Rumour has it that when cupid is lacking in first date ideas he makes a quick phone call to the creative folk at DesignMyNight. We decided to skip the middle man, cut out cupid and go straight to the source to find the best date ideas including boozy afternoon teas in Birmingham, Mad Men speakeasy bars in Manchester and sky high cinemas in London. Ladies, these are Britain’s best first date bars and they are guaranteed to leave your date coming back for more.
1. Searcys | The Gherkin
Searcys | The Gherkin has ‘memorable first impression’ written all over it.. Usually a members’ club and located in the pinnacle of one of London’s most famous landmarks; DesignMyNight offers exclusive access to a bar with incredible, 360 degree views of the surrounding city. Once you’ve dragged yourself from the lofty glass windows, sit down for a meal prepared by acclaimed and Michelin-trained chef, Barry Tonks. Enjoy tipples that include bubble-gum vodka, calvados or coffee-infused rye whiskey that bring an exciting and unique fresh feel to London’s cocktail scene. This is a venue that is guaranteed to take your breath away.
2. Victorian Bath House
One of London’s most secretive, premier bars, The Victorian Bath House is a self-described venue like no other. A stone’s throw away from London’s first ever bath house, this unique venue in Bishopsgate may not be as public as its former namesakes, but it’s certainly as popular. Their commitment to exclusivity is paramount and made clear through a ‘by appointment only’ reservation policy. Tucked down a pathway and a flight of stairs, finding the entrance may prove to be harder than first imagined. Once you've found your way in, treat yourself to a deserved tipple from a ‘Ginspiration’ menu in this grand building steeped in decadence.
3. The Little Yellow Door
If you are looking for something slightly quirkier The Little Yellow Door’s flatshare-themed bar in Notting Hill will be your cup of tea. Grab your detective trench coat and decipher their midweek emoji menu, invite your date over to a Friday evening four-course dinner prepared by your very own flatmate, or crash one of their infamous Saturday night house parties. If you still need some convincing, afternoon tea is served with a healthy splash of alcohol to help ignite your weekend. Drink from your own mug, get comfortable on a sofa or get competitive over a board game in a living room setting voted Notting Hill’s Best Bar.
4. Flight Club
Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it because Flight Club have made darts cool “again”. A variety of games, ‘flight’ bites and a clever electronic scoring board (mental maths becomes a lot harder after a few cocktails) will ensure you and your date get off to a flyer. Whether you hit bullseye or accidentally land a dart in that guy’s drink (please don’t), Flight Club will be on hand to offer signature shots and deliciously-bespoke cocktails. If you feel like you are onto a winner, Flight Club offer the ‘Diddles Trophy’ sharing cocktail, a sure fire way to add a touch of intimacy to your date.
5. Bounce Old Street
Quite deservedly, Bounce has taken London by storm. Branches in Holborn and Old Street are sure to make for one of the funnest dates you’ll go on… ever. Choose from 30 minute to 2 hour tables and let the games commence. Whether you’re looking for passionate play or a partner more laidback and easygoing, a game of table tennis will decide all. Once you’re all ping ponged out, head over to their restaurant area for a comprehensive selection of tasty Italian dishes.
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6. Drink Shop & Do
Cafe by day, bar by night, Drink Shop & Do is one of London’s hippest joints with a dirty little secret. Around the corner from King’s Cross station and imbedded in one of London’s old red light districts, DJs spin records over the weekend in a downstairs bar once used as a porn shop. True to their roots, you can find Naughty Nipple Tassel parties and Temporary Tattoo Parlours that will leave you giggling and gawping. If you are looking for something slightly more innocent head down during the day for activities like Unicorn Pinata Making, Indeedy’s Musical Bingo or 3D Drawing.
7. Tempest Inn - Brighton
Caving, like dating can be a claustrophobic, panic-inducing experience. Luckily The Tempest Inn have recognised these god awful emotions and created a truly unique, comforting environment. Enjoy the relaxed, casual atmosphere whilst sharing crab boil pots or take it up a notch with one of The Tempest Inn’s bottomless brunches available throughout September. Once last orders have been and gone, head out on to the beach for a stroll down Brighton’s finest attraction.
8. Pen & Pencil - Manchester
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is awash with great bars, but if you are looking to add a touch of early 20th Century American style, Pen & Pencil is the place to go. Head down from 10am for a selection of brunches served on sourdough and a variety of exotic smoothies. If you’re interested in a slightly later date, Pen & Pencil also promise heady DJs and boozy cocktails come the evening. Here’s to hoping your only taste of Mad Men will come from Pen & Pencil’s classic cocktails and boilermakers, rather than the fella across the table.
9. Jekyll & Hyde - Birmingham
'Jack of all trades, master of none' is an idea never quite grasped by the clever folk behind Birmingham’s finest pub-cum-bar-cum-restaurant. They’ve taken the wisdom of Jekyll and the excitement of Hyde to create a beast that serves all. From cocktail masterclasses to craft ale, quiz nights in an Alice In Wonderland garden to afternoon tea in their sophisticated Victorian Gin Parlour; if your date isn’t left impressed we suggest ditching him and taking another to one of their funk, soul and Latin nights instead.
10. Bar Soba - Glasgow
This fashionable bar situated in the heart of Glasgow is the perfect haunt should authentic pan-Asian food with thirst-quenching cocktails tickle your fancy. If the dim, low level lighting in the downstairs bar fails to spark an intimate connection, Soba have partnered up with Sailor Jerry’s to offer a cocktail masterclass and a two course meal sure to break the thickest of ice. Over the weekend DJs play party starting beats that will keep you and your partner dancing until the wee hours.
For more great first date bars and to find out what’s on in London head over to DesignMyNight and follow them on Twitter @DesignMyNight.