Richard Johnson finds just the place to sample a glass of English wine

I remember my first yoga retreat. The welcome basket included a hard biscuit and an avocado. There was no cable TV, tea/coffee-making facilities, or chanting after lights out, but I didn't mind. That weekend I learnt that, in yoga, the path is more important than the goal. Which is something I have been applying to my drinking practices. The process of reaching the pint has become as important as the pint itself. Om. And that is why, fellow seekers of the path, I can recommend Just The Bridge.

I remember my first yoga retreat. The welcome basket included a hard biscuit and an avocado. There was no cable TV, tea/coffee-making facilities, or chanting after lights out, but I didn't mind. That weekend I learnt that, in yoga, the path is more important than the goal. Which is something I have been applying to my drinking practices. The process of reaching the pint has become as important as the pint itself. Om. And that is why, fellow seekers of the path, I can recommend Just The Bridge.

The way to reach this pleasing little bar/brasserie is by the 320-metre Millennium footbridge across the Thames – or "the wobbly bridge" as it is known, even though it no longer wobbles. The bridge was actually first mooted back in 1615, which is an impressive delay even by the standards of the British construction industry.

But it was worth the wait. The spine of the bridge curves upward. It's as if you are climbing into the sky, suspended in space above the Thames as you walk toward St Paul's Cathedral. Above the handrails, London looms dripping and magnificent.

There, as you alight on the north shore, is the welcome Just The Bridge. The blue-lit bar/brasserie is glass-fronted to make the most of the view and has a spacious, modern Belgian feel to it. The service is warm and welcoming. Unlike the blue light. And I didn't like the rag-rolled paint effect, which reminded me of the day I watched eight hours of Changing Rooms on satellite. But the "space", as Phillippa, my architect sister-in-law says, was exciting.

The house wine is English, and comes by the glass. The Nutbourne Sussex Reserve is really rather decent, if a bit sweet for my taste. It comes from the Sussex vineyards of Peter Gladwin – the owner of Just The Bridge – and is fairly priced at £3.50 a 175ml glass. People need reminding that English wine isn't only found with the £2.29 wines from Afghanistan.

Prejudice like that, over the years, has prevented the 382 vineyards and 115 wineries that make up the English wine industry from being taken seriously. Times really have changed. An English sparkling wine is now a safe bet. After all, our climate is perfect, we have the right acid levels, and our geology is almost identical to that of Champagne. My own favourite is the Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Brut 1994 (RRP £17.99), available from www.winefinders.com.

From the bar terrace of Just The Bridge you look out across the Thames towards Blackfriars Pier (is a pier just a disappointed bridge?), Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe. The footbridge looks at its best at night, when the slim, silvery span is reduced to a thin blade of light. It is sublime. Such a shame that Londoners, and people throughout the country, still know it as the "wobbly bridge". Give it time; that perception will change. And let's hope the same can be said of English wine.

Just The Bridge, 1 Paul's Walk, London EC4 (020-7236 0000). You can e-mail Richard Johnson at drinkwithrichardjohnson@yahoo.co.uk

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