Thursday, Oct. 02, 2008

7. Berry Bros. & Rudd

The poet Lord Byron was just one of many patrons of Berry Bros. & Rudd who submitted to a public weighing on one of the shop's giant coffee scales. "Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter/Sermons and soda water the day after," wrote Byron. Britain's oldest wine merchant and sometime coffee seller set up shop here on St James's Street in 1698, and remains one of the world's leading purveyors of fine wine. Despite its pedigree, it's not snobbish. Staff happily expound on the virtues of the cheaper wines and spirits they sell, alongside the rarest vintages. If you can't get to the original shop, there are branches in Dublin, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a factory outlet in Basingstoke, south of London.