Concierges' Guide to London: Shopping: Wines, Spirits, Cigars & Specialty Foods

  • Compiled by Lisa Sweetingham, Jennifer Ryan, Bruce Wallin, and Amanda Millin

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ALLENS OF MAYFAIR Oft-touted as the "best butcher in the whole of London," this "traditional" shop in Mayfair "specializes in beef and game." "Most of the top restaurants use this butcher," but walk-in customers are welcome. Also offers butchery classes. (AD, GM) +44.20.7499.5831, www.allensofmayfair.co.uk

BERRY BROS. & RUDD "Britain’s oldest wine and liquor merchant"—going back 300 years at the same shop on St. James’s Street—stocks "excellent" wines and spirits. "Worth a visit just for the history of the place." Smokers can retreat to the leather sofas in the little-known lounge at the back of the store for "a drop of whiskey with your cigar." (MDC, BM, GM, CS, ST, MW) +44.80.0280.2440, www.bbr.com

DAVIDOFF The "best Cuban cigars in London—other than the ones at The Lanesborough"—at this international merchant of smokes on St. James’s Street. (CS) +44.20.7930.3079, www.davidoff.com

FORTNUM & MASON "A good wine department," the "best hampers," and "a wide range" of gourmand "bits and pieces" make this 300-year-old specialty grocer in Piccadilly a favorite stop for staples. (MDC, MB, AH, BM, ST) +44.20.7734.8040, www.fortnumandmason.com

FOX OF ST. JAMES’S This 200-year-old "proper tobacconist" is "one of the better places to go if you want Cubans" that are "hard to come by." The "amazing emporium" of "vintage and aged cigars" from "every brand you could want" is exempt from London’s smoking ban, so you can sample your selections on-site. (MB, ST) +44.20.7930.3787, www.jjfox.co.uk

GARDEN ROOM, THE LANESBOROUGH The hotel’s smoking lounge may be the "best in town," with an extensive collection of Cuban and pre-Castro cigars for purchase. (CS) +44.20.7259.5599, www.lanesborough.com

GERRY’S WINES AND SPIRITS From absinthe to tequila, this 27-year-old shop may have "the widest selection of spirits in the world." Located in Soho. (BM) +44.20.7734.2053, www.gerrys.uk.com

HARRODS The ground-floor Food Halls of the Knightsbridge department store have "great" selections of charcuterie, poultry, cheese, specialty teas, and more, plus "the best hampers." (AD, AH) +44.20.7730.1234, www.harrods.com

THE ROYAL MILE WHISKIES Merchant near the British Museum is known for a "huge array of whiskies." (ST) +44.20.7436.4763, www.royalmilewhiskies.com

SAUTTER A "traditional old-world cigar shop" on Mount Street. The staff is "super friendly and knowledgeable." (AH, GM) +44.20.7499.4866, www.sauttercigars.com

TOMTOM CIGARS "Fantastic" cigar shop on Elizabeth Street has limited-edition Havanas, accessories—"everything" a smoker needs. (MW) +44.20.7730.1790, www.tomtom.co.uk

THE VINTAGE HOUSE "A huge selection" (more than 1,400 malt whiskies, 200 rums, and 100 tequilas) at this family-run business in Soho. (ST) +44.20.7437.2592, http://freespace.virgin.net/vintagehouse.co

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