Dodgy internet reports often cite London as one of the loneliest places in the world. In this fair city it’s believed we barge past one another without looking up from our phones, and would rather do an awkward drip dry than ask our toilet cubicle neighbour if they have any spare loo roll.
Ignore the reports. After five years of singledom in this sprawling, magical collection of villages, I’ve not only learned how to date (and avoid) almost every type of man you could conceive of, but I’ve also figured out how to date myself. You just need to find the best place to do it.
Don’t worry – being alone doesn’t need to be lonely. Plus, heading out on a solo mission is surely better than another night at home furiously masturbating and suffering repetitive strain injury from fruitless Tinder swipes. Just me?
Drink, Shop & Do, King’s Cross
As well as serving fab food and booze, they also run amazing events and workshops most evenings on anything from nipple-tassel making to cookie decorating and Beyonce dancing.
9 Caledonian Rd, N1 9DX. 7278 4335. Tube: King's Cross St Pancras.
This Italian is a hidden gem. There’s a heated roof terrace that no one seems to know about and all the food is insanely cheap. You order up at the counter so it’s informal and relaxed. Go for the colourful salads, stay for the espresso martinis. 57-58 Upper St, N1 0NY. 7424 5992. Tube: Angel.
Polo Bar, The City
Open 24 hours a day, this Bishopsgate café attracts all sorts so it’s one of those places where you never know who you could be sitting on a table next to. The guys who run the eatery that never sleeps have seen it all and have some pretty good stories to tell. 176 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NQ. 7283 4889. Tube: Liverpool St.
Tacu Tacu, Hackney
You can eat at the bar of this pan-Latino restaurant, which makes it great for dining alone. Plus, the fellas shaking up the cocktails are so chatty you’ll feel like you’re part of the family. Don’t leave without trying the octopus burger. 175 Mare St, E8 3RG. No phone. London Fields rail.
Señor Ceviche, Fitzrovia
This is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. Right in the middle of Fitzrovia’s bustling Charlotte Street, it’s an ideal lookout post for people-watching, and the Peruvian food is full of flavour. 18 Charlotte St, W1T 2LZ. 7842 8540. Tube: Goodge Street.
The Ned, The City
All the restaurants at Soho House’s humongous Bank complex are spread across a former banking hall. Food-wise, you can choose anything from salt beef bagels to cosy British cookery (that’s Millie’s Lounge pictured above) to poké. It’s always bustling, and entertaining when you overhear ‘American Psycho’-esque business cards being swapped between bankers. 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ. 3828 2000. Tube: Bank.
Lauren Crouch, 30, is a Time Out reader and has contributed this piece as part of the TO reader takeover. In her own words, she’s a witty, attractive, classy and modest lover of burritos living in Highbury, who couldn’t live without walks along the Regent’s Canal and bread with lashings of butter.