First dates can be tricky. Clapham has a host of exciting first-date destinations from restaurants, to bars, cinemas and community spaces, here are 9 great first-date ideas…
Words: Lorraine Crighton-Smith
Clapham’s former public conveniences may seem like an odd suggestion for a first date but WC, the wine and charcuterie bar that opened there earlier this year, is an destination ideal for dinner (or drinks) à deux. The building’s history is an ice breaker for starters and the menu lends itself perfectly for sharing (a great way to get to know one another). Sit in an intimate booth and show off your wine-selecting skills.
Clapham Common South Side SW4 7AA; 020 7622 5502
2 The Lodge
This Apline Lodge started as a pop-up at Four O Nine, accessed via a secret door on Landor Road, just by the Clapham North Pub. But now Jimmy has teamed up with Verbier Ski Resort to bring The Lodge to Clapham permanently, bringing you Alpine-inspired food all year round. Their winter BBQ series has just finished, so keep an eye on the website for details of new spring surprises.
409 Clapham Road SW9 9BT; 020 7737 0722
3 Clapham Picturehouse
Want to stay out of the pub? Channel the innocence of those teen dates and head to the flicks. Independent cinema Clapham Picturehouse is a great setting for a cosy few hours sharing popcorn. Head to the Picturehouse bar for a drink after the film and discuss your favourite scenes.
76 Venn Street, Clapham SW4 0AT; 0871 902 5727
4 Venn Street Records
While Venn Street Records gets remarkably busy on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s a pretty cool venue for a mid-week date. What’s more, they’re running a #cheapdate promotion for those dating on a budget. Whilst not terribly romantic, on Tuesday and Wednesday between 5-8pm you can order 2x drinks and 2x pizzas for just £15. If you don’t mind a bit of frugal fun on a first date, Venn Street Records could be the place for you.
78 Venn Street SW4 0BD; 020 7738 8645
5 The Bobbin
Clapham Old Town captivates the heart more than the High Street, so take a stroll away from the bustle and lead your date to The Bobbin. Tucked away down a residential street, it’s far away enough from the booze-swigging young revellers on the Common but still in the heart of Clapham. Cosy up near one of the open fires and order bar snacks (or order from the main menu).
1-3 Lillieshall Road SW4 0LN; 020 7738 8953
6 Clapham Omnibus
Show off your cultural side by choosing Clapham’s art space, Clapham Omnibus, as a daytime first-date destination. From theatrical productions to music concerts and special events such as the LGBT+ Microfest, running 3-17 February with a diverse programme of theatre, film, visual arts and conversation.
1 Northside (The Old Library), Clapham Common SW4 0QW; 020 7498 4699
7 Bistro Union
Abbeville Road’s Bistro Union is owned by Adam Byatt of Trinity fame (if you’re looking to push the boat out on a first date do try Trinity) so you’ll be on to a good thing…with the food at least. A ‘quintessentially British bistro’ that has proved popular with local Clapham residents (especially those in Abbeville Village), it’s advisable to book in advance. Or if you want to wing it, they do welcome walk ins.
40 Abbeville Road SW4 9NG; 020 70426400
8 Clapham Comedy Club
This may be a bold move, but if you’ve already established that you both like to laugh consider a show at Clapham Comedy Club for a first date with a difference. Clapham Comedy Club takes place at the Bread and Roses pub, so you can grab a pre-show drink for Dutch courage.
9 Clapham Common
It might be advisable to tag team this suggestion with another on the list, but a romantic stroll across Clapham Common could be cute option for a first date. If the weather’s nice, you could pack a picnic. Or if that’s too ambitious, head for Fields, an all-day café by the bandstand by the owners of Balham’s hip haunt M1LK.