I adore cheese and Keith loves wine, so when Judy suggested dropping by her favorite wine and cheese pub before we all sneaked into a private party to see Dorian’s band, we pretty much all simultaneously started looking around for a taxi to take us to Kingsdown Vaults.
While I might not be much of a drinker, it’s neighborhood pubs like this that I wish we had more of here in Massachusetts. The closest that I can think of that captures the same sort of laid-back mellowness is the bar at Union Square’s Independent, but even that’s a bit of a stretch. After all, even the Independent has a TV, something the Kingsdown Vaults does not. Instead of television, the Vaults’s got battered tables, a wicked assortment of mismatched chairs and the requisite fire roaring in the fireplace. The Vaults also has board games and books stacked on its slightly saggy shelves and arbitrary guns hanging on the walls which may or may not be real. Add groupings of tall, fat and drippy candles trailing tails of wax down their sides and you’ve got an altogether cozy atmosphere that can’t be replicated.
Foodwise, the Vaults offers small bites like smalec (a Polish spread made of pork fat, bacon and bits of onion) and miscellaneous cheeses. The three of us shared a fondue (£4.50) and feta-stuffed peppers (£2.90) which were described on the menu as bell but were in fact way too hot and too small to be bells. I’ve got the feeling that they were Fresnos, simply from their size and heat. The thing is, it doesn’t matter — Kingsdown Vaults is a place to go for a drink (or series of), a long chat and maybe a board game or two. It’s not necessarily the best spot, culinarily-speaking, but does that even matter when there’s wine and bites of cheese to be had? Sometimes, that’s all a girl like me needs.
29-31 Kingsdown Parade
+44 117 924 9134