Rumour has it that when cupid is lacking in inspiration 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 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 man 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.
Aeronaut’s dedication to all things airborne will take you and your date sky high. During the day their rooftop bar is a perfect spot for laidback, high quality al fresco dining with a variety of different menus; brunches, sharing platters and special BBQ offerings. When evening comes around the venue ups the ante and transforms into a high-risk, high-flying circus as acrobats swing, tumble and twirl from the rafters. Sip on Laines craft beer brewed in house or a cocktail from Aeronaut’s very own G&T dedicated bar.
3. Roof East
Summer may be coming to an end but Roof East is still flying high and is a solid choice for a great first date. Play a round of crazy golf, tuck in to Korean wraps or Peruvian meats, and then settle down for a cosy evening watching Love Actually (15th September) or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (16th September). The Roof East Bar is open until 11pm each night but if you’re looking for something that little bit special, head down (or up) before September 17th for a Saturday afternoon of gin tasting.
4. Christabel’s Edible Playground
Calling all foodies! Take a trip to Christabel’s, get involved with some friendly childhood classic games like Jenga or Snakes and Ladders, and then tuck in to the remaining contents! A completely unique food and craft experience; this really is as a tasty and memorable as it sounds. For so many years you were told that playing with your food, especially on a date, was a no go. Now Christabel’s are ripping up the rulebook and readily encouraging a contagiously playful, immersive spread.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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
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-come-bar-come-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. 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.
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.