The Date Guy makes a good point. You want to make sure your first online date has anecdotal value – even if you are only going out for a drink tres casual. This means finding somewhere that your date can then talk about for the rest of the week and what does that mean? Well, that you are top of their mind all week of course. Finding somewhere that will keep them talking is the tough bit but as always, Our Graham is here with a little help. This week go for a tipple in one of our Top 5 bars for dates.
Calooh Callay 65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY
Head through the wardrobe entrance, Narnia-style, into this wonderland of a cocktail bar. With drinks called From Nancy With Love, Seve’nth Heaven (as in the Deep Purple song, we hope?) and Peachy Keen you can match your dating mood to your liquid intakes.Will it be a 24 Carrot Gold date or a French Bank (a pound more expensive but we’re pretty sure we know which we’d prefer) or if you really want to splash just over £50 on a cocktail you can get a If you don’t Gnome me by now– the perfect one for sharing they say.
The Sherlock Holmes 10-11 Northumberland Street, Westminster, WC2N 5DB
This is a traditional London pub in all senses of the word but, as with the eponymous sleuth, it’s also pretty off the wall. The stuffed head of the Hound of the Baskervilles above the bar is literally off the wall (plenty of potential for feigned shock and falling into his/her arms – honestly boys, the girls will be touched if you show a little weakness). More surprising still is the faithful reproduction of Sherlock’s study upstairs. With Benedict Cumberbatch coming back to the Beeb soon, there are multiple oppurtunities for speculative ‘Whodunnit’ conversations in this drinkery.
The Doodle Bar 33 Parkgate Road, Battersea, SW11 4NP
Admittedly it’s a bit utilitarian in design, but in this coverted warehouse you needn’t bother whispering sweet nothings to each other in a corner, you can scrawl your witticisms on the walls. Founded by the architect Will Alsop, who is best known for bright, modernist designs like the new Peckham Library, the place continues his aesthetic and fun loving existence with ping pong tournaments and life drawing. Somewhere for a light laugh and hopefully not a sketchy date.
Harvey Nichol’s cocktail making class 109-125 Knightsbridge London SW1X 7RJ
If you want to pull out all the stops literally and metaphorically speaking, Harvey Nick’s cocktails puts you in charge of the bar. As the drinks are passed around for the whole class to have a taste of the concoctions it’s a sociable date that can take the pressure off (and check out how your date reacts in a bigger group if you’re into the sociological side of things). Basically it’s always fun mixing concoctions of alcohol together and here’s a chance to do it in a sophisticated setting – and plenty of opportunity to pull out Bond “shaken not stirred” lines. Plus, God forbid, if your date isn’t quite what you expected there’ll be enough people to dilute the issue.
The Oxo Tower Bar Southwark, London, SE1 9GY
Maybe one of the more obvious hits on the dating bar circuit but playing the what’s that on the London skyline game will keep you occupied for at least…five minutes. A cheeky way to work out vaguely where your date lives (not that Our Graham would promote any over keen address hunting) and do the standing-behind-hug-while-looking-at-the-view thing. The design is nice, it feels special, a bit swanky and like you can live the high life – even if it’s just for an evening. Be warned that they are militant about reservations but the original range of cocktails is worth it. Feed your date a little Truth Serum: Truth or, er, dare?