It’s Valentine’s weekend, so here’s a quick post of my top 5 places in London for a romantic drink. Forget dinner, grab yourself an M&S deal and head out for drinks instead:
If you want to impress, this will do it. Although they have a dress code (no trainers or kids after 6pm), the atmosphere is fairly relaxed and up at level 31 it feels more New York than London. With panoramic floor to ceiling views of the city below, it’s easy to get dazzled by the bright city lights. Just don’t get too carried away as it’s quite easy to only have a few drinks and end up with a £100 bar bill….! Prop yourself up at the bar for a bit while you skulk for a table, people normally only stay for one or two drinks. Bookings are only taken when dinning with Aqua Shard beforehand, but it’s large and open plan so easy to mooch for seat if you don’t mind hovering for 10 mins.
Best for: Something special + views
Closest tube: London Bridge
Link: Aqua Shard
Gordon’s Wine Bar
This was one of my first go-to bars when I moved to London. It’s only a few steps from Embankment tube, but you could easily miss the small doorway entrance that leads to this cosy underground drinking den. An impressive 19th-century wine bar with rustic tables and chairs in vaulted cellars, and ‘with original Dickensian-style décor’. Grab a wine list and settle in on a cold night; it’s all candle lit, so it’s super romantic. You can’t book so go early, those who get a seat stay there all night – it’s a small place and completely oversubscribed these days thanks to the internet.
Best for: Feeling cosy + wine lovers.
Closest tube: Embankment
Link: Gordon’s Wine Bar
The Sky Garden
This is an alternative to Aqua Shard and feels a little less pretentious. A much less crowded space than at The Shard but equally impressive views; not panoramic, but you won’t be bored. Take a romantic stroll through the otherworldly sky garden if you are running short on conversation. The coffees here are equally as good as the cocktails, so good for a nightcap. No booking necessary.
Best for: Something to have up your sleeve
Closest tube: Monument
Link: The Sky Garden
The Reverend JW Simpson
An almost secret bar in the heart of Fitzrovia, this is a cellar cocktail bar with a cool, trendy vibe. No hipsters allowed. It’s styled kind of shabby chic, but is definitely more chic. The tables are intimate and the cocktail menu is a cute folded paper fortune teller (maybe also called a ‘chatterbox’ depending on where you went to school), with table service and canned popcorn as complimentary. It’s run by the same people of B&H Buildings and Bourne & Hollingsworth round the corner from this, so has very good connections. The good news is you can book a table – very Fitzrovia.
Best for: Cocktails
Closest tube: Goodge Street
Link: The Reverend JW Simpson
Avoid Friday nights here unless you’re looking to exchange your date for a city boy. This is a sophisticated bar with equally sophisticated prices. The architecture of the building compliments and exaggerates the imposing view of St Paul’s Cathedral across the road. Unusually for London, it also has a nice outdoor rooftop area perfect for smokers that still has a great view – I was once here in the summer and saw a guy proposing outside on the rooftop! You can only book if you commit to a minimum spend, so go early to avoid a queue.
Best for: City vibes + something more lively
Closest tube: St Pauls
Happy drinking and happy Valentine’s Day!