I was recently discussing with a friend that with Brighton’s ever growing food and drink scene, it can be difficult to determine where to check out as a priority. However, this occasion in particular was a no brainer, as you only need to mention the words ‘prohibition’, ‘wine’ and ‘cocktails’ and I’m there. This can be confirmed by the fact I have now been to twice in the few days it has been open.
L’Atelier Du Vin, is the latest addition to the North Laine bar scene, with its ‘secret door’ located by Grow40 in Kensington Gardens. As you walk up the stairs and step into the dimly lit yet beautifully decorated attic room, alive with the hum of people having a good time and soft jazz music playing, you really could believe you were stepping into a different era. The place has a intimate and cosy feel to it; you could easily pop up for ‘a glass of wine’ and find yourself spending an entire evening up here – and I say this from experience!
The bar has an extensive wine and spirits list, with bottles well into the hundreds, but is also extremely reasonable and accessible with wines and spirits by the glass starting just over £4 – a bargain for anywhere is Brighton but especially when the atmosphere and ambience is so spot on. It’s also now home to the city’s biggest wine selection, which is a hell of a claim.
The cocktail menu is classically inspired and, unusually, is organised chronologically from when the cocktails were first made. On one of my visits, I sampled an Old Fashioned that had been aged in a wine barrel for two years. Predictably, it’s divine – but it’s certainly not for the faint hearted.
While it is clear that the main focus of the space is the drinks, the team has created a small, well-paired menu offering a delicious selection of cheese and charcuterie to compliment the wine and cocktails. I have to admit I was lucky enough to try almost the entire menu and was not disappointed by anything. They also offer amazing Wagyu steak sourced locally from Trenchmore Farm and reinforcing the home from home philosophy, even presenting regulars with a personalised steak knife to use on each visit.
I almost didn’t want to write anything about how lovely this place is, as with its limited space I can imagine it won’t be long after word gets out that it becomes difficult to get a table. However, in the spirit of honesty, I would certainly recommend a visit. Just book first to avoid disappointment.
L’Atelier Du Vin is at 40B Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL. Tel: 01273 690534.