1. The café at Wallace Collection
Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
I was looking for date ideas in London recently and decided to have an afternoon tea at the Wallace Collection cafe (my first time) and was very impressed, mainly by the serenity, peaceful surroundings and discreet yet friendly service. It’s a perfect place for a first date – no loud noise in the background hence easy to talk & hear the other person, it’s really lovely & quiet and the tables aren’t too close to each other nor is it packed in the late afternoon, at least not during the week. Your date is going to feel at ease and relaxed in these surroundings and I’d happily recommend the scones with cream & jam – unless you think that’s too ‘lush’ on a first date!
Check out other great date ideas in Marylebone
2. Lounge Bohemia
1e Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3EJ
If you want to impress your date with a quirky, exclusive (by appointment only) yet not pretentious venue go for Lounge Bohemia, located in Shoreditch, a fashionable district in East London. This small & intimate lounge not only has tables in the centre of the bar but also more private & discreet booths – perfect for 1st date chat surrounded by Czech novels, tea pots and a cocktail list sure to impress!
And they also give you a small plate of tiny canapés to go with your drinks – they’re ‘pretty’ but certainly not enough to fill your stomach! Plan dinner after with your friends, not with the ‘1st date’ (as per our advice – no dinners on 1st dates..!) And please remember there is a strict ‘no suit’ policy.
Fancy some other options for your date in East London
3. 69 Colebrooke Row (or the Bar With No Name)
69 Colebrooke Row London N1 8AA
When you first step into this bar it almost feels like you’re entering someone’s living room, very cosy & intimate. 69 Colebrooke Row seats about 40 people max and although it’s a small space it doesn’t somehow feel that your neighboring table is interfering or eavesdropping into your conversation, which is great as you don’t want that on a date! This is another place where booking is advisable although on an early Monday or Tuesday evening you might get a table for two by just walking in. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about the interesting & versatile cocktails on the menu so be adventurous with your choice of drink, don’t just go for a beer or a glass of wine and your date is guaranteed not to be disappointed – my suggestion would be to try the Rhubarb Gimlet, it’s tangy & unassuming yet delicious!
Would you like to see more great date ideas in Islington?
4. Off Broadway
63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
I once saw Kiera Knightley walking by whilst sitting in one of the window seats of this cocktail bar on Broadway Market (famous for their busy Saturday market). Now I do realise that this place is a little ‘off the beaten track’ from central London but, if you & your date are familiar with this part of town (which is actually very easy to get to), I’d strongly recommend trying your luck with chemistry with your date at this New York inspired bar!
Ordering a drink at the Off Broadway bar is like asking your friend to do it with the exception that, (unlike mine anyway..!) these guys know how to make a gorgeous cocktail! The staff seem very laid-back and approachable. It can get very busy and often waiting for your drinks can take a little while which can give you a bit of extra time to think exactly what topic of conversation might impress your date… Oh, and if you go there on a Wednesday evening, they host a brilliant comedy night downstairs – so if your date isn’t making you laugh, these guys definitely will!
5. Beach Blanket Babylon
I must confess – I haven’t been to Beach Blanket Babylon for a drink or a date here myself but my lovely colleague has and she thinks it’s just the place to have a first date if you want a bit of glamorous, fun (and even a bit decadent!) environment to enjoy it in. The staff are very attentive & will make you feel at ease in a situation that can be a bit nerve-racking for most people. If you like cocktails, well apparently they really are delicious and having had a look at the cocktail menu I’d go for their signature cocktail called Purple Blanket – sounds berrylishious!
If you or your date are a bit nervous (which is perfectly natural) and little stuck with what to talk about next, the decor in this place will keep your conversation flowing – it’s flamboyant Baroque & Rococo style will leave no-one speechless. If your date happens to be during the cooler season, there’s a romantically lit fireplace in the house too, how much more ideal can a date venue get.. Oh and the cast from Made in Chelsea have been sighted there, watch out!
Popcorn rather than blankets? Check out 5 romantic cinema date ideas.
6. Bar Pepito
3 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9DF
You don’t often pair sherry with the words ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ but Bar Pepito in King’s Cross has totally transformed the old associations of it being ‘an old lady’s drink’ into a ‘must-have’ drink. This tiny but beautiful & rustic authentically Spanish place offers a drink list to impress your date and unless you’re an expert on sherry (what a great way to impress your date..!) the staff are very helpful & knowledgeable so just ask! There’s only about 4-5 tables in the bar and they don’t take advance bookings so you might just have to take a risk here but it’s worth it.
They also do gorgeous tapas at the bar so if you & your date are getting on well, why not try a sneaky tapas or two. And if the evening goes incredibly well and the ‘first date rules’ of it just being a quick drink are going to get broken there is often live music across the courtyard at their ‘mother’ restaurant Camino – Spanish passion written all over this place, fingers crossed the passion catches on…!
7. George Bar @ Durrants Hotel
Durrants Hotel, George St, London W1H 5BJ
The good thing about hotel bars is that they’re rarely packed and they give you that discreet and quiet space you’ll need on a date. George Bar at Durrants hotel is lovely – quaint & intimate with a selection of menus from afternoon tea to classic cocktails to an extensive wine list.
This place is classy & traditional yet relaxed, it’s located in Marylebone Village, very close to everything that is ‘central London’ – should be a convenient meeting place for any Londoner.
The bar area itself is divided into two with the bar counter being in the middle but there are a couple of more intimate/discreet areas off the hotel lobby where you can take your drinks and have a quieter and more private conversation with your date, sitting on cosy arm chairs. As it’s a five star hotel, the staff are extremely knowledgeable, attentive and helpful without being intrusive – as date ideas in London go, it doesn’t get much classier than this!
8. The Breakfast Club
No it’s not what you might think! Not ‘the morning after the night before’ kind of date. I’m talking about meeting for a date over breakfast. Why? It takes some of the pressure off of it being too much of a traditional & formal date which an evening one can sometimes feel like. It hopefully also gives you a chance to look at your freshest!
Ideally you’ll choose a weekend breakfast so you’ll be relaxed (try to avoid a hangover..), well-rested and not having to rush to work. If however you are meeting on a work-day, make sure you don’t have to be in the office too early.
London’s got plenty of options for breakfast venues, including the appropriately named ‘The Breakfast Club’ – with many branches including, Soho, the Angel and trendy East London (Spitalfields & Hoxton), each serving delicious morning grub from the ‘full monty’ to more healthier options such as porridge & fruit salad. On most weekends you’re bound to meet a queue of hungry punters, but the service is swift so you’re not going to be waiting for too long – perfect time to rehearse your morning flirtatiousness with your date before sitting down…
This is a great venue for a relaxed date, but make sure you don’t end up taking one of the venue’s chalk board slogans ‘Sex, Drugs and Bacon Rolls’ too literally…!
If you would like the opportunity to be introduced to someone new in London, then contact the friendly matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking today.