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TOP 5 LONDON BARS FOR A FIRST DATE
OUR FAVOURITE DATE-FRIENDLY BEER JOINTS IN THE BIG SMOKE
You've cleaned your nails, flossed and manicured your man-garden to its most presentable state in months. What other boxes need ticking in preparation for a first date? Oh yeah, the condoms. In my experience every wallet has some kind of condom-ejector seat built into it. Although One-Eyed Willy's Eye Patch has been safely hibernating in the coin compartment for the past 6 months, it seemingly gets activated when the waitress arrives with the bill and out it flies, nailing its landing on the silver dish with the accuracy of a Chinese acrobat. So perhaps keep the ol' boy in the coin pocket of your jeans. Lastly, the venue! You want somewhere you can both feel comfortable, that reflects class and sophistication (sadly your bedsit and the local Wetherspoons, although an adequate description of your personality, will neither impress nor seduce). So here are London's Top 5 Bars for first dates.
Tucked away down Rivington Street in the heart of Hoxton, this little gem of a place (Callooh Callay) has both intrigue and mystery. The cocktail menu is reasonable, the staff are chatty and know their onions. Even the toilet has its own charm, lined with retro cassette tapes with scented candles forgiving any pungent odours. But the real magic is hidden behind a secret wardrobe, which is a portal to an exclusive VIP area. Lit by candles in half pint tankers, lined with mirrors and tables fashioned from old antique Singer treadles complete with the original cast iron legs. Enchanting, romantic and stylish.
Megaro Bar presents a unique blend of original cocktails, spirits, wines and beers from around the globe, all served in a decadent, timeless setting. Tucked away beneath the Karpo restaurant opposite London's King Cross, it's part classic film set, part fancy bordello (complete with vintage tripods, worn leather director’s chairs and red velvet curtain-shrouded naughty corners). The menu, much like the vintage theatre programme it emulates, divides itself into acts, inviting you into a journey packed with plot twists, character development and the odd sound effect. The barman even sets light to your drink which is borderline pretentious, but let’s face it, looks the nails.
Portobello Star Bar
Ok, so it helps if you and your date likes gin. But even if she doesn't "He who dares GINS". The tranquil ambiance allows for an intimate introduction, with some delightful antiquated surroundings. Either tuck yourself away in the mirrored snug, adorned with a beautiful Portobello Star logo print on the brickwork, or sneak away into a ceramic-tiled corner whilst you and your potential squeeze plough through the cocktail menu like Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Now hands up, I can't say I've taken a date to the Nightjar but my friend Trevor has a 100% batting average in this place. In this Speakeasy-style subterranean bar in East London you will be serenaded with live jazz and blues and have a plethora of cocktails and rare spirits to choose from. If you and your date are the kind that look better in the dark, or have both lied about your age on your online profile, then the intimate lighting in the Nightjar will be ideal. The surroundings are spectacularly vintage and steeped in character. Remember ladies, if you find yourself in The Nightjar with a guy who likes to talk about his Audi A3 and goes by the name of Trevor, then you're in for a treat.
Sager and Wilde
Whilst Sager and Wilde might sound like a top-end brand of talcum powder, designed specifically to keep your nut sack cool whilst on holiday in Dubai, it is in fact a deliciously characteristic wine bar just off Hackney Rd in East London. The elongated bar styled from street tiles fused with industrial iron grate strips is worth the price of admission alone (Although it's free to get in, it's just an expression). The wines are appropriately priced but ensure she puts her hand in her pocket as well, this is the noughties after all.