10 incredibly romantic bars in SW London and Surrey
10 incredibly romantic bars in SW London and Surrey
Valentine’s Day is coming, and it’s coming fast! Hatty Willmoth reveals London and Surrey’s most gorgeous romantic bars for a perfect date night…
Top picture: Mr Fox, Croydon
With Valentine’s is fast approaching, there’s no better time to invite a bit of sparkle and romance into our lives. If you’re looking to whisk your special someone away to a plush bar and melt together in the magic of soft lighting and delicious drinks, look no further. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the top ten most romantic bars in south west London and Surrey.
Lost Society, Battersea, SW11 4LS
First on our list is Lost Society in Battersea, which has recently undergone a makeover. Now a feast for all the senses, this pick is filled with lavish art deco velvet and brass furnishings. Enjoy seasonally selected craft cocktails in their plush bar, cosy lounge or slick monochrome botanical. Dance with your lovely one to one of their regular DJs or acoustic performers, and indulge in their feel-good food, all with a creative Lost Society twist. Depending on which day of the week you visit, you can also take advantage of a Happy Hour, Bottomless Brunch or Sunday Roast with Bottomless Bubbles.
28°-50°, South Kensington, SW3 3AD
Next up is the pretty-in-pink 28°-50° wine workshop and kitchen in South Kensington, a relatively small venue oozing with class. This place has great service. In-house expert sommeliers will help you navigate an extensive wine list which they say ranges from the “affordable and quaffable” to the “high-end and even more quaffable”, but might be more accurately described as various shades of “high-end and extremely quaffable”. If you and your beau are after something extra special, peruse their unique ‘Collectors’ List’ of fine wines from several private collections and try unusual and mature grapes rarely seen in London restaurants. Pair your vin with elegant French and modern European cuisine from Executive Chef Julien Baris’s carefully curated menu of light bites, charcuterie and substantial plates. Enjoy all this downstairs to an incessantly cool soundtrack, often performed by live DJs, or head upstairs for a little more hush.
601 Queen’s Road, Wimbledon, SW19 8YA
In the heart of Wimbledon, above Centre Court, lives 601 Queen’s Road, a beautiful independent neighbourhood bar and restaurant. A lively sky-lit hangout throughout the day, at night their wrap-around terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail and dinner al fresco under a glistening canopy of lights. Part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, the food here comes from wonky vegetables to satisfy both your tummy and your conscience. From the circular bar to the bespoke MAV playlists, 601 Queen’s Road is a trendsetter as well as an elegant location for a date night with your favourite person.
Humble Grape, Battersea, SW11 1ED
If it’s wine that you and your partner are after, might I suggest the Humble Grape in Battersea? This quirky wine bar and shop offers cosy continental calm in warm and intimate surroundings. Take your pick of 400 sustainable wines sourced from boutique wineries around the world, or defer your decision to knowledgeable staff members who undertake weekly wine training with the winemakers themselves. Each month, the Humble Grape builds a Wine Flight: a sampling of four hand-picked wines centred around a theme and complete with their own stories to make your wine tasting all the more adventurous. There’s so much on offer throughout the week too, from Retail Monday (when all the bottles in the wine shop are available to enjoy at the bar for takeaway prices) to Tasting Tuesday (mini themed wine tastings for £15 per person), Icon Thursday and Friday (where highest-quality wine is sold by the glass), Bottomless Saturday and Sunday Roasts.
WC, Clapham Common, SW4 7AA
Yes, I am serious – a converted public toilet is one of the most romantic spots in south west London. 100 years ago, this place was a gents’ water closet located underneath Clapham Common tube station. Today, WC Clapham is a romantic candlelit venue offering a vast cocktail list, a carefully curated selection of wines and a decadent variety of charcuterie boards and nibbles that caters to all dietary requirements, all in an intimate underground space. The bar is packed with original features, from the tiled walls to the booths fashioned from Victorian lavatory stalls. WC prides themselves on friendly and comfortable service to ease any first date nerves, and many couples return to celebrate anniversaries or to hire out the venue to celebrate proposals, engagements and weddings. This is a hidden gem perfect for a quiet evening of romance.
Pictured: 28°-50°, 601 Queen’s Road, WC Clapham
Smith’s Cocktail Bar, Hammersmith, W6 7PB
For something a little more traditional, why not head to Smith’s Cocktail Bar located in the cellar of Brook Green Hotel? Peruse their extensive menu of cocktails, bourbons and whiskies and, if nothing quite tickles your fancy, one of their talented bartenders will rustle something up just for you. Tuck into a sharing board or burger in a venue bathed in soft, moody lighting and decorated with exposed brick, velvet sofas and booths partitioned with four-poster-style curtains. If you catch Smith’s on the right day, you can dance the night away with live music. And rather than stumbling home, why not book out one of their 17 boutique bedrooms upstairs for an extra taste of luxury?
Vagabond, Fulham, SW6 1AX
Another more wine-centric suggestion here with Vagabond in Fulham. This cosy spot offers over 100 different wines for you to try by the glass or bottle, and it all comes from small artisan growers. Some of the wine is even sourced from Vagabond’s own Urban Winery in Battersea Power Station. The first of the Vagabond family, this Fulham spot is a proper neighbourhood wine bar. Tuck into tapas and tipples together with your Prince or Princess Charming, amidst soft lighting and original oak furnishings.
Mr Fox, Croydon, CR0 1RJ
Back to cocktails now with the stylish Mr Fox. Glowing lights, plenty of plants, cosy seating and charming music make this a lovely spot for a romantic date. The attention to detail here is to be admired, right down to their beautifully illustrated drinks menu in which each cocktail is paired with an animal that represents it. As for food, Mr Fox provides a range of aesthetically pleasing and tasty dishes, either vegan-friendly or made with locally-sourced farm produce, and always seasonal.
Basil & Grape, Croydon, CR0 1PB
An alternative Croydon-based venue can be found at Basil & Grape. Snuggle up with your love in a wooden booth and enjoy everything this Italian restaurant, pizzeria and wine bar has to offer. For £35 per person, why not indulge in an authentic wine tasting experience? Guided by staff certified with the Wine Spirit Education Trust, take your taste buds on a journey through the 20 wine regions of Italy. Sample six different types of wine alongside a generous charcuterie platter, the contents of which has been carefully selected to pair perfectly with each of the wines, and top it all off with homemade tiramisu and dessert wine for your taste of Italian romance.
Incognito, Kingston, KT1 1JT
Finally, we come to our wildcard: Incognito in Kingston. This place is filled to the brim with character. Lauded over by the effervescent Chadwick Smithfield, a half-cat, half-human who exudes feline charm from every non-existent whisker, Incognito’s cocktails are ridiculous, extravagant, other-worldly, magical, fantastical – and very much real. This place promises to provide a multi-sensual cocktail experience that pushes the boundaries of conventional mixology. Each drink comes with its own story and treats as part of a theatrical display. Move through a space filled with plants and eccentric curiosities – even the loos are completely over the top. Incognito makes for a magical evening that neither you nor your partner will ever forget.