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Jerusalem Tavern
Photograph: Andy ParsonsJerusalem Tavern

Why London’s pubs are the best date locations

By Time Out editors
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Pub-lover Megan Nolan makes the case for dates over pints

I used to take all my first dates to a bar in Peckham, the kind staffed by exquisitely cheekboned 19-year-old art students wearing dungarees and boiler suits.

The bar had a good happy hour, which was why I chose it, but the seats were fashionably angular and utterly agonising, the soundscape a nightmarish deluge of Boiler Room deep cuts.

Eventually, I wised up and shifted the setting of my nervy overtures up the road to The Nags Head, a vanishingly rare thing in Peckham: a real pub, not a gastro experiment. And it was wonderful.

Instead of astringent margaritas, we drank creamy pints of Guinness and settled into the ancient upholstery which sank smoothly enough that our keens leaned together and my body flood with warmth.

On a Friday night, Alex, the star of the weekly karaoke night, was belting out ‘Me and Mrs Jones’, and I bent over and kissed the man who would become my boyfriend.

Bars are a site for looking and being looked at, but pubs are for really talking, really listening and the fleeting flushed moments that attend.

Check out the best late-night bars and pubs in London

How about 26 great first date spots in London. Or our guide to Valentine’s Day in the city. 

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