Top 10 Champagne hangouts13th March, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
While Champagne is facing increasingly fierce competition from the sparkling wine sector, particularly from fizz of the moment, Prosecco, there are signs that the region is fighting back.
Contributing to its revival in the on-trade are specialist bars and the resurgence of the Champagne cocktail. According to on-trade specialists CGA Strategy, while sparkling wine has grown to occupy a 52% volume share of fizz sales in UK restaurants, bars and hotels, Champagne is seeing +4.4% volume growth on a year ago, and is tracking ahead of the sparkling wine category as a whole.
At the centre of the action, London is becoming increasingly divided into sites selling the grandes marques and those specialising in grower Champagne. Last year saw the opening of two dedicated Champagne bars in the capital – Bubbledogs in Fitzrovia and Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden – with both choosing to focus on grower Champagne rather than grandes marques.
In London and New York, both of which have remained relatively bulletproof from the recession, consumers are continuing to trade up to Champagne with a treat culture having emerged on the nights when people do decide to hit the town, but in order to get the attention of today’s savvy, value-conscious consumers, the grandes marques are having to roar louder and shine brighter.
To coincide with the annual CIVC tasting in London today, read on for our pick of the top 10 Champagne bars in the UK capital and beyond.