Summer is the ideal season for starting new relationships as it offers a plethora of glorious first-date opportunities. Al fresco dining at Tom’s Terrace? Tick. A lazy afternoon strolling around Kew? No worries. Pedalos on the Serpentine? You bet. But when the cold hits – and parks and other outdoor venues become no-go zones – your options are drastically reduced.
That’s why we’re here to help you out. From a cosy dinner at Soho’s destination restaurant to a screening at the coolest retro cinema about, these are the finest ways to impress on a first date while remaining safe from the elements…
When the weather drops to near-Arctic conditions, make sure to head over to Soho for a warming culinary experience at the renowned Sketch Gallery. With an omnipresent palette of pink (including the walls, tables and booths), there are few places that can trump London’s most instagrammable restaurant when it comes to romance. Start your evening at the intimate Glade Bar and order the Peach Melba and Mon Cherry, both of which are downright delicious and – surprise, surprise – pink. When it comes to food, you can’t go wrong with the “Carlingford oysters” and “Sketch Chocolate”, the most ideal sumptuous aphrodisiacs you can gorge on.
Although you may be keen to catch this winter’s must-watch films, you should probably avoid a visit to the Odeon for your first date. After all, we can’t think of a bigger mood killer than witnessing Kylo Ren attempt to destroy Luke Skywalker and co. For something a tad more sophisticated, take your date back to the golden era of cinema-going at Islington’s Screen on the Green. Founded in 1913, this single-screen cinema wins punters over through its old-school charm: the exterior is fitted with a neon façade, the interior is kitted-out with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and only alternative films are on show here. In the upcoming weeks, you can choose from a selection of indie flicks such as Ingrid Goes West and The Florida Project.
Many deem it to be feminine, but only a real man is willing to show off his expressive side. And luckily, pottery has earned some serious romantic credentials thanks to that scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost. So, if you want to exhibit your artistic arsenal, you’ll be sure to impress at Fulham’s Pottery Café, an endearing venue where both you and your date will indulge in a session of crafts and creativity.
This elegant and understated eatery by legendary chef Skye Gyngell is a gourmand’s heaven. Polished white pillars are planted near the kitchen, a vase of fresh foliage sits in the centre of the room and crisply-ironed tablecloths are draped over tables. To add to this seductive setting, the ceiling lights project a soft haze over diners, creating a dreamlike ambience. For an truly special experience, make sure to book a table for the evening.
Snug and alluring, this tiny watering hole in Soho can only seat a handful of people, which automatically makes it a go-to spot if you’re wanting an intimate first date. The fact that there’s no standing space means that it never feels muggy or crowded, so grab a Bellini (or four) and enjoy each other’s presence. You may not want to spend all night here, but it’s the perfect way to charm your date via some Italian glamour.
Looking for more things to do in London? Here’s our favourite restaurants you have to eat at.