Central London’s great, and full of vibrant hotspots just waitin’ for some datin’. But if you’re after a first date with a difference, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital proper while still very much in London, well… Greenwich could be just what you’re looking for. This is the mythical place where hemispheres collide, home to royal history, world-class attractions, a World Heritage Site, famous shopping spots and breathtaking vistas, all ensconced in a beautiful riverside setting.
Despite the borough’s historic influence over the city at large, these days its bars and restaurants are something of an untapped source for fun lovers and party goers… and that’s something you and your date can make the most of if you want somewhere quiet, quirky or quaint as the backdrop to your very first rendezvous. Here are our top 5 first date venues in Greenwich.
1. Davy’s Wine Vaults
161 Greenwich High Rd, SE10 8JA
Davy’s Wine Vaults is your quintessentially old-timey wine bar. The building whizzes you and your beau or belle back to yesteryear with an impressive assortment of 100 vinos sourced from Davy’s Wine Merchants next door, both those that are aged, notable and historic and those that are young, hip and single.
The whole place oozes charm and character, replete as it is with lovingly restored original features, antique curios and intriguing vinificatory artefacts. (That’s of or pertaining to wine making, for the plebeians among ye.) As well as dishing up irresistible British meals alongside your tipple of choice, the staff at Davy’s are famously friendly, and by Jove do these people know their wines! Any winey query you can pose, they’ve got you covered.
2. The Cutty Sark
4–6 Ballast Quay, SE10 9PD
A riverside pub renowned for its unbeatable views of the Thames and Canary Wharf skyline, The Cutty Sark boasts two centuries of stories; tales seep from its woody walls, and one can scarcely imagine the history witnessed from the space now inhabited by the pub’s quayside patio.
The alluringly cosy tavern is the perfect spot to rest your weary legs and settle in for some old-fashioned flirting with this most attractive of first dates sitting before you. Complete with enticing pub grub centring around fish dishes and a vast array of tasty beverages on offer, this nostalgic Greenwich hangout spans three storeys, each view even finer than the last.
3. Trafalgar Tavern
Park Row, SE10 9NW
This stunning Grade II–listed watering hole is one of Greenwich’s best loved. Known affectionately by locals as The Jewel of the Thames, Trafalgar Tavern serves up a smashing smörgåsbord of gastro goodies, not to mention a saucy selection of British beers to wash ’em all down with.
The place is densely hung with an enviable private art collection displaying the borough’s rich history and topography, not to mention pieces commemorating Nelson’s glorious naval victories throughout its splendid rooms. Within the building you’ll also find The Nile Restaurant, a thoroughly immersive dining experience chock-a-block with objects d’art and focusing on contemporary European cuisine.
Pro tip: Are you your date looking to make a serious night of this first date? Then you’ve come to the right place, friends: look no further than Trafalgar Tavern’s basement, to Cribb’s Parlour. This subterranean bar is renowned across both the capital and beyond for hosting a multitude of events, including sensuous jazz nights, immersive drinks masterclasses, world-class live music and pumping weekend DJ nights. Oh, and don’t forget their 2-4-1 cocktails, every day from 6 to 9, of course.
Trafalgar Tavern is the last survivor of 19th century riverbank establishments whose prestige coined the term dining down the river, and whose cooks threw together whitebait suppers so delectable the celebs of the day came a-flockin’. With elegant balconies and enormous windows, Trafalgar Tavern truly is a snapshot of how the capital once looked, and a reminder of its everchanging fluvial panoramas.
4. The Old Joinery
Ravensbourne Wharf, Norman Rd SE10 9QF
The Old Joinery is a charming wee pub a stone’s throw from Greenwich town centre, serving up zingy street food and a packed schedule of live music and DJ sets if you and your hot date fancy a big one. With a wide open beer garden overlooking Deptford Creek and a boatyard entrance sheltered snug beneath quivering pergolas and a 19th century warehouse, The Old Joinery also offers up sensuous jazz and moody acoustic blues nights if you guys seek a more soulful and intimate initial encounter, but still while indulging in some sexy cocktails or locally brewed beers, naturellement.
Pro tip: The Old Joinery mix up some truly spectacular cocktails both classic and original. Our favourite would have to be their widely renowned Japanese Garden, which fuses gin, lychee purée, Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur, lime and pineapple, in a mind-blowingly piquant little number sure to sharpen your wit, enhance your charm and hone your senses on this excellent first date!
17 Nelson Rd, SE10 9JB
Grind is a spectacular date venue, perfect for a sunny brunch or naughty nightcap. Think espresso martinis, pink negronis, clover clubs… and the bar simply abounds in stylish furnishings, photo-ready lighting, low-hanging plants.
Grind is but a short walk from Greenwich Market and the Cutty Sark, so you can easily incorporate a perusal of its many majestic menus en route to and from some other destinations, an especially wise decision if you and your hot new date are looking to make an epic all-day date of this all-important initial rendezvous!
Between the spacious lounge, swanky conservatory and luxurious dining room you guys can dine on flat iron steaks, an epic brunch or Grind’s signature cheeseburgers, alongside some seriously sip-worthy cocktails, of course. Grind even benefits from a seriously convenient grab-and-go coffee counter, open daily for your first date caffeine fix as you pass by Grind’s huge wall-to-ceiling windows.
Time for a date in Greenwich not appealing? What about a first date in Belgravia.