From sky-high wonders to low-key wine bars and subterranean watering holes, these are the most romantic bars in London that should guarantee the dates keep coming...
Look out for the glam Art Deco style swing doors on the corner or keep an ear out for the live jazz and take a step back in time in one of best bars BarChick’s found in this part of town. It’s all decked up in Edwardian style, the era in which their signature cocktail was created, but with hints of glam from the twenties and thirties as well as a cocktail menu that takes you on an epic journey through the decades right into the future, it’s a head f*ck of a time warp, and we’re into it. The cocktails rock, the bartenders (big up Marian and Rusty) are some of the best in town and it's a failsafe date spot.
44 Old St, London EC1V 9AQ
From a little 20 seater shipping container in POP Brixton to the pride land (AKA Soho), the duo behind Kricket are nailing it so hard they've now opened their first bar with a modern and minimalistic take on the basement speakeasy, and it's gonna wow any date lucky enough to be taken there. SOMA is all about killer drinks made with seasonal ingredients, high-quality spirits and spices that take centre stage, all influenced by the Indian subcontinent. Don't be afraid to be adventurous - their menu may look kinda out there, but they've packed it with plenty of familiarities. PLus they've got plenty of little tables hidden behind curtains if you're feeling like a little privacy.
14 Denman St, London W1D 7HJ
We usually steer clear of rooms that can only be hired by the hour, especially when on a date, but we'll always make an exception for this nugget of Bow Lane. Hella intimate, totally hidden and completely personal, book an hour in The Brig AKA the smallest bar in London, and it's exclusively yours for an hour - the only person ya have to share it with is the bartender who will mix you up as many drinks as you like in the timeslot. No, that isn't a challenge.
The Brig at Merchant House of Bow Lane, 13 Well Court off Bow Lane, The City of London, EC4M 9DN
This is one hell of a beautiful bar. It's glam, majorly Art Deco and not for the faint-hearted when it comes to funds. Into filthy Martinis and the 1920s? Who isn’t? Hail down the lacquered Martini trolley and watch the waistcoated bartenders work their magic. Your date will be mega impressed. Promise. And after the kinda bill you’re gonna rack up at the bar, you might as well hammer the final nail in and book into an insane suite. It’ll be the stuff that legendary nights are made of, for sure.
Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL
This is one of BarChick's fail safes. First up - it's riverside, done up in elegant light blues and chromes... but what’s the real pull? Ryan Cheti’s the man behind the cocktails and to call him a legend is an understatement. Defo get a window seat so you can stare at St Paul's and the lit-up city. It’s not candlelit and there isn’t an old geezer singing Sinatra, but it’s properly romantic in a new world swanky kinda style. Seal the deal with a room upstairs in the Sea Containers, just a swagger away, and you’re winning on all fronts.
20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD
Planning on skipping town for a romantic weekend in Paris? The adventure starts early if you swing by this sexy hotel bar first. It directly links the station to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (which is where The Spice Girls filmed the music video for Wannabe, FYI) and talk about a bar with double-height grandeur! With an 8-metre tall palm tree, three pendant lights made up of 267 brass leaves and a 22-metre long bar, the Booking Office 1869 is a luxurious reimagining of the original 19th century St. Pancras ticket hall. And hey, if you miss your train to the continent, you're not far from a luxurious hotel experience upstairs. If you wanna be our lover, this is where to take us on a date.
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2AR
This Dickensian cave is the wine cellar you wish you had at home and the ultimate date spot; it’s candlelit, it’s hopelessly romantic and it’s dingy, just the way BarChick likes it. Settle in and work through the extensive wine list. Feeling faint? It’s cool: heaps of cheese and pickles are on hand to keep you level. Oh and the lighting here is on your side, so forget footsie and commit to a bonafide feel up.
47 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NE
Bloomsbury’s got itself a perfect little bolthole wine bar that looks like it was plucked right outta Paris circa the 1940s and BarChick’s in love. Everything in this place is tres vintage from the green walls to the refurbed light fixtures, dark wood panelling, foggy panes and roaring log fires. Wanna expand your horizons and chuck the sh*t Sauv in the bin? Noble Rot knows what’s up and they’ve got wicked glasses and bottles of wine from underrated countries like Croatia and Greece to prove it. They’ve even got the hard to find labels that’ll keep the wine snobs happy. Pair the vino with some fat olives and oysters and you’ve smashed date night.
51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London WC1N 3NB
Champagne in the space that used to be Prince Charles' wine cellar? Sounds pretty romantic to us. Exposed brick, vaulted ceilings, and one of the largest collections of magnums in London - tbh we're pretty impressed this basement Champagne Bar has managed to remain a secret for this long. They've got a killer plonk list, with big names like Moët et Chandon, Drappier, and Dom Périgno all the way down to the smaller houses that'll really make your date one to remember.
116 Pall Mall, St. James's, London
This subterranean bar got proper golden age New York vibes. The walls are papered in 1920's aeroplane motifs and hung with Tumulte Noir art. It'll have any date putty in your hands as soon as you've ordered your first Manhattan. Speaking of: If you're feeling in a grown-up mood, hit up the Saratoga. Its a Manhattan with attitude made with Whistle Pig Rye, Hennessy Fine de Cognac, Sweet Vermouth and a blend of bitters. What a way to start the night.
20 Sherwood St, London W1F 7ED
BarChick’s a sucker for subterranean boozers under whisky shops, so The Vault is obvs gonna be at the top of our list. If you want a 5-course spread and a penguin suit dress code, this ain’t for you; but if you dig whisky and sh*t hot cocktails, get on board. Upstairs is London’s oldest whisky shop where you can get warmed up at the tasting bar, aged single malt (or two) in hand, but downstairs is where it’s at. Give the bookcase a nudge and descend and you’ll come face to face with a dimly lit den decked out with old chesterfields and bare brick walls. Dark corners, killer cocktails and a sh*t load of character is what The Vault is about, and bars don't get much better.
3 Greek Street, London, W1D 4NX
Bars don't get much sexier than this candle-lit basement. There'll be no gaggles of skirts or groups down here so you can drink that off the scale cocktail in peace. All laid back, wooden, candle-lit and sexy, Happiness has got some serious nook and cranny tables that are bang on if you’re on a hot date or if you’re an expert drinker who wants to be on one. If there’s anywhere conducive to matching and mating, it’s this signless, hidden number. Like a good round of banter? If your date doesn’t cut it, the bartender will.
9 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU
What’s up with the name? Who cares. You’re here to get hazy and slip into a pink and gold dripping dream by way of some Frank Gehry fish lamps, Japanese whisky and raw fish. If you wanna do like BarChick, get to swiveling at the bar. Sure this place is a restaurant, and probably booked up until 2020 from the sounds of things, but drink smart and go for an early 6pm session and you’ll be laughing.
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR
Let Alan Yau sort you out this year cos chances are you’re gonna f*ck up that duck you bought from Iceland and ruin the whole night. It's all red curtains and sexy decor in China meets 1950s New York kinda way. If you’re into nostalgic romance, Dinner Dance aesthetic and sentimental crooners and pianists, this is all of that. And at 15,200 square feet, it's pretty impressive.
17 Berkeley Street, London W1S 4NF
Into forward planning? Good, cos there's about a three month wait for a table at this next-level Mexican restaurant in Marylebone. But trust us when we say: it's worth it. You'll need to flex the plastic a bit - food like this doesn't come cheap, but just think of the Airmiles. The dishes are as close to the real Mexican deal as you can get without digging out your passport, and their agave menu is legit. Kick things off with a KOL Margarita, or if you wanna impress, hit up the agave pairing menu. Those smokey spirits will taste epic with their family-style tortillas - go for the Octopus with Bone Marrow for something extra luxurious. Don't want the Mexican party to stop once you've scraped your plates clean? Then head down the spiral staircase to the Mezcaleria and let the fiesta continue with a round of Mezcal Martinis.
9 Seymour St, London W1H 7BA
Warning: if you’re not into drinking by candlelight with a two-headed taxidermy cat, this isn’t gonna be your bag. But if you’ve got a little Wednesday Adams in you, you’ll f*cking love it. Anticipating awkward silences on your first date or last date? Go to Viktor Wynd’s cos it’s dripping with conversation starters; if the weird and wonderful menu or collection of old school McDonald’s Happy Meal toys don’t give you something to talk about, the ancient dildo will. Wanna get even weirder. Follow the Green Fairy into the Absinthe Parlour, the ultimate drinker’s cabinet of wonder filled with unusual spirits.
11 Mare Street, London E8 4RP
Into Cluedo, Sherlock and 20s Prohibition? Good. First things first: you better come loaded with a good case of blackmail or alien abduction, cos you have some serious role play to do if you want to make it through that bookcase and into the bar. Leave your newfangled devices at the door (or in your pocket) and hit up the ‘hard stuff’. BarChick says every cocktail’s a winner, but if your date’s not into it, steer em toward the beer dispensing radiator. Whatever you do, the crumbling green walls, crackly Boardwalk Empire tunes and apothecary drawers will leave you and your date feeling well snug.
310c Earls Court Road, London, SW5 9BA
Feeling naughty? This Brick Lane slammer is criminally good fun. You've done the crime, now ya gotta do the time - but good news is your sentence is only for an hour and 45, and that's plenty of time to enjoy 4 crowd-pleasing cocktails made with the booze you've managed to sneak in past the warden. There's no strip search in place but if you're feeling frisky you can make your date/cellmate your prison wife after a few bevvies.
212 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
Even though they’re keeping it basic with the tried and tested New York speakeasy vibes, they’re nailing it and this is hands down one of the best bars in London. Their cocktail menu is killer and each has one hell of a serve so hit the hyper-mad cocktails if you want a liquid history lesson. Pair those drinks with some cheese/charcuterie and you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, which is sweet 'cos you’re gonna get spoilt with that live ragtime, blues and gipsy swing. It's bookings only so if you want that date to run smooth, you know what to do.
129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB
Expect the vibrancy of Mexico and the sexiness of a 1920s Harlem jazz club at this bad-ass scarlet basement bar in Stokey. Plush velvet banquet-style seating, low lighting and candles complete the seriously sassy effect. It's a vibe we are here for. This place is a hub of girl power, and the place to hit up if you're itching for a taste of some female-led live music. They have a live and diverse roster of artists jamming nightly, so you'll easily find something to suit yours and your date's tastes, and the crew from Tigre Tacos upstairs are on hand to give you a Mexican feed to pair with the fly menu of mezcal cocktails.
92 Stoke Newington High St, Clapton, London N16 7NY
Kicking it in Smithfields? Get down the stairs beneath the bridge and head through the curtain to find an upmarket tiki chic vibe with palm print walls and a touch of colonial. It's a 120 seater space with room to move (and groove). Grab one of their tables for two by the bar for your hot dates, but make sure you've got a good view of the stage, cos this place has live music at its core. Think jazz, funk, swing and blues to shake your snake hips to.
E Poultry Ave, London EC1A 9LH
Take a ride up to the 40th floor of the Heron Tower and you’ll hit one of London’s highest bars where you could chill face to face with The Shard and The Gherkin. Fretting about last call? Don’t. This baby's got a 24-hour license which means your date doesn;t have to end. Espresso Martinis at 5am? Sure. Breakfast at midnight? Whatever. When London shuts down and goes dark, this is where you wanna be.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Great Gatsby, eat your heart out. This dark and mysterious Art Deco-inspired oasis sits high and mighty on the 24th floor and has one hell of a view of the lit-up city. Show your date a grand time with their new, puntastic cocktail list. Hungry? Jason Atherton's behind the food so you probably should get some snacks at least. BarChick swears by this place, it does the trick every time.
Tower 42, Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ
Wanna swank it up in Mayfair with your bae? The 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton brings fly views across London, and there's not a better place to bathe in that golden hour light than in this sexy duel aspect bar. Play a game of spot the landmark and plan your quickest route back to yours while sipping on a couple of boutique-brand made cocktails.
10° at Galvin at Windows, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London