As soon as you step inside Popina you know you’re somewhere a little special. Popina is dimly lit, with gorgeous booths, quirky art, and cosy romantic corners – perfect for date night or a catch-up with pals. I met two friends here for a well-overdue catch-up over a bottle of wine and the vibe was spot on.
As you’d expect for a wine bar, the wine list is extensive but not too overwhelming. You can order by the glass, carafe, or bottle and bottle prices start from £28.
We shared a bottle of Spanish wine – Estay (£45 for the bottle) made from 100% Prieto Pricudo grape. Our server was super clued up on the wine, decanting it for us and explaining the differing flavours we’d notice depending on how long we waited before we drank. As you may expect, we didn’t wait long (3 gals and wine, what do you expect?) but it definitely developed and strengthened in flavour as the evening progressed (check me out, saying fancy things about wine. Who do I think I am?!)
We shared the cheese board (£20) which includes 5 cheeses, sliced sourdough, crackers, and a pepper relish. The menu includes a map of Italy at the back so you can see where all the cheese and meats served are from, so deffo recommend holding onto the menu after ordering to have a little snoop.
This place really feels like an escape – after a few hours of chatting I almost forgot I was in Oxford! It feels like a hidden gem that could be down a backstreet in London or Paris.
Oxford is of course full of gorgeous pubs, but it was nice to go somewhere that feels a little different and on the swanky side, with staff who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to wine.
“We are excited to give our customers the chance to taste grape varieties that don’t make the cut to most wine lists,” said co-owner and General Manager Joe Hutton. “For example, if you are a Merlot drinker, our sommelier Péter Fekete can point you to a discovery wine with a similar flavour profile and suggest meat and cheese pairings that will surprise your palate.”
I’m told they’ll be getting some new reds in for the winter, so naturally I’ll be returning ASAP to try them – would be rude not to?!
Let us know if you go and what you think!
Popina by Lynrace
67 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AG
Bitten were invited as guests of Popina, all views are our own