Best for First Date in London
Discover the best places for a first date in London with our hand-picked guide. As if first dates weren't stressful enough! The last thing you want to do is end up spoiling that first big date by going to the wrong places at the wrong times. Whether you're looking for a snug speakeasy or something a bit different to get the conversation flowing, we've got it covered. Read on for our selection of recommended date venues in London.
Last updated on 4th October 2016
Hoxton Square’s reputation for stunning drinking spots is no secret, but have you stumbled across this chic basement bar yet? Pop downstairs from Electricity Showrooms to find 5cc; a cosy bespoke bar renowned for its creative cocktails, inviting booths and neon lighting. Pull up a chair and linger a while, there’s plenty of exceptional cocktails to consider and a good choice of bar snacks if you’re feeling peckish.
Why would you go to Nando’s or the movies when the UK’s only permanent frozen cocktail bar is on your doorstep? London’s famous Ice Bar is pretty damn extraordinary; everything in sight is carved out of the purest ice around and temperatures are maintained at a crisp -5°C. Make the most of a 40-minute slot, then head to the downstairs restaurant for a slap up meal if things are still going well.
London is blessed with plenty of fantastic speakeasy-styled cocktail bars, and many would have Nightjar down as the very best in town. An elusive spot where discerning drinkers gather to enjoy spectacular prohibition-themed cocktails and a soothing programme of live jazz tunes, it goes without saying that a table for two here would knock the socks off that person you’ve always had a thing for.
This NYC-styled basement bar is cool and quirky, with an intimate feel that’s neither stuffy nor formal. There’s an unmistakable party spirit to the LCC that comes out to play no matter what time of the week you’re visiting, and the cocktails are spot on. Perfect for impressing a date that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
It’s fair to say a first date at Cabaret Des Distractions isn’t one you’re likely to forget in a hurry. Settle down inside Café De Paris’ stunning 1920s ballroom and enjoy an action-packed event of cabaret, musical theatre and circus acts inspired by the Féeries of 19th century Paris. No need to worry about small-talk; you’ll be too busy gasping in awe or roaring with laughter.
Tucked away down a cobbled side street just moments from St. Paul’s is Copa de Cava, a charming basement bodega dedicated entirely to showcasing the beauty of cava. Treat that someone special to a couple of glasses of fizz matched with stunning tapas plates in a secluded venue known for its cosy corners and low-lit ambience.
Welcome to Callooh Callay, where cocktails like this little beauty are the norm. The only reason not to bring that crush of yours here is that - really - how do you improve on this for your second date? Consistently recognised as one of the very finest cocktail bars in London, this is an intriguing and quirky hangout with lots of intimate corners to enjoy a few drinks in. For something extra special, check out their infamous Jubjub Bar.
If you are on a first date night in London then you want to play it cool but casual. How about taking them to The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, a London bar which you have to enter via a Smeg fridge! Walk through the fridge, to the secret basement bar that feels very special and will have your date very impressed with your in-the-know choice!
A sumptuous space of warmth, mystery and magic, Oriole leaves the stressful streets of London behind in favour of a glorious, disconnected outside world. Settle in for drinks with an exotic influence; exquisite drinks are made offering tastes and flavours from all corners of the globe here. There’s grazing plates if you’re peckish, and live entertainment comes in the form of live jazz, swing and blues music throughout the week.
Bounce’s buzzing atmosphere and playful nature will quickly get rid of any first date nerves. Found just a little walk away from Old Street in the heart of Shoreditch, bond over a few games of ping-pong (remembering it’s just a game throughout) then chat over delicious Italian cuisine and cocktails afterwards.
After a first date that’s going to be hard to forget? We’ve got just the ticket. Step forward The Little Yellow Door, a secretive pop-up concept fashioned on a quirky Notting Hill living room. Kooky in every sense of the word, menus are hand-written on magazines and regulars are entrusted with their own key and personal mug here. We’d suggest coming on Friday, when The Wandering Chef host a memorable dinner party filled with eating, drinking and merriment deep into the evening.
Imagine rocking up to a first date and whisking your love interest 180 metres into the sky for cocktails atop one of London’s most famous skyscrapers. We can make this happen. Normally reserved for private members only, we’ve had a word with the guys at Searcy’s and secured exclusive access to the top of the glass dome for DMN users; where beautiful cocktails and sweeping views of the city’s skyline await.
The world famous Long Bar in London is ready to welcome you into their expert cocktail making arms for an unforgettable first date in London. Sit at the 80 foot long bar and work your way through the delicious cocktails and admire the unique art work scattered around to get the laughter going. For more intimate conversation escape to the Courtyard, where candles will light up your date.
Barnyard is the perfect plot for breaking the ice with their charming interiors, rustic interiors and home made menu of the freshest produce. You can converse over the agricultural style of this plush little joint and enjoy a slice of rugged countryside right here in Fitzrovia.
Found is definitely a go-to for a first date in London. Somewhere that's off the beaten track, not a popular destination but still got enough intimate buzz to make for a cool atmosphere, Found is among London's coolest cocktail bars. Not only for its secretive reputation, but the mixology alone makes Found a top dog on the cocktail and dating scene.
Styled as a cosy cafe during the day and a bustling cocktail bar at night, Map Maison is a characterful, colourful spot that's perfect of a first date in London. The team of expert mixologists, armed with a collection of strange ingredients, flavoursome punches and international spirits, mix and flair together an impressive range of fun concoctions that are sure to leave a lasting impression on you. If that wasn't enough, the chefs serve up a selection of light snacks and international-inspired small plates to help ease the evening along.
Anyone for dinner and drinks with a view? Found on the 17th floor of the stylish M by Montcalm Hotel, Urban Coterie offers a stunning spot overlooking the city when that first date night rolls around. Let the conversation flow as you look out over a bustling Old Street and towards the city, the vantage point is something to behold and can be enjoyed from nearly every table in the venue.
First dates are a nerve-wracking affair but sweep your bae of their feet with this pop-up that brings a taste of Croatia to London. An award-winning chef is coming to Battersea for a month of Dalmatian delights, including divine traditional dishes and fun after-dinner entertainment.
A sure fire way to impress on a first date in London, Showtime Cabaret presents a spectacular celebration of all things fun and sexy. Welcoming only the finest stand-up comedians, the raciest of burlesque performers and the crème de la crème of circus and cabaret, this is a cabaret performance like no other. Plus, they've lined up a top secret visual climax that'll keep you talking for months.
You could always go for the tried and tested first date routine: bowling. All Star Lanes is the place to be, offering private bowling, great cocktails and some luxury karaoke booths to boot. Notch up those strikes then hang around for some American comfort food delights in the diner restaurant afterwards.
Got a case of the old first date nerves? Comedy Carnival will blow them away with their hilarious and huge stand-up show happening at Infernos. Head down to South London for performances by Sarah Pascoe and Reginald D Hunter to name a few, enjoy dinner by Mommi or Bison & Bird and get ready to laugh until your sides split.
Photo Credit: Jon Santa Cruz
Part-cafe, part-basement club, the atmosphere inside this complete gem will put you at ease straight away. It’s not a big deal whether you’re planning on visiting to try one of DSD’s quirky (and free) events or just grabbing a drink in the bar area downstairs, this is a unique space that suits first dates of all kinds within a 2-minute stroll of King's Cross.
Add a little heat to your first date at modern Indian restaurant, Cinnamon Kitchen. Entertainment is provided as you watch your meal of classic Indian food with British touches made right in front of you at the Tandoor bar so there won't be any awkward silences. There's always the outdoor terrace to get to know your date in a more chilled setting and, if all's going well, you can slip into adjoining cocktail bar Anise to continue your night with spice-infused cocktails!
Frantically scrambling around, trying to lock down a top-class venue for that first date you’ve been stressing over for ages? We’re here to let you off the hook. Make straight for The Piano Bar; Soho’s impossibly intimate, secret cocktail bar tucked away down a side-street of Soho, and enjoy an evening of cocktails and performers from some of Europe’s top jazz clubs. Second date? It’s in the bag.
Perched just off the main Islington strip, Little Bat is a cosy and comfortable neighbourhood bar that's brought to us by the cocktail whizzes behind the award-winning Callooh Callay. With banging drinks, charming vibes, plenty of quirks by candlelight and friendly service, Little Bat is an absolute must try date night venue in Angel.
Tuscanic is a delightful little deli on Old Compton Street - the ideal spot for a romantic afternoon date. Everything in this endearingly petite eatery has been imported from the farms and vineyards of Tuscany. Spend your afternoon at a rickety wooden table, grazing on sumptuous small plates together - think pastries, cheeses and olives - and marry it with a bottle of Tuscan wine too. A trip to Florence on your first date? Not bad.
Impress your date with a sophisticated soiree into Clerknewell's buzzing centre. Treat your hottie to a classy cocktail, blended with the finest, freshest ingredients into new and exciting innovations. Dinner isn't off the cards either, and we all know food is the way into anybody's good books.
How better to sweep someone off their feet than with a few glasses of fizz at a slick champers bar? Here’s where Searcy’s come into play, serving up a fine choice of tasty plates mixed in with a revamped cocktail menu and an extensive choice featuring champagnes of all varieties.
This regal nook is a must-try for anyone looking for a place to impress. 68 and Boston is an intimate Soho bar with a basement space dedicated for specialist wines and discerning labels with a dedicated cocktail bar stashed upstairs. Enjoy the best of expert mixology, beautiful wines and an ambience fit for bit of a swoon.
Based upon the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is a beautifully designed basement bar pegged as ‘part modern-day Victorian men’s club and part Masonic Lodge.’ Ideal for a relaxed first date, this vintage themed bar serves a fun yet refined list of cocktails and cheese-drenched pizzas in the heart of Covent Garden.
With a stunning interior and a wonderful a la carte menu, The Jones Family Project in Shoreditch is a great place to take your leading lady on a first date. So sit down over some prime rib, sip your glorious cocktails, and get to know each other. You'll have plenty of time, as you'll never want the night to end.
The ultimate destination for classy cocktails for a first date. Everything in this cocktail bar is stunning, from the red velvet staircase and marmour tables to the reflection of the clientele in their crystal cocktail glass. Whether it's a fantastic meal or delicious cocktails; Crazy Bear Fitzrovia has it all, making it one of London best bars.
Humble Grape is a truly charming little hangout that's sure to make your sweetheart swoon. Head down into multi-level, industrial-inspired hangout and snuggle up on a pew together. Spend your evening chatting, laughing and flirting as you sip on some premium vino in this charismatic cavern. And this isn't any old wine, Humble Grape boasts an exceptional selection of the best organic wines!
This secret restaurant and bar in the heart of Chinatown is the perfect place to impress that person you’ve always quite fancied. Tracking down Opium is by no means an easy task, but stumble upon this nondescript green door and make your way inside to find a winner of a bolthole known for its fire-cracker cocktails and delicious baskets of dim sum, with a lovely atmosphere to match.
Looking for an easy excuse to snuggle up with your new boo on your first date? We got you. Head down to the Cellar Door in Aldwych on any Sunday and sink into the banquette bench together. Share a bowl of popcorn and sip on cocktails together as this intimate bar screens cinema classics, new and old. Top tip - try to schedule your date for a Sunday in February... it's the 'Films for Lovers' month! Wingman much?
Ropewalk is an intriguing neighbourhood cocktail bar beside Bermondsey’s buzzing Maltby Street Market. A warehouse space known for its reclaimed fabrics and kooky artefacts, track down this hidden gem and enjoy a drinks menu inspired by the Disappearing Dining Club’s favourites.
POPdown launched their first interactive restaurant pop-up in April 2015, and they were voted the 6th best pop-up in the world just four months later. Back again for another delicious residency, catch them overlooking Borough Market, where they’ll be serving an Asian-styled, seasonal 5-course tasting menu to behold. Ingredients are inspired by the market traders themselves and there’s a bar serving craft beers, wines and bespoke cocktails on the ground floor.
Blink and you might miss it, but this secret little bar beneath Bishopsgate is well worth the hunt. The barebrick walls, low lighting and wooden finish give the bar an intimate feeling. Try one of their beautifully crafted cocktails and get a bite to eat from the kitchen - the toasties are a real treat.
The Parisian chic style of this luxurious Soho bar is certainly fit for impressing on a first date in London. Discover the indulgent dessert bar, Basement Sate and together you can reach a sweet nirvana lined with silky cocktails and hand made patisserie specials that are quite literally a piece of melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness.