After a few hours’ romantic strolling through leafy West London—perhaps even the gorgeous, world-renowned Kew Gardens—there are few prettier places to settle in for a drink and a meal with your date than Chiswick.
This charming, affluent district is home to a myriad of humble boozers and upmarket restaurants, many centring around the ideal marriage of minimalist aesthetics and seasonal dishes, reflecting so much of all that’s best about the area. Traditional wood-fired pizzas? You’re on. Swish spots down by the river? You bet. Exceptional eateries boasting some of the juiciest burgers in all of the capital? Bring it on! With lots of spots to choose from, you and your date are sure to find a place that fits the mood! Here are our top 5 first date venues in Chiswick.
18 Devonshire Rd, W4 2HD
Are the two of you in search of a fabulous wine bar? Look no further than Vinoteca, and their magnificent 200-strong selection of bottles from around the world—for purchasing as well as for sipping right here, right now—complete with expertly complementing seasonal small plates tailored to the very grape. Vinoteca is a three-storey Victorian terrace, light and airy by dint of its wide open skylight, which makes for a bright space where you can settle in for a vino or three and really get to know your date in a comfortable, unhurried setting.
The staff at Vinoteca are friendly and helpful, only too happy to expound on the bar’s extensive wine list and guide them through the process of choosing a bottle. But they’re also laidback, too. The chain’s vision puts it best, reading thus:
Don’t get us wrong, sommeliers have their place. Just not with us. At Vinoteca we do things differently. We don’t do exclusivity. The Roman Empire was fuelled by wine, enjoyed by soldiers and Caesars alike. You don’t need a refined palate, fast cars and fat pay cheques to enjoy it. Wine is for everyone.
Hear hear. But make no mistake: the establishment’s attention to detail is second to none—and the methodical approach to ‘going for a drink’ can be seriously refreshing (pun intended), making for a whole new type of first date!
2. The George IV
185 Chiswick High St, W4 2DR
The George IV is one of Chiswick’s finest pubs, hands down, serving up dishes fit for a king. The gloriously rustic aesthetic and vintage-inspired interiors aren’t just a treat for the eyes—they make for a cosy date spot, too. Brimming with British culinary expertise channelled through many a reimagined pub grub classic, The George IV is the place to be for a chilled out evening of a pint and a dish of something seriously sumptuous. There are rustic mains and delicious specials galore, not to mention moreish morsels and naughty nibbles. Black pudding Scotch egg or pork and sage sausage roll, anyone? Whether you’re hunkered down demolishing a board game with your date or basking in some summer rays out in the lovely beer garden, you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere more wholesome in all of Chiswick—in all of London, perhaps.
3. No 197 Chiswick Fire Station
197–199 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR
Chiswick needs to start handing out awards for most beautiful eateries, pronto. The ironically prosaic name No 197 Chiswick Fire Station belies a gorgeous interior, bursting with Swedish minimalism and timeless seasonal gastro fare.
Ideally located on Chiswick High Road and boasting a courtyard tailor-made for a first date on a warm summer’s afternoon, No 197 dishes up sustainably sourced breakfasts, brunches, roasts, nibbles and desserts, and they’re all thoughtfully paired with a super assortment of fresh juices, organic Caravan coffees, house cocktails, fine wines and draught beers.
Pro tip: No 197 Chiswick Fire Station has a hidden walled garden, a secret sun trap just moments from Chiswick High Road, and the perfect outdoor idyll for enjoying a cheeky cocktail, refreshing pint or tasty bite with your date.
4. The Old Ship
25 Upper Mall, W6 9TD
All aboard! On the border with Hammersmith lies The Old Ship, at least 300 years old and complete with extensive riverside seating for the perfect view of the Thames, pint in hand, beautiful date close by to soak it all in with. When the clouds come crawling in, fear not—simply head inside for interiors stunningly reminiscent of yesteryear, a crackling fire, and a private table where you can enjoy your date’s company—just the two of you, away from prying eyes and twitching ears.
There’s flavourful dishes galore, full-bodied wines primed behind the bar, and superb craft beers on tap, expertly poured by the happy crew at the helm. Why not pop in after a wholesome cycling date along the river, or en route home from a romantic stroll by the Thames, with no one but the ducks, swans and geese to overhear that most trepidatious first-date flirting?
Pro tip: To break the ice, why not bring along your four-legged friend? The Old Ship is dog-friendly, and actively welcomes all patrons’ pooches on board!
10 Windmill Rd, W4 1SD
Festooned with hanging ferns, thrumming with sultry lighting and immersing patrons in warm orange tones, Boca is a stylish but relaxed Italian-inspired space boasting irresistible cocktails, gorgeous wines and delicious dishes using only the most responsibly sourced produce from both Italy and the UK. The whole place positively emanates contemporary Italian soul, and the service is relaxed and unpretentious while remaining totally professional at all times.
Drop in for a savoury snack en route somewhere with your date, or park yourselves at the spacious bar for a brilliant beverage as you get down to some proper unfiltered flirting. You don’t necessarily need to book either: there are unreserved tables for guests just passing by. Ideal for that nightcap the two of you have been talking about for the past hour…