Where To Go On a First Date in London
Zetter Townhouse; for intimacy on a lavish level
Set under a railway arch in Hackney, this is a board game café with a library of literally every board game you can imagine. They serve craft beers, decent wine and enough good snacks to sustain you through any Cranium marathon. So do away with awkward first conversations and sink into a game before you’ve even discovered whether she’s down with the fact you just named your new kitten Cara Delevingne.
Wilton’s Music Hall
Tucked into an ugly corner of Whitechappel, flanked by bleak-looking kebab shops you’ll feel like you’re on your way to nowhere as you traverse E1 to get here. But once inside the sense of faded glamour is almost overwhelming. WMH is the world’s oldest music hall and has been attracting first (and second) daters since 1858. Its formerly ornate interior is crumbling in the most beautiful way which itself makes for a romantic setting. Shows still take place here so check the schedule before you go and – if you feel like extending the night beyond drinks – catch a show.
La Bodega Negra Cafe
No, not the sex shop basement branch, but the café version off Old Compton Street. Still in the heart of Soho yet somehow a place where you can always find a table. It’s relaxed, intimately lit, buzzy and the pisco sours will ensure the conversation flows through the evening. Plus, if need be, you can soak up the alcohol with yummy quesadillas and tacos.
The Gilbert Scott
Situated in part of Kings Cross St Pancas’ original ticket hall, this grand old station bar offers ornate décor and intimacy in a historic setting. Cocktails from cut crystal glass and marble floors make this feel super ritzy. There’s a rare english fizz menu and classic cocktails which are expertly constructed. And hey, if it’s going really well you can always hop on a Eurostar to Paris.
Ok it can get pretty loud in here, but if you’re worried conversation might not come so easily you can nuke any awks with a good old ice-breaking ping pong match. This place is set in a basement, serves decent cocktails and doles out pizzas from a wood fired oven. Be warned though, it gets pretty rowdy later in the week so probably better on early week nights.
If it’s a dinner date you’re going on then consider wandering through Mayfair’s cobbled back alleys down into a basement which now houses Kitty Fisher’s – a former 17th-century bakery that’s been transformed into and a tiny jewel of a restaurant. Twinkling with candle light, ambiance and delicious food; its’ the antithesis of romantic dining. Be sure to book well ahead though as there are only 30 covers and it’s verrrry popular.
Exactly how flash are you feeling? Because one way of impressing her might be to take her to the top of London’s tallest building and ply her with champagne and/or dizzying heights. It might also not be her bag so check beforehand because some find Aqua a little too overwhelming and flashy. After all it is glitzy, super polished and often frequented by city boys. However some people say that it’s a pretty enchanting way to see the whole of London glinting below you while you sip a glass of champagne and enjoy the head rush.
A lavish, unusual bolthole. If you want to feel like you’ve just stumbled into an eccentric collector’s cluttered home then this is the place for you. Enjoy intimacy in an exceptional, surreal setting by holing up in the corner and enjoying a cocktail from a short, well-curated list, served to you by baristas wearing workman’s overalls. Every bit of this place is considered, fabulous and beautiful. It’s small and popular so be sure to book ahead. Oh and it’s a hotel too so it’s going well and you’re feeling flush…