The Hotel Bar Crawl in London
There was a time when dating in a hotel bar was considering classy. An old fashioned gent would invite his date to share a martini under the glistening chandelier, as a pianist tinkled away in the background and the European concierge dimmed the lights. But somewhere along the way the traditional hotel experience got lost and bling palaces like the W set a new tone and expectation for hotel bars. Everything became a lot shinier, a lot louder and a touch less romantic.
But in London, there are still a few bastions of old school glamour to be found. These hotel bars make for great dating for the following reasons: they choose classical over house music, the cocktails are pricey but potent, and there’s seldom an obnoxious crowd to distract from the date.
With the guarantee of a discreet table in the corner and a bartender who will cater to your every whim, the only logistical nightmare to occur on your date will be of your making. And since you’re going to have to brush up and behave, this is the place to put on show your conversational prowess, your literary aspirations and your knowledge of the globe. You’re dating like an international, raise the bar.
My pick of London hotel bars for dates:
The Punch Room and Berners Tavern at the Editon Hotel
Both the restaurant and bar at this hotel are currently the talk of London, with famed chef Jason Artherton behind the food and Studio 54’s Ian Shrager behind the décor. Think gilt-edged paintings, high ceilings and rich fabrics draped from every awning – pure glamour. Start off the evening listening to Ragtime in the exclusive ‘Punch Room’ then indulge in a shoulder of lamb for two in the restaurant. It’s a game changer.
The Blue Bar in the Berkeley Hotel
Gwyneth Paltrow used this as a second sitting room when she lived around the corner. It’s the perfect mix between traditional and modern styles, leather armchairs and glass fixtures. The pastel blues of the room set a tone of calm- you’ll relax the moment you step in there. A chilli cosmopolitan for the lady, a walnut Old Fashioned for the gent.
Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood Hotel
This is a new London hotspot, opening at the end of 2013. It makes an excellent winter date, with the roaring fire, red leather chairs and dim lighting. With over 200 malts Scarfes is the perfect place for a sophisticated dater with a playful side. Suggest a game: Let’s try as many of these malts as possible and make notes. We’ll see how far you get…
The Luggage Room at the Marriot
Leather banquettes, stiff drinks, polished mahogany, marble floors, luggage studded trimmings, champagne and cobblers. This is for a date where there’s an age gap. There are few distractions, even fewer people to watch and not a lot of background noise. Just perfect drinks, cosy banquettes and a whole lot of privacy. Arrive early and wait with a whiskey and copy of Hemingway.
Radio at ME Hotel
I had to include one modern joint for the wild ones. This is a mix between a rooftop hotel bar and a bit of a club. The way to play it on a date is to have dinner first in STK on the ground level, drink too many cocktails, speed through your jokes, compliments and boasts, and then dance the night away on the roof. Twentysomething bankers dating wild and sassy marketing girls.