Broadway Market, how we love thee. Hipsters, tourists, yuppie daters, post-production workers, musicians and writers. On a good day you’ll see Rihanna or Fassbender, on a bad, someone you knew at Oxbridge. It’s gentrified grit, with food/drink offerings to match. If you’re not supping at the very established Dove or lively Pub on the Park, you can quite easily get your cocktail on in bars with £6 price points and shabby chic settings.
If you haven’t dated at Off Broadway already, do that first. If you have, there’s a new bar in town called Stories, run by the group behind the equally cheery Book Club and Queen of Hoxton. Simple and airy, it’s full of long wooden tables and the odd bar stool to perch on while you drink you Aperol Spritzes and Negronis. Like Netil House, and other cocktail-serving East London joints, there’s a barperson for the ‘normal’ drinks and one for the cocktails, an amusing way to segregate the swizzle stick brigade from the pint drinkers. Outside, park picnic tables make for perfect sunshine basking and, should you run out of chat, also facilitate easy chatter with whoever else is on the table. There’s something very friendly about the place and the people who frequent it, perhaps because it pitches itself as open to all – as they put it ‘freelancers, friends and mums’. Refreshing.
Take advantage of cocktails that are reasonably priced and work your way through the short blackboard of options. If they don’t know how to make what you want, bartenders will discuss their confusion openly, crowd source for advice and even ask you how you think it should be – zero ego here. While the food options like the beef and chorizo burger look great, on a date I advise you stick to smaller bar plates, such as the grilled piri piri squid and prawns or marinated halloumi with red peppers and courgettes.
Dating here is a weekend sport. Arrive early enough for your cocktail drinking to still feel a little reckless, 4pm or 5pm will do. If warm, nurse them outside. When your date makes the trip to the bar, engage in conversation with the others on the table, a great way to demonstrate your likeability and great for warming up the opening moments of the date. When they return, try to steer the conversation back to the two of you – more than 10 minutes of group chat gets tiresome. Then focus on them. Chat away, debate dinner options (here or the place across the road), do drinks in rounds and relax into it. Gage how it’s going after a couple. If well, then just keep on drinking and forget about dinner till moments before the kitchen closes. Then hop onto the back of their bike (or grab yours) and head back to theirs.
If you sit outside, there’s a high chance of being interrupted by people from your past.
4. An accidental perk.