The Sign of the Don

Address: 21 St. Swithins Lane, London, EC4N 8AD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7626 2606
Website: View bar's website
Door: Open door
Style: Wine bar
Recommended for: Wine
Price guide: High-end
Food: Plates & dishes
Established: 2013
Owned by: Robert and Robyn Wilson (husband-and-wife)

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Review Words by Jane Ryan on 06-Nov-2013

The younger sibling of the long established The Don Restaurant next door, this venue boasts a strong wine list and big punchy cocktails. It's housed in medieval vaults once used by the Sandeman Port and Sherry family as cellars. A now blocked tunnel allowed barrels to be rolled from boats moored on the Thames directly into the vaults.

On the ground floor a spacious modern lounge has a plain wooden layout and a stunning bar carved from a solid slab of cork. Its surface is made from port-imbued chestnut reclaimed from old Sandeman Port vats, linking in with the history of the site. Beneath the bar is a bistro with a casual layout and a less formal approach to food than its parent site. An impressive installation of a large corkscrew made from sheets of metal makes clear this is a contemporary slant on a theme rich with heritage.

Whilst the menu in the bar focuses on wine, the cocktails are not to be missed and there's a notable presence of gin on the back-bar. Divided between aperitifs, indulgences, digestives and sparkling drinks the style is typically short and stirred down using nutty or fresh flavours. The punchier drinks balance aged spirits with vermouths and fermented wines.

The atmosphere is on the quieter side but pleasant enough.

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