Many a Londoner will swear by Borough as an excellent first date spot, and not only by virtue of its world-famous market (although it helps for sure!). Close by the Thames and London Bridge, Borough is the definitive double threat: the area is conveniently located in Central London and boasts stunning views of the London skyline.
It’s home to a higgledy-piggledy melange of charming old watering holes, upmarket eateries and seriously sophisticated lounges. And of course, no matter where you end up or are heading, the two of you simply have to stop by Borough Market to peruse this Southwark staple and drool over all the artisan chocolates, buttery pastries, gigantic wheels of cheese and epic street spanning every corner of the globe.
And whether you’re trawling for a cocktail bar with an epic happy hour or meandering your way along the riverside seeking a cosy gastropub for that all-important nightcap on this momentous first date, never fear: there’s something for everyone. Here are our top 5 first date venues in Borough.
1. Call Me Mr Lucky
11 Southwark St, SE1 1RQ
The joyously named Call Me Mr Lucky is a secret speakeasy just off Borough High Street, complete with hidden nooks, kitsch fairy lights and a thoroughly playful atmosphere sure to brighten up even the most committed of curmudgeons… with a little help from their potent signature cocktails, of course.
This quirky little number tucked away beneath London Bridge’s Breakfast Club combines exceptional beverages with tongue-in-cheek mischief and a fun-filled roster of eclectic delights around every eccentrically decorated corner.
2. Bermondsey Arts Club
102a Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 4TP
Just shy of the hubbub of Borough is Bermondsey Arts Club, a stylish cocktail bar oozing art deco vibes and throwing together ingredients sourced right from Borough Market to create a seasonally shifting menu of fabulous dishes and liquid concoctions. Upon ascending the iron stairwell, you’ll enter an elegant 30s-esque establishment serving meticulously crafted beverages prepped by a team of innovative bartenders, every drink infused with something saucy and unexpected. With a bespoke interior design, a marble bar and octagonal green and bronze leather seating, you could fairly describe Bermondsey Arts Club as an immersive experience. And with its regular performances and art exhibitions, you guys are seriously unlikely to find a more cultured first date spot for miles around!
If you’re looking for a first date with that extra touch of all-important sophistication sure to impress, take your lover to Bermondsey Arts Club on a Wednesday or Thursday for some smooth live jazz from 9.30.
3. The Telephone Exchange
10–18 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG
Delightfully named and boasting an impressive selection of draught beers, wines and spirits surrounded by pretty interiors, The Telephone Exchange is London Bridge’s newest pub, sitting at the base of the iconic Shard and is draped wall to wall in Gatsby-like wallpaper, old-school paintings, and actual vintage telephones.
The bar stocks an enormous range of beers on keg and cask, rotated seasonally to give the bar a fresh feel whenever you come here, and the kitchen preps delicious dishes using locally sourced ingredients and made fresh to order by multi-award-winning chefs.
The menu at The Telephone Exchange is very much focused on the best of British, serving up a great variety of hearty meals, sharing dishes and light bites, many of which are chalked up on the traditional blackboard, which itself lends some authentic charm to the establishment!
It’s a super place to eat right by The Shard (but without the sky-high prices), and Head Chef Mariusz Balabas is a master of comfort food that still somehow remains elegant and refined: think sumptuous Sunday roasts, artisan fish and chips, and a host of vegetarian offerings, too.
4. The Roebuck
50 Great Dover St, SE1 4YG
Built to imposing Victorian proportions and retaining a great many of its delightful original period fixtures, The Roebuck is simply one of Borough’s—nay, London’s—best-kept secrets.
Independently owned and loved by locals and Londoners alike, this cosy yet large and airy gastropub is positively bursting with charm and locally crafted brews, and expertly knocks up comfort food classics and a splendid Sunday roast to boot.
Situated along a leafy backstreet away from the hustle and bustle of Borough, The Roebuck is known for its delicious meals, friendly staff and excellent range of craft beers from all around the world.
The Roebuck does a marvellous job of walking that finest of lines: the pub appears to be off the beaten track, but actually enjoys an incredibly easy location, which is ideal if you and your date aren’t in the mood for walking far from Borough, London Bridge or Elephant & Castle Stations!
The Roebuck takes its ales seriously, by the way—unsurprisingly so, given the number of independent breweries right on its doorstep! The Roebuck also has close ties with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and the pub has been the proud recipient of multiple awards for its ethical business practices.
5. Bedales of Borough Market
5 Bedale St, SE1 9AL
Bedales of Borough Market is a superb bistro, wine bar and bottle shop intriguingly set in a former potato storehouse. It offers awesome views across the food hall from its scenic terrace while pouring up some truly exquisite vinos and serving a variety of seasonally changing small plates.
Bedales of Borough Market is the safest pair of hands you could ask for if you’re looking for a cute first date of wine tasting and unbeatable cheese and charcuterie boards.
So take in the bustling crowds as you sit high above, feeling all mighty and superior with your world-class chardonnay and seriously hot date. And while you’re there, do make sure to check out the new wine cellar, the ideal place to pick up a bottle for that nightcap you guys have been talking about…
Fits the bill? If not maybe you are looking for somewhere close to Borough, Check out date ideas in Greenwich.
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.