting. Enter, The Little Blue Door.
The unassuming blue door on Fulham Road is one you’ve got to open. Beyond it? A house party. Not the awkward kind, but one that is memorable for the right reasons; the kind I always wanted to go to when I was younger, but unfortunately The Inbetweeners could’ve been a documentary on my early years.
The bar is exactly as we describe: like someone’s flat. You enter the ‘sitting room’, filled with inviting sofas, cushions and cute little nick-nacks. Here, drinks flow and conversations fill the air. Talking of drinks, the team at Little Blue Door know a thing or two about mixology – we went for a round of Crimes of Passion (oh hello, passion fruit) and, lord, were they good. The cocktail menu is centred on film titles – we each had 3 different cocktails, and every one went down a storm.
The sitting room is just one part of this Fulham cocktail bar, with ‘the study’ offering a Prosecco vending machine (because why the hell not?), pool, and a chance to beat your friends at Mario Kart. It’s a unique concept and one that is executed perfectly.
We haven’t mentioned the food as we’re yet to give that a go, but we’ve heard great things (particularly brunch). So, though we can’t vouch for that, we can certainly vouch for it being one of the most original and popular cocktail bars in Fulham. In fact, way beyond Fulham.
The interior of Brook House is stunning – when we were hunting for pubs in the area, we didn’t expect this. This place has sophistication running through it’s veins: it’s akin to something you’d expect from a fine-dining restaurant.
As for its cocktail selection, bacon-infused Bloody Marys are a thing, and all the classics are on the list. Espresso Martinis? Of course.
All in all, this is a place of beautiful interior, elegance, and class.
To read a more in-depth review, see our favourite pubs in Fulham list.
SPORTS BARS IN FULHAM
Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill
GENUINE SPORTING ATMOSPHERE
First of all, this is at Stamford Bridge stadium. The reason we mention this is that though it’s a sports bar in Fulham, and one that shows far more than just Chelsea FC matches, it’s at Chelsea FC HQ, so expect Chelsea fans. Lots of them.
The bar boasts over 16 large screens showing everything from football, NFL, cricket, rugby and more. If there’s a big sporting event on, Frankie’s is showing it.
We’ve had mixed experiences with the food here – one time, a banging burger; the next, a not-so-banging burger. Our recommendation is based on having drinks with friends whilst watching sports. The drinks menu is vast (Guinness lovers, rejoice) and table seating aplenty.
All in all, this is a quality sports bar for doing the thing it says on the tin: drinking and watching sports (with Chelsea fans).
CRAFT BEER HEAVEN
Welcome to craft beer heaven. Wolfpack is a brewery, founded by two former professional rugby players, with a growing number of pubs to its name. This means two things: 1) the beer selection is in the upper echelons of beer selections and 2) they love sport, so they show sport.
Be it football, rugby, golf, you name it – if there’s a game on, the screens (and projector) are showing it.
Although not strictly a sports bar, Wolfpack is one of our favourite sports bars in Fulham.
See a more detailed review of Wolfpack here.
We’ve got an entire piece dedicated to our favourite pubs in Fulham, so if you’re after pubs, check that out. Our list includes:
- The White Horse
- The Eight bells
- The Harwood Arms
- Brook House
- The Chelsea Pensioner
- Captain Cook
- The Durrell Arms
- Kings Arms
- Fox & Pheasant
As always, let us know of your experiences and if there are any Fulham bars we need to review.
And if you’re going out on the town, check out our personal recommendations for Fulham hotels; brunch in Fulham (the booze will need soaking up, after all); and if you’re needing a bit of grooming ahead of your BNO, one of our Butlers went on a Fulham barber crusade and jotted down his experiences. Have a good one.