The Attendant, Soho
Dating in public toilets is on the rise. If wanting to avoid any ‘lewd conduct’ allegations, there are a handful of London joints (from Cellar Door to Ginglik) that retain some of their previous toilet charm but now serve booze, food and/or coffee. The Attendant is one of the newer, and smaller, ex-urinals on the scene. Open during the day till 6pm, this is a minimalist coffee shop that serves the usual lunch sandwiches and cold cuts, sweet treats and quality doses of caffeine in lovely porcelain cups. It’s good for dates for a number of reasons. One, it’s a novelty. Two, it’s in Soho and therefore perfect for a 45 minute power date with someone you met on Tinder. Three, unlike other coffee joints the staff are unpretentious and warm. And four, it’s a tiny room so they can’t walk in, spot you and turn around – clocked.
There’s no decaf served here, punchy. Go for a cup of Caravan-made coffee, strong, yummy and sustainable (thank God). Pair with some milk from a fancy Somerset farm where the cows have been treated like kings. If starving, go for a goat’s cheese and veg sandwich. But it’s much more continental to just stick to liquids on this date.
Don’t bother perching at the urinals; they’re cool to look at but better for a pit stop or speedy wifi session. Instead move to the back of the room to the communal table, ask politely to join whoever is there and offer your date the seat that borders on you and air, take the random neighbour for yourself. Talk purely about substantial things – a recent play, a short story you just read. Keep it under an hour and once you’ve both proven yourselves to be intelligent beings, leave as it closes and head to the nearest bar for the silly fun.
Some might consider dating by a urinal a tad off-putting.
1. It’s coffee, it’s quick and it’s too intimate a place to flirt outrageously in.