So you liked each other’s profiles, you’ve been messaging online and now you’ve got yourself a date! Yay! Then, after the initial excitement comes the usual concerns: ‘Will they like me?’ ‘What will I wear?’ ‘Where will we go?’ The date venue has an important part to play in that first date encounter but chill-ax. Here at online dating site Lovestruck.com, we’ve been around the dating block a few times with our old friend London and have picked 8 ‘easy’ first date venues that all offer a relaxed, love-inducing vibe. Enjoy!
1. Pub dates: Holly Bush in Hampstead, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, The Palmerston in East Dulwich and The Gun in Docklands
We love a pub and the friendly non-pretentious vibe they offer. The good thing about dating in London is that you’re never far from a pub. From comfy worn chairs to live bands, hearty pub food and frothy-headed ales and lagers. You can dress comfy and casual, cosy up in a corner and get to know one another. On chilly nights, some of our faves offer those perfect ‘snuggle by the fire’ opportunities too.
2. Rooftop dating: Sky Bar Milbank Tower in Victoria
Come summer, the only way is up. London’s various cafés, bars and restaurants enable you to enjoy some awesome rooftop dating while soaking in some breathtakingly romantic views to help you and your date feel the love. The Sky Bar in Victoria boasts some of the best panoramic views in London and all from the comfort of a stylist top floor lounge complete with modern retro décor. There’s tasty food and cocktails on offer and if the conversation runs dry, at least you have the stunning views to fall back on!
3. Market-mooch dates: Camden Market in Camden obviously…
Okay, so maybe last time you visited, you were a teenage Goth but Camden Market is well worth a revisit with your date. Home to a colourful plethora of vintage fashion, alternative bric-a-brac and second-hand books, there’s stacks to reminisce about and you can browse to your heart’s content while learning lots about each other’s tastes and peccadilloes in the process! Afterwards, why not have a drink at one of the many local pubs or a bite to eat at one of the many food stalls, or get jiggy at a gig at nearby Electric Ballroom. Either way, a slow market-mooch makes for a relaxed, perfectly chilled first date.
4. Liquid courage cocktails: The London Cocktail Club in Oxford Circus.
Now we don’t ever suggest that you get utterly plastered on a first date (keep it classy) but there’s nothing like a glass or two of liquid courage to help things along. The London Cocktail Club is a charming little space designed around a ‘Gangster Tequila Paradise’ theme. They’ve not long launched a Flat Pack Cocktails offering where you can craft delicious cocktails at your table, or maybe you can stir up some passion at one of their cocktail masterclasses…
5. Coffee Dates: Testing the chemistry over a cappuccino makes a great date on many levels and let’s face it, there’s no shortage of caffeine joints about town! There’s something instantly soothing about wrapping your hands around a warm coffee cup or mug. However, should you quickly realise your date isn’t your ‘Cuppa Jo’ at least a coffee is easier to swallow and doesn’t tie you into an awkward 3 course, 2 hour meal date. Yikes. And, if you ‘coffee date’ during your working day (Lovestruck are rather ace at enabling this…) you have the perfect ‘gotta get back to work’ excuse. But we live in hope that something more than the sugar stirs…
6. Posh nosh with a twist: BubbleDogs in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia.
If we’re honest, as much as we like to impress, we don’t really do posh and formal on a first date. We like comfort food with a twist and this proper ‘gourmet’ US-style hotdog joint is just the ticket. For those thinking hotdogs wouldn’t cut it on a first date, fear not. These ‘dogs’ can be washed down with Champagne. Cool, huh? The venue gives you brownie points for the novelty factor with its hip interior, and the prices are easy on the bank balance too with a glass of Cava starting at only £6. Be warned: it can get busy so a lunch date might be your best bet.
7. Comfortably intimate: Voltaire in Blackfriars.
Okay, so this bar should impress a date – especially if you book one of the private hire vaults online. This option comes with ultra comfy sofas and blankets to get cosy on and you’ll even have your own waiter to ensure that you don’t have to leave each other’s side if you can’t take your eyes off your date. And this should strike the right note – you even get your very own speakers to play your favourite tracks on so you can check if you’re on the same (music) page too!
8. Park life: As the weather warms up, it’s always great to head outside. London has a plethora of beautiful parks and garden’s offering ample romantic grass-time, chat time, chill-time and park pit stops. Some of our faves: St James Park, Hyde Park (Serpentine Lake for a boat row, anyone?) Chelsea Physic Garden and Peckham Rye Park & Common. All offer fab food and drink if you’d rather not lug a picnic basket about. Take a cardy or blanket too, just in case you find yourself magnetically drawn to your date at sun-down…
Do you have any other first-date suggestions? Tell us @Lovestruck or in the comments below!