Gatwick celebrates wine with Vagabond and South Downs bar openings

By Trbeditor |

The new Vagabond bar at Gatwick is the brand’s largest site to-date.

London’s Gatwick Airport is drawing attention to the wine category with two new openings: Vagabond, the pour-your-own wine bar, and South Downs, an exclusive concept which showcases wines, beers and produce from across the county.

Vagabond, which offers more than 80 wines, opened its doors in the South Terminal in May with TRBusiness in attendance for the official launch.

Its local offering includes wines from Digby in Arundel, Tillingham in Rye, and Kingscote, situated less than 10 miles from Gatwick in East Grinstead. Its menu also includes wines from around the world. 

Vagabond is known for its bespoke self-serve concept which lets passengers sample before committing to a full glass or bottle. The Gatwick outlet also offers a beer wall with the same discovery experience.

Alongside wine and beer, the bar will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a kids menu to broaden its appeal to families. 

Sussex celebration 

Located across from Vagabond, the South Downs Sparkling Wine Bar, due to commence service shortly, will also serve meals and snacks from locally-sourced ingredients.

As well as its sparkling wine offering, the bar will offer a cocktail menu from Max Benning, owner of Three Sheets, a London cocktail bar named in the World’s 50 Best. 

Vagabond founder Stephen Finch, head of marketing Sophie Evans, and managing director Matthew Fleming at the Gatwick location launch. IMAGE: Ian Hill

“We are delighted to welcome both Vagabond and South Downs bar to our South Terminal this spring,” said Rachel Bulford, Retail Director, Gatwick Airport.

“Leading London-based operator, Vagabond, will provide a wonderful selection of wines and beers from fantastic vineyards and breweries located across our region, and the eye-catching design of the sparkling wine bar – South Downs – brings the outside in and reflects the greenery of the countryside surrounding Gatwick. 

“We love being less than 30 minutes from the centre of London, but we are also proud of being in the heart of the community here in leafy Sussex.”

Matt Fleming, managing director, Vagabond, added: “We are really excited to open our newest airport site at Gatwick Airport. 

“Our Vagabond Bar & Kitchen site in South Terminal will become our largest site within the Vagabond estate and will be offering an extensive all-day food menu and continuing to drive innovation with the drinks we serve including cocktails, self-pour beer walls and making great wine available for all to try.

“On top of this, we are also going to be launching England’s first English sparkling wine bar – South Downs. 

“Named after the South Downs area in Sussex and Kent, which hosts so many of England’s best vineyards and wineries, the bar will focus on championing not just English wines but also beers, ciders and spirits in Southeast England. 

Vagabond features a craft beer wall with the same self-serve model as its wines. IMAGE: Ian Hill

“The food menu will be elevated and designed to pair particularly well with English wines.

“We can’t wait to introduce the Vagabond and South Downs way to Gatwick passengers, giving them the perfect start to their journey.”

Earlier this year, TRBusiness caught up with Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Pollard who discussed the airport’s retail news, from navigating the pandemic to new summer openings.

Reporting by Ian Hill

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