Gordon’s Wine Bar, Embankment
Wine and passion are inextricably linked in the minds of most lovers. Myself, old Yeats, and a plethora of repressed British daters are subscribers to the notion that drinking a good glass of red in the company of a partner can throw a soft focus of amicability over them. And if drunk in a cavernous, old fashioned den of iniquity, all the better. Perhaps this explains the continued success of Gordon’s Wine Bar in the fickle London dating landscape. The oldest wine bar in London, it seems to courageously fight the competition from speakeasies and pop-ups and remain the one place that, if you date enough, you are bound to be taken by a man who is at his wits end and wants a reliable option. The way he figures it, it’s not as formal as a bar, it’s dark enough to set the tone, the pricing is decent enough to work for both a perfunctory and special date, and it’s near his chambers. Not too shabby, squire. Whether aged 24 or 50, Gordon’s candlelit cellar – cavernous, Dickensian, unique- makes for foolproof dating.
Wine, you swine. Keep it coming thick and fast, with a full bodied Merlot Reserva or a dainty Italian Chianti. On a first date, stick to liquids. On a third, add a plate of three cheeses and a cold cut or two.
This is perfect for winter dating. Meet at the entrance and descend into the cave together. Readjust your eyes and look for the further corner from the food counter, where the candles are flickering and the shadows beckon. Once seated, chat for at least 5 minutes before heading to the bar – this proves you’re not so nervous as to have to assemble your wine crutch immediately. Saunter back with the bottle of red and two glasses, beaming cadishly. Sit much too close, start pouring and lock into an intense seduction. Compliment frequently, find excuses to touch and aim to kiss by the end of the bottle. Stay long enough to enjoy a makeout session but not so long that you lapse into a dreadfully unattractive wine slur. Just because they bought a bottle, doesn’t mean you have to buy the next; a final pair of glasses will do. Emerge onto the street, gasping for air, and catch two separate cabs. To wake up together, with this sort of hangover, is out of the question.
It’s the go-to for those stuck for ideas and, due to its notoriety and central location, is beloved by many the Guardian Soulmate or Match.com dater.
A solid 3.