Planning a first date (or any date, for that matter)? We've picked out some top London bars that have an appropriate vibe. Yes, some of these bars are romantic settings, but mostly they’re all places that are damn cool and will make you look like you’ve got it going on. And even if that spark just sadly isn't there, we can guarantee you the drinks will make a great match. From dimly lit cocktail bars to character-filled watering holes, these places are perfect for a spot of London wooing.
Bars for a date in London
Out to impress on a first date? Or just after a cosy spot for two? These romantic London bars should send sparks flying
Best bars for a date in London
The French are meant to have written the book on love, so how about a trip to Brasserie Zédel's Bar Américain. Prices are reasonable, art deco decor sets a sophisticated tone and a short, simple list of classic cocktails means you can get straight down to business.
A gorgeous bar, inside and out, get along to Bloomsbury Club Bar for cosy encounters. Indoors is a plush, wood-clad den with live jazz the backdrop to you putting on the moves. Or take things to the terrace – a twinkly, vine-clad space fit for a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ of your own.
Cocktails are served with golf balls as ice, with teeth floating in them and even aflame at this bar on Bethnal Green Road. The theatre of drinking at CTC will be enough to keep the conversation flowing, but for any awkward pauses, they often have a pianist tinkling slow jams on the ivories.
Okay, it’s another French bar. But don’t expect us to come over all corny on you. This is a stripped-back hangout with a hip edge, slick service and drinks to add some sparkle to date night. And fancy cocktails paired with croque monsieurs are also a match made in heaven.
A super-sophisticated basement bar on Throgmorton Street, in the City. DW&P is all about quality over quantity - it's seating only, and we recommend you book. This moody, stylish spot is all about cocktails, but they also serve decent craft beer, Champagne and a short selection of wines from the old world and new.
This hideaway den in Soho is said to stand on the site where John Profumo would bring his date Christine Keeler. Under its current guise as Disrepute, plush, crushed velvet furniture and plenty of booths for slinking into provide the setting for dates with a little less scandal, we hope.
This sharply turned-out bar is on the first floor of a pub and is dressed as a gorgeous salon of pastel pink and baby blue. Plush, velvet furniture definitely assists those looking to cosy up, while a stylish screen sections off half the room for more intimate gatherings. If the romance proves to be overkill, make a move to the downstairs pub for posh grub and pints instead.
What was once a down-and-out pub is now a sweet watering hole on the King’s Cross Road. The surprise factor of it all makes it ideal for impressing your suitor. A log burner and tall-backed armchairs give a rear room serious cosy clout. Beyond is a neat, walled garden for sweet summer sipping. Share a cheeseboard if you’re really pulling out the stops.
If the pong of wine aging in the barrels nearby doesn’t act as a natural aphrodisiac, the rustic feel of this urban winery down a Bethnal Green alleyway may just do the trick. By night, it's lit by candlelight and attracts a local crowd of cool, young wine buffs. Sip on the house chardonnay or bacchus or get rosy-cheeked on sparkling rosé in this very sweet setting.
Not your quintessential romantic bar, this one. It looks every bit a down-and-out dive bar. Inside though, it might be just the thing to impress the discerning hipster in your life. Featuring hip hop on the stereo, a smartly modish setting, vintage French posters on the wall and some of the best cocktails to be found in Bethnal Green’s booze scene.
If prying yourselves away from a night of Netflix requires real determination, try plonking on a sofa at home-away-from-home Seymour’s Parlour (I mean, if your home is actually real fancy). It’s a singular setting for cocktails. And is it sleazy of us to point out that there are boutique hotel rooms up above?
Not your traditional bar for a date, Sun Tavern offers an ideal alternative if you're scared of pulling out the clichéd stops. The east London location and obscene collection of Irish spirits will make you look like one cool kid, and you can easily find yourselves a darkened corner fit for any date.
The bright and beautiful Italiano setting up above is a low-pressure hangout where you can enjoy oysters and aperitivi without looking like a try-hard. Should it be going well, take date night downstairs to the moodily lit cocktail lounge and whisky bar below. It's a smouldering spot.
Hidden below a Chinese joint in Soho is this speakeasy-bar-meets-tea-room. It’s lit by the glow of Cantonese lettering in green neon, which bounces off luxurious red drapes, creating a look said to have been inspired by Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In The Mood for Love’. You’ll definitely be in the mood after one or two cocktails made using China’s national spirit bajjiu.
Flickering candlelight, steamed-up windows and tiny tables fit for two; date night comes to Dalston. Cocktails here are nothing short of a revelation, and the young crowd are low-key and cool. Three Sheets best suits drinking after dark, but you could just as easily swing by during the day for light, bright cups of coffee.
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