Ask a group of locals the most romantic bar they’ve been to and the chances are one of them will say Gordon’s Wine Bar. Originally a warehouse, the family-run bar is located in the former home of the London poet Samuel Pepys in the 1680s, while the author Rudyard Kipling was a tenant in the 1890s.
It looks closed from the outside – you enter through a discreet side door, down a narrow staircase – but it’s usually busy, so we'd suggest you go early to bag a seat. While crowded, the cellar’s arches, which flicker with candlelight, gives couples a level of itimacy. Inside, exposed brick walls are lined with faded newspapers, barrels create makeshift tables and blackboards list all their wines, including some wonderful ports and dessert wine. Order a glass and graze on cheese and charcuterie, black pudding and pork pâté with blackberry and gin jelly.
A View to Fall in Love With
If you’d rather have a guaranteed table, then visit Gŏng Bar on level 52 of The Shard, inside the Shangri-La hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the view, but window seats aren’t guaranteed, though as the bar is intimate you’ll see Tower Bridge and City Hall glowing at night. If you don’t manage to get a window seat, sit on a stool at the marble counter, snuggle up on a velvet sofa or lean in to one another at a small table. Drinks are strong, so you’ll soon get tipsy; try one made with eucalyptus gin and coconut milk, or one made with rum, chai, pineapple and mango. Tables are allocated for an hour and a half.
Touch of '20s Glamour
If you prefer not to rush, then linger over drinks at Fitz’s in the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel. Named after the hotel’s architect , Charles Fitzroy Doll, who designed the dining room on the Titanic, the bar has a 1920s feel, with a peach velvet shell-shaped sofa and a vase filled with burlesque-style feathers. A canopy of fabric and a huge mirror ball hang from the ceiling. Cosy up by the fire as you sip Champagne or cocktails, or make a night of it when the bar hosts folk, pop and soul singers (Wed to Sat) – the perfect way to enjoy with your kindred soul.
Get Cosy Outdoors
What’s more romantic than cuddling up over a boozy hot chocolate in a frosty winter garden? Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury feels like the set of Heidi, as it’s been transformed into a Swiss Alpine lodge for the winter (to 29 Feb). Leave behind the puddles of Tottenham Court Road for frosty foliage strung with cowbells, fairylights and Scherenschnitte (finely cut paper). Adorned with pine garlands, the enclosed deck is heated and comes with Foxford woollen blankets and hot water bottles, so it’s as cosy as a mountain cabin. Stay warm by dunking bread and cornichons into truffle fondue and sipping a hot chocolate made with Nonino Williams pear, white chocolate, crème de menthe and crème de cacao.