Dating 101: 13th November
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Here’s a little secret: we secretly suspect that there are some venues in London where we would be capable of seducing anyone in the entire world. Florence Nightingale, Cruella De Vil, Ross Kemp - put 'em here, with us, and we'll woo the heck out of them. They’re a rare breed we call the Late Night Cafe: dimly lit, laid-back neighbourhood joints that combine cocktails, tasty dishes and a soulful soundtrack with neither the noise of a pub nor the formalities of a restaurant.
Louie Louie is firmly on that chic-cafe-morphs-into-vibey-restaurant-and-cocktail-den tip. Good coffee, good brunch and good bakes dominate the day, but really you wanna head here when the sun disappears and evening descends.
That’s when a revolving kitchen residency provides the small plates, a vintage hi-spec sound system provides the crisp jams and skilled bartenders get to work on original, tongue-teasing cocktails. Heading downstairs to the dark drinking den with a couple of cocktails in hand and that groove in your ears should provide all the fuel you need for some intimate convos - and some even more intimate smooching.
Isreali-inspired Bernstein’s Bar is a slice of Tel-Aviv cool sitting on a corner of Chatsworth Road. Sourcing plenty of their bits locally, you and boo can chow down on some Middle Eastern comfort (the fish, meat and cheese boards even have sharing as part of their name!), whilst sipping on spritz, craft beer or fine wines. It's vibey and lively, setting the scene for that early evening bite to evolve into something a lil' more serious.
Catalyst is a low-key gem of a spot in an area rich in pretty dime-a-dozen cafes. It's only open late on Thursday and Friday, but that's when this minimalist, light space becomes something so chilled and relaxing you might even fall asleep if you're not careful - something we don't advocate for a date. It's cocktails, craft beer, and wine alongside dishes like avo baba ganoush on sourdough or the halloumi katsu & fried egg sandwich. You want something tranquil to calm those nerves, this is the one.
Cable Bar & Cafe is a cosy pine nook that oozes laid-back suave. Tucked a hop, skip and a jump away from Oval station, it's a prime date night choice as evening descends and their intimate wooden tables and cubby holes fill up with couples on the search for a little connection. Every Tuesday there’s free live jazz, which could feasibly go down a treat. Assuming your date likes jazz - and when did assumptions ever hurt in the quest for luv?
Converted from a warehouse into an upcycled multi-purpose space, Hatch does a lil' bit of everything. But for the purpose of making another human like you (always remember that's the aim - repeat it to yourself if you have to), they have a happy hour between 5-7pm, suitably easy sharing plates such as mezze or halloumi flatbreads, and a real lively, communal vibe. You might also stumble upon an art workshop, a talk or a film - which could cement your creative credentials.
In a space perfectly utilising the edgy-industrial surrounds of the railway arch it finds itself in, The IOL is at once an audio-lounge, Japanese restaurant, vinyl store and art bookshop. And it's a terrifically sensory place for romancing - particularly as night falls and the huge hi-fi speakers begin to fill the space with just the right melodies to ease those negronis down your neck, and delicious Japanese pancakes into your belly.
'What, are we going to the theatre!?' Will likely be your beb's response at seeing you roll up to Park Theatre Cafe Bar. Close, but not quite. Instead, it's the cafe bar they've got here which is an intimate, under-the-radar location for a date. It's got a loungey, tranquil kind of vibe to it that becomes more lively in the evening when a changing menu of home-made seasonal plates and craft beers and cocktails act as the stimulus for some hot, passionate, earnest conversation.