Small in size but mega in style, Chelsea is an affluent enclave of London home to some of the most outrageous drinking dens in the capital. And as for the pubs in particular, well—they’re in a class of their own. Seriously. They’re cool, they’re striking, and the world-class food and drink they serve up on a nightly basis are simply second to none. So whether you and your date are in the mood for a bit of a mad night out or else looking to catch a glimpse of your favourite reality TV stars, Chelsea’s got you covered.
With gorgeous waterside retreats, relaxing gastropubs, quirky beer gardens, upmarket trattorias and immersive cocktail experiences, in Chelsea you’re sure to find the right venue for you, no matter the kind of first date you’re going for! Here are our top 5 first date venues in Chelsea.
1. The Phene
9 Phene St, SW3 5NY
The Phene is surely one of the best pubs in all of West London. (Why else would one Mr Hugh Grant have fought to save it, one wonders?) The clubhouse-style venue ensures splendid comfort with its warm lampshade lighting and library-esque bookshelves.
The Phene is a fabled spot renowned for its beautiful beer garden and sumptuous grub, and became even more well-known after its regular appearances in Made in Chelsea—the pub pretty much became a character in its own right! With a traditional saloon bar and conservatory restaurant, The Phene is simply a must if you’re going for a first date in colourful surroundings—complete with a full and proper perusal of the extensive wine list, creative cocktail menu and impressive array of beers, naturally.
Tucked away in a leafy enclave just moments from King’s Road and equally welcoming come both summer and winter, The Phene is a twinkling oasis of calm with an impressive heritage, stretching back to 1853, and the imposing three-storey clubhouse-style venue sure has some stories to tell…
2. The Botanist
7 Sloane Square, SW1W 8EE
The Botanist is an elegant bar and restaurant slap-bang in the middle of the opulent Sloane Square. Prepare for some painstaking decisions to be made between any number of fabulous wines, cocktails and champagnes—as well as craft beers if you’re not one to partake of the above. The venue does an awesome job of bringing together many styles and influences in its interiors while still somehow remaining quintessentially British, an all-round classy affair ideal as a first date spot. Or perhaps you’re meeting for brunch instead—no problem. The Botanist serves up indulgent, irresistible dishes any time of day, so you and your date can spend a solid few hours getting to know one another undisturbed with everything you need!
19 Motcomb St, SW1X 8LB
The only thing cooler than Pantechnicon’s name is its pièce de résistance: the awe-inspiring roof garden and terrace, perfect for flirting with a front seat view of the London skyline. Offering up delicious dining options and sassy cocktails, Pantechnicon impressively fuses Nordic culinary creativity with Japanese cookery craftsmanship. In fact, the entire venue comprises several bars and restaurants set across an incredible six floors, so you and your date can roam the various venues without ever leaving the premises if you’re looking to mix this first date up a little!
A mere stone’s throw from Knightsbridge and Hyde Park, Pantechnicon really is an escape in the heart of London.
Pro tip: Make sure to check out Pantechnicon’s bottle shop and micropub, sakaya. Sample rare and exclusive sake and Japanese whisky in a setting comprising a grand total of four seats. ‘Intimate’ doesn’t do sakaya justice.
4. il Pampero
20 Chesham Pl, SW1X 8HQ
Set in The Hari, a five-star Belgravia hotel with some serious style going on, il Pampero is one of the finest Italian restaurants you’re likely to ever come across. In fact, it’s probably fair to say it’s up there with the greatest eateries in all of London, embodying the vintage glamour and Bel Paese chic as it does. Head Chef Calogero Carlino and his talented team dish up a gorgeous array of authentic meals with a modern twist, il Pampero promises a meal to remember on this all-important first date—no matter what time of day you meet!
We especially recommend the cheeky bottomless brunch with Milanese G&T, Prosecco and Aperol Spritz—alongside a fusion of authentic Italian produce, of course. Think cacio e pepe (tagliolini with creamy pecorino and pepper), as well as delectable homemade pizzas piping-hot from the traditional wood-fired oven out back, topped with such delights as truffle cream, ventricina spicy salami and sautéed mushrooms.
Or if you fancy taking il Pampero’s brand-new set menu for a spin, get ready to tuck in: up for grabs are a prawn and celery salad with cherry tomato confit, grilled seabass fillet with capers, olive tapenade and roast peppers, and a mouthwatering pistachio crème brûlée to top off this unbeatable array of Italian cuisine at its finest. And as if that weren’t enough, il Pampero has live Italian music from midday! What better way to sink into an afternoon of continental delights with this hot new love interest of yours?
5. Callooh Callay
316–318 King’s Rd, SW3 5UH
It’s all about the epic names today! Callooh Callay is an world-renowned, award-winning cocktail bar, with a track record of stupendous beverages served to throngs of some of the capital’s most interesting individuals. That’s no mean feat, especially considering the competition all around in Chelsea! The King’s Road haunt serves up a crazy range of unique concoctions in a vibrant, buzzing atmosphere. The ambience is genuinely ideal for those who need a little something extra to get them over those first date butterflies! East End meets West in this chic London watering hole, with several signature drinks you simply have to sip on as you lock gazes with this beautiful new stranger in your life.
Not a fan of Chelsea? What about finding that perfect first date bar in Fulham?