If you promise not to tell anybody else, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, Do I have your word? OK. You may have spotted that a sprawling Italian marketplace called Mercato Metropolitano has popped up in a disused paper factory in Elephant & Castle (or “Sobo” – South of Borough) opposite the Southwark Playhouse. It’s rather wonderful – there’s a brilliant Italian beer bar, numerous delicious food stalls, a supermarket, and even a Backyard Cinema outpost, but that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. No – what you need to do is walk past all the bright yellow seating and tempting displays and look for the word Enoteca, a little neon sign that will guide you in to a clandestine wine bar called Bottles and Battles.
It’s got a totally different vibe to the rest of Mercato Metropolitano, with low ceilings, candles, and unique design and lighting touches all over. Once you are inside the cosy den, you’ll forget what time of day it is and start working your way down the affordable wine list (with a cheese and salumi board on the side for good measure). There’s no bar for staff to hide behind, so they ghost around the large central table, keeping everyone happy with suggestions, tasters and topups. And if there’s anything that you particularly love, you can pick a bottle up from the wooden crates that line the walls and buy it to take home. Or just stay another hour, it’s probably still light outside. See you there – and remember, don’t tell anyone.
Mercato Metropolitano – www.mercatometropolitano.co.uk