Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bar review: THE WINE STORES (King’s Cross)

Such is my addiction to Groupon deals, I felt the need to test out a wine bar I’ve not visited before  using a voucher that apparently promised bottomless Prosecco and a meat (or cheese) platter for 90 minutes.

Given that the monetary value of the deal was £29, I knew it wouldn’t be the best Prosecco ever. But calling what they served us ‘Prosecco’ would be too generous; indeed, they weren’t even doing that in the bar, instead listing it as ‘Bubbles’ (bubbles of what?)

The USP of this bar is that all the wines and fizz were served on tap rather than coming from bottles. The fact that these drinks came in kegs had me wondering where they were buying these massive kegs from. It certainly didn’t instil me with confidence about the alcohol’s quality.

Needless to say, the meat platter was absolute tosh, but the main draw of the deal was bottomless Prosecco rather than the food, so I won’t mark them down too harshly for that.

The Prosecco they served us was the lowest priced of all the drinks being served on tap, £12 per 500ml. This meant that in order to claw back the money I’d spent on the Groupon voucher, we had to have at least three bottles of it between us (one 500ml serving is pictured above). 

We had four, so on that front we succeeded, but given how sick we made ourselves after (and I’ve over-drunk Prosecco in the past and never had that bad a hangover, leading me to suspect the ‘quality’ of the drink), it rendered our victory a fatuous one.

I have two further gripes about the usability of the deal; I feel the vendors were purposely obtuse to a) make the deal as difficult to redeem as possible and b) mislead the buyer into believing that they had more flexibility with the deal than they really did.

Below is the fine print portion of the voucher with the number you’re supposed to dial to book your sitting. 

I rang it twice, both times being told there wasn’t such a number in the directory. So I had to go on The Wine Stores’ webpage and find their new telephone number and book using that. I found this, at best, negligent, and, at worst, sketchy. It was almost as if the managers hoped people who tried the fake number, after finding it didn’t work, would give up, so giving The Wine Stores a free £29. I’m a tad more persistent than that, sorry2say.

The second part that is flat-out false advertising is the part where it lists all the times where the Groupon deal is valid. It lists a wide range of times, yet, when I booked, with a time in mind (3:30pm), they said ‘we do the bottomless Prosecco from 5pm’. So it’s not eligible for all the times they claim. I would have been totally fine with 5pm if they had stipulated that on the small print. But by raising my hopes with a much more generous window, all they did was disappoint me.

Overall, the best thing about this bar is its close proximity to King’s Cross station. It’s probably due to having such a cushy location that makes them think they can offer shady, duplicitous deals for fake Prosecco and get away with it. Not on my watch, sunshine. Not on my watch.

Grade: D

I brave bars like The Wine Stores so you don’t have to. Check out my other bar reviews here. I’ve been to some good ones, promise.

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