One of London’s standout lockdown restaurant success stories — Top Cuvée in Highbury — has announced that it will open its second new site in less than a year, in part owing to its successes on social media and in real life as a grocer, provisioner, and wine deliverer throughout the pandemic. Its sharp adaptability, pivoting, and willingness to deliver to its local community put the brand alongside the likes of Ombra and Hill & Szrok
Owners Brodie Meah and Max Venning who opened the first site in Highbury in early 2019 will open the new shop, tasting and events venue, and Paris-inspired “secret wine bar” called Cave Cuvée at 250 Bethnal Green Road this August, according to the Evening Standard. It comes after the duo first capitalised on their lockdown success with the opening of a dedicated wine shop and deli last autumn when Shop Cuvée opened on Blackstock Road.
On Instagram, Top Cuvée announced, a little tongue-in-cheek, that the new site would feature a checklist of the things for which it has become so well-known: “Cartoon branding, a basement bar, small plates, local delivery, wine on tap, hipster staff, mezcal negronis, artisanal water, online shopping, wine with cool labels.”
Meah said that “bringing Shop Cuvée to a new audience in Bethnal Green is beyond exciting...Cave Cuvée is something new for us as a group, a project every wine person dreams of open an actually good wine bar — it’s as much for us as our guests.”
The closure of London’s “original” natural wine bar notwithstanding, wine caves, shops, and cafe-delis appear to be the order of the day post-reopening. After the success of Cafe Deco in Bloomsbury last winter, Hector’s opened in De Beauvoir last month, while the eagerly awaited Cafe Cecilia will open in Hackney later this summer.
Although the staffing crisis brought on by Brexit and the pandemic is causing all sorts of problems for restaurants, any increases in export prices following Britain’s split with the EU has not yet impacted Londoners’ thirst for wine.