London's most romantic bars

It's nearly time... for sexy time...

Romance isn't dead. It's alive and well and kickin' ass in London.

OK, don't get us wrong: as romantic as a waterskiing date at Milton Keynes Aquapark can be, there's really no substitute for sharing an evening out on the town whilst getting quietly sozzled in moodily-lit environs. Think, where would Richard Gere take Julia Roberts? ... no, not round the back by the bins. We're talking uniquely romantic venues, and these are the kinds of places which have made our list.

From traditionally romantic bars, to former scooter workshops (we kid you not), cocktail bars, music hall venues and more.

So don your best threads and take that special someone out for a night of romance. The light fandango awaits...

Ruby's Basement Bar
76 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB
Region: Dalston
Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Located on Stoke Newington Road, Ruby’s is an underground cocktail bar whose entire raison d’être is romance and intimacy. At least that’s how it seems. Vintage milk bottles hold the drinks, light is provided by flickering candles and music is low and conversation is hushed. Perfect for couples.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
Happiness Forgets
8 - 9 Hoxton Square N1 6NU
Region: Shoreditch
Nearest Station: Old Street (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Happiness Forgets: High-class cocktails, low rent basement. That’s how they describe it and it couldn’t be truer, except that perhaps it undersells the place. Descend the steep staircase to the bar beneath Hoxton Square and the look is all sultry red, low lights and lamps. In fact, it is so dim, who knows what goes on in the corners down there. Probably just whispered sweet nothings and cocktail sipping. Probably.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
  • USERS 8/10
The Nightjar
129 City Road EC1V 1JB
Region: The City

AIL Says: Glamorous, yet unpretentious, Nightjar is a real gentleman of a venue. Located on City Road, just off Old Street, prices are expectedly high and since it is a cocktail bar, one does feel obliged to indulge. However, with live music most nights of the week and a 1920’s to 1940’s policy, the mood is set with some fine sounds. Boardwalk Empire meets Swingers.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
Callooh Callay
65 Rivington Street EC2A 3AY
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Callooh Callay used to have a reputation as somewhat of a party bar. Located at the Bethnal Green end of Brick Lane, it seems to have a little more to it. Its secret bar is amongst the most sort after spaces for daters thanks to its hot, speakeasy feel. The Jubjub bar, as it is known, requires booking but is more than worth the effort for you and your beau to enjoy ‘Shoreditch’s Best Kept Secret’.

  • USERS 8/10
Wilton Music Hall
1 Graces Alley, London

AIL Says: Crumbling walls, decaying opulence, balconies and hidden rooms, Wilton’s Music Hall is romance. The Mahogany Bar hosts the majority of the action and you can smell the history in what is one of London’s most beautiful old buildings. Find a corner, huddle up and drink it in.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
  • USERS 10/10
Gordon's Wine Bar
47 Villiers Street WC2N 6NE
Region: Charing Cross
Nearest Station: Charing Cross

AIL Says: Thought to be London’s oldest wine bar, Gordon’s is a real slice of history. In its present form since 1890, the Villiers Street wine bar is among the most impressive venues in the city. You can sit above ground but true romantics must head for the vaults. It is stunning.

  • OUR REVIEW 6/10
  • USERS 9/10
Scooterworks Cafe
132 Lower Marsh Street Waterloo SE1 7AE
Region: Waterloo
Nearest Station: Lambeth North (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Scooter Works is the former Vespa repair shop that ditched the grease for the greasers with a beatnik array of film, music and art to get your pulses revving. With fairy lights in all the right places, cubby-holes for canoodling and an all round fog of lusty romance the place alone might have you weak at the knees.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
Bleeding Heart
4 Bleeding Heart Yard EC1N 8SJ
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Restaurant, bar and crypt, Bleeding Heart is a little of everything. Romance focuses firmly on the Crypt and since Henry VIII enjoyed a three-day wedding party here following his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, it definitely has all the right credentials – kind of. Whichever way you look at it, romance and history collide in the magnificent Crypt, a London landmark every couple should visit once.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 7/10

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