12 Romantic Midwinter Dates

When Samuel Johnson declared, "He who is bored of London is bored of life," we're pretty sure he'd just been on a double date to play UV ping-pong in W10. Our fair city is by far the best place for being single. Or, for being in a relationship. Or, for just having fun. Let's put it this way: You'll never be short of downright impressive places to take your next hot date.
And, since the weather is (finally) getting chilly, we've picked the cosiest among them from subterranean speakeasies to nomadic restaurants. Get ready for some romance!

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Photo: Courtesy of Duck & Waffle.
Duck & Waffle
Duck & Waffle brings a touch of NYC-style 24-hour action to London (and not a moment too soon). Yes, that’s right: This is the capital’s only round-the-clock restaurant. We really can’t think of many more romantic dates than a midnight supper overlooking the twinkling London skyline. Sigh.

Duck & Waffle, 40th Floor, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N; +44 (0)20 3640 7310.
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Photo: Courtesy of Duck & Waffle.
Enjoy a candlelit supper for two, any time of the day — or night.
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Photo: Courtesy of Punchdrunk.
The website for the immersive, hallucinatory theatre company Punchdrunk, describes its latest offering as a journey that "follows its protagonists along the precipice between illusion and reality." But, it's so much more than that. The Drowned Man is set in a seedy Hollywood underworld and requires audience members to wear masks while walking through the vast three-story warehouse where the play takes place. It's unnerving, full of intrigue, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for a little mischief-making. A mighty entertaining night out is had by all.

Punchdrunk, Temple Studios, 31 London Street, W2; +44 (0)20 7452 3000.
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Photo: Courtesy of Punchdrunk.
In the mood for a little role play?
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Photo: Courtesy of The Worship Street Whistling Shop.
The Worship Street Whistling Shop
Where better to take your date than an intimate subterranean bar where the cocktails are lethal and the lights are so flatteringly low that you have to use the torch on your iPhone to find the toilets? Okay, not really, but the ambience in here is seductive to say the least. Chesterfield sofas, shadowy nooks, and an Old-World appeal help to give the bar a clandestine vibe. It even boasts an in-house lab and a dram shop, where you’re handed a key to a gin-filled cabinet (joy of joys) and pay for what you’ve consumed at the end of the evening.

The Worship Street Whistling Shop, 63 Worship Street, EC2A; +44 (0)20 7247 0015.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Worship Street Whistling Shop.
The drinks are sweet and strong at the Whistling Shop.
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Photo: Courtesy of Attendant.
The Attendant
Rather inspired, The Attendant is a former Victorian gentleman’s, um, public lavatory, which laid dormant for more than 50 years. Now, reinvented into the quirkiest of eateries, the ironwork gates are open, the urinals have been converted into a seating line, and breakfast, lunch, cakes and tea are served daily (we recommend the almond milk porridge).

The Attendant, Downstairs, 27a Foley Street, W1W; +44 (0)20 7637 3794.
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Photo: Courtesy of Attendant.
Want to spend a penny?
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Photo: Courtesy of HintHunt.
You need all your wits about you for this one. HintHunt is a live escape game, where you're given a pile of clues, cyphers, and red herrings and exactly one hour to get out of a locked room. Only 50% of people make it. They kill the rest. Just kidding, but you’ll have to deal with the shame of your failures.

HintHunt, 72-76 Eversholt Street, NW1; no phone.
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Photo: Courtesy of HintHunt.
Can you beat the clock?
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Photo: Courtesy of the Experimental Cocktail Club.
The Experimental Cocktail Club
Behind a peeling, almost-impossible-to-find door in Chinatown, there lies the wonderfully-named Experimental Cocktail Club. It's a candlelit, secretive bar, where the crafty concoctions will knock your socks off. Sultry and decadent, it’s the perfect date spot on a rainy winter’s eve, when you want nothing more than a stiff drink and to cosy up to your companion, whoever they may be.

The Experimental Cocktail Club, 13a Gerrard Street, W1D; click here for reservations.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Experimental Cocktail Club.
Can we buy you a drink?
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Photo: Courtesy of Ping Tron.
Ping Tron
Are you a bit of a show-off — or, maybe just in the market for something different from the age-old dinner-and-a-movie combo? Then UV ping-pong has your name written all over it. It’s an all-black venue illuminated only by ultraviolet paint on the table edges, net, balls, and paddles. You won’t be able to see your date’s face, but if you prefer to judge them based on their table tennis skills alone, this is the spot for you. Oh, and there’s a really good bar where you celebrate or commiserate afterwards.

Ping Tron, Westbourne Studios, 242 Acklam Road, W10; +44 (0)20 7575 3123.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ping Tron.
Jeff Bridges has nothing on these guys.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Electric Cinema.
The Electric Cinema
It’s a glorious concept: double beds — at the cinema. To be honest, that was enough to win us over. But, should you need further convincing, there’s also cashmere blankets, leather sofas (in case lying in bed is a little too — y’know — forward on a first date), and a smorgasbord of snacks including homemade doughnuts. The theatre also boasts an expertly-curated programme that leans towards the slightly more intellectual/arty side of things.

The Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Road, W11; +44 (0)20 7908 9696.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Electric Cinema.
Will this be where your Love Story begins?
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Photo: Courtesy of Gingerline.
Merging performance art, food, and design, Gingerline is a nomadic dining experience which takes place in ever-changing locations along the East London line. It goes something like this: You book, wait near a station on the Gingerline (the colour of the East London line on the tube map) at 6 p.m., get a text with the location, find it, and eat to your heart's content. It's the adventurers' dinner date of choice.

Somewhere on the East London Overground Line.
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Photo: Courtesy of Gingerline.
Will you find love on the East London line?
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Photo: Courtesy of Simon Drake's House of Magic.
Simon Drake’s House of Magic
Any evening which begins with wandering through an enchanted garden is bound to be a good ‘un. Eminent magician Simon Drake has converted a Victorian pub into an opulent, bewildering pleasure dome, where magicians, clairvoyants, contortionists, sword swallowers, vampires, and illusionists entertain you. It’s a cross between an Old-World bar and an eerie curiosity shop with music, drinks, dinner, and dancing 'til the wee hours. Oh, and don't miss the haunted basement tour by the butler. Mind. Blown.

Address available by booking only (it is in central London, though).
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Photo: Courtesy of Simon Drake's House of Magic.
Are you ready to put a spell on your boo?
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Photo: Courtesy of the Mayor of Scaredycat Town.
The Mayor of Scaredycat Town
It’s time to show your date just how well-versed you are in all the secret, too-cool-for-school spots in London town. Right up there is this little gem. Enter through a Smeg fridge in the corner of Spitalfields’ Breakfast Club. Ask to see the mayor and you’re ushered into a speakeasy, whose owners have their tongue planted firmly in their cheek. You get a free drink if your name is Garfield. You’ll have to prove it, though.

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, 12-16 Artillery Lane, E1; +44 (0)20 7078 9639.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Mayor of Scaredycat Town.
The Mayor is nowhere to be found.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Evans & Peel Detective Agency.
Evans & Peel Detective Agency
An unassuming frosted door in a side street. A perilously steep staircase. And, a murder you need to clear your name for. Well, that’s what you have to explain to the detective grilling you from behind his paper-strewn desk on entering this secret eatery. Think of it as payment for entry. Make up a wild story. Add in a little too much detail. Freak your date out, then make them pay for the Prohibition-style cocktails (served in thrifted medicine bottles) and pulled pork sliders. Everyone’s a winner, no?

Evans & Peel Detective Agency, 310c Earl’s Court Road, SW5; +44 (0)20 7373 3573.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Evans & Peel Detective Agency.
Will you fall hook, line, and sinker at the Evans & Peel detective agency?

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