Panicking about where to go on your first date? We’ve got it covered. From snug speakeasies to swanky cocktail haunts, take your pick from our amorous edit of chic first date bars, guaranteed to set the scene for the most intimate of evenings…
Celebrate ‘50s Italian culture at Bar Termini’s pocket-sized Soho den. Pull up a pew at the bar and work your way through Tony Conigliaro's cocktail list, or indulge your date with his signature negronis for aperitivo hour.
7 Old Compton St, Soho, W1D 5JE
Pull out all the stops and take your date up to the glamorous atrium bar at Aqua Shard. A romantic setting, particularly at night; when you and your date can admire London’s landmark monuments glinting below with a glass of Champagne in hand.
Level 31, The Shard, 31 Saint Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
The Blind Pig
Aptly named after the prohibition’s illegal boozy underworld – ‘blind pig’ was the nickname given to illicit drinking dens – Jason Atherton’s Blind Pig will transport you and your date into a world of underground debauchery, for a date with a side of naughtiness.
58 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7NR
The Fumoir At Claridge's
Claridge’s glamorous ‘30s-inspired gem is the perfect spot for an intimate nightcap. Curl up on the plush leather seating with a cocktail in hand – the ultimate scene for seduction.
Claridge's, Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
The Punch Room, Berner’s Tavern
The epitome of understated opulence, The Punch Room at Berner’s Tavern has all the makings of an intimate and cosy first date.
10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NP
For a guaranteed fun-filled first date, head to Bounce to share cocktails and pizza with a side of ping pong.
Locations in Farringdon and Old Street
Dripping in old-school glamour, Shoreditch’s seductive speakeasy comes with the buzz of live jazz and a punchy cocktail list.
129 City Road, Shoreditch, EC1V 1JB
Ham Yard Hotel
You could spend days in this Soho hipster hangout, but the bar is the best part. With quirky-meets-trendy interiors and a delicious selection of small plates designed to share, this is a super cool setting for a romantic date night.
1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT
Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Nothing could put you more at ease on a first date than having to shimmy through a Smeg fridge to get into this secret basement bar. A quirky candle-lit den that comes complete with excellent cocktails and small food plates.
12-16 Artillery Lane, Shoreditch, E1 7LS
Long Bar at Sanderson
With a dramatic 80ft onyx light bar providing the focal point, there’s no denying the Sanderson is a go-to for an impressive first date. Sit at the sleek bar and work your way through the delicious cocktail list, or retire to the candlelit courtyard if the evening takes a more seductive swerve.
50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG
Mark’s Bar HIX
As one of Soho’s most popular cocktail haunts, the basement of HIX Soho is always packed, particularly on the weekends. Hole up at the bar and impress your date with one of Mark’s signature Scotch cocktails – it’s sure to guarantee you a second date.
66-70 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 9UP
Gordon’s Wine Bar
For a date night unlike any other, head to Gordon’s – thought to be the oldest wine bar in London. Enjoy a glass of red and a plate of cheese in the smoke-stained, candlelit cellar that time forgot.
47 Villiers Street, Embankment, WC2N 6NE
Glamourous and luxurious, The Mondrian’s Thameside watering hole has Tom Dixon’s sexy signature style written all over it. Dark, seductive and oozing with first date vibes.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD
Buried beneath Farringdon’s Smithfield’s market, Nightjar’s sultry little sister, Oriole, is an underground cabinet of curiosities. Draped velvet curtains, exotic palm trees and swathes of fur set the scene for an intimate evening of retro glamour.
East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Markets, Farringdon, EC1A 9LH
Spread out over three floors, this sprawling Chinese-themed hangout is a dim sum parlour by day and a debauched cocktail bar by night. The Apothecary Bar serves up mysterious, medicinal potions until 3am, so if you’re looking for a late-night dinner date spot, Opium covers all bases.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Covent Garden, W1D 6JE
Bring a decidedly feminine touch to date night in the pretty, powder pink set-up of The Gallery at Sketch. The David Shrigley illustrations lining the walls are sure to be a talking point.
9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, W1S 2XG
Sager + Wilde
This chic Hackney wine bar is as stylish as they come with exposed brick walls, marble-topped tables and ambient, amorous lighting. Unpretentious and undeniably romantic, work your way through the impressive wine list with a side order of cheese and charcuterie.
193 Hackney Road, Hackney, E2 8JL
Two venues in one – upstairs is a light, bright standing bar that serves up aperitifs and oysters (the ultimate aphrodisiac), while tucked underneath is a decadent whisky and cocktail lounge for after-dinner romance.
12 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4TQ
If you’re looking for all-out quirks, you won’t find better than WC – a chic wine and charcuterie bar housed in an ex-public toilet. Located directly underneath Clapham Common tube station, this lavatory-turned-bar serves up delicious cheese and cured meat options alongside a lengthy wine list.
Clapham Common South Side, Clapham, SW4 7AA