Coppelia, NYC

1 month ago

The Vibe

A 24/7 diner in the heart of Manhattan’s most dynamic crossroads – Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Meatpacking. You’ll be pleased to know of this spot for that late night hunger hit or the rolling drink date when someone needs to sober up quick. It might not be a particularly sexy restaurant but this Latin diner with a Cuban twist can pack a punch in both it’s extensive menu and spiked milkshakes.

The Order

Start with some cocktails – a spicy margarita, smoky negroni or a pitcher of sangria. If it’s 3am, this will keep you ticking and the night alive whilst you eagerly wait for the food to come. If it’s 8pm, you’ll get the night started right.

Order the guacamole which is served with corn, boniato and plantain chips giving you that sweet, sweet crunch. Their ceviche limeno with flounder, beef empanadas and croquetas de queso will get served hard and fast so make sure you’ve got enough space at the table.

The finish with a serving of their Tacos Campechanos. With crispy pork crackling (or chorizo as they phrase it), it’s both crunchy and served with a full side of rice and beans.

You’ll leave feeling stuffed, refreshed and ready to hit the town again… or the closest bed!

The Game

This is a late night spot, perfect for finishing a boozy date when you’re not quite ready to end the night, just yet. Arrive together to grab a table or you’ll be sat at the bar like a lemon waiting. Grab a pitcher of margaritas. Stare at each other over the crowded tables, touch hands over the sloppy food and get to the question part of the date.

You’ll remember this dinner for the laughter, good food and intimate questions flowing as the buzz of the room gets louder and louder.

Grab a boozy milkshake for the road and head home, together.

The Faults

This isn’t a first date kinda spot, unless it’s breakfast after the night before…

The Sex Factor

3.

Sugar Momma, NYC

2 months ago

The Vibe:

Coffee shop by day and intimate restaurant by night, this new hot spot in FiDi is a force to be reckoned with. Saddle down next to each other on wooden benches and appear radiant in the red toned lighting. Be sure to take the perfect instagram shot under the neon ‘Hello Gorgeous’ sign and graze hands over sharing plates. This cool Aussie spot gives the impression of a well thought out first date. With strong cocktails, small plates to share, a killer hip hop playlist and a chilled out atmosphere, there’s nothing pretentious about this spot.

The Order:

Be ready as their ‘small’ plates are far from small. If you’re hungry or looking for a slow date then this is the spot. Order up the Crispy Farm Raised Pork and Shrimp & Crab Crackers, both of which will melt in your mouth and be better tasting than you’ve ever tried. Dip into the hummus and cauliflower dip to add a little spice to the palate and end with a cool satay chicken curry. Everything here tastes incredible so you can’t go wrong. And is over ordering even an issue anymore? Take for lunch the next day to reminisce over last night’s perfect date.

But of course, to wash it all down you must accompany with spicy margaritas all night long. Appearing out of gold curtains behind the bar, these jalapeno peppered cocktails are light and dangerous. Great to help you recover after a long day in the office.

The Game:

See who can guess the female centric movie on the wall first. This place is all about putting women first so let Sugar Momma take you for a night you won’t forget. Arrive together and grab the table in the window. Sit on the corner seats so you’re almost next to each other and watch the restaurant come to life. Keep the orders of cocktails coming and end the night with a peck in the courtyard out front.

The Faults:

As a natural Aussie hot spot, don’t be surprised if the date next to you looks hotter than yours. It’s the accent I swear!

Sex Factor:

3. This place isn’t meant to be sexy. It’s made for getting to know your date in a low key vibe.

Mahiki, Kensington

4 months ago

The Vibe:

It’s a Wednesday evening in the middle of a London winter. It’s raining and I’m heading half way across London in search of the new Mahiki. Tucked off the main high street, it’s easy to miss but once you’re there be ready to transport through waves of Caribbean coconut smells. The vibe is similar to their original in Mayfair but smaller, giving it a more intimate vibe and the springboard for some wild affairs.

You could perch at the bar and glug down very strong cocktails but I’m glad I didn’t. Instead we drifted towards a booth, nestled in and ordered some of the best sushi around.

It may be a club, but their menu is far from tacky. Instead it’s refined, fresh and perfect for a sharing date.

The Order:

We racked up quite the order with tapas style plates of California Rolls, Spicy Chilli edamame and rock shrimp to get started. If anyone looked over it were as if we hadn’t eaten for weeks. Chop sticks flying it’s easy to crack jokes over the failed attempts of picking up the food. Washed down with ‘The Night Rattler’ and ‘Missionary’s Rescue’, the cocktails were strong and moreish and went straight to the knees. The Wagyu beef and truffle gyoza we’re the overall best plate of the night, so much so we ordered double! Dragging the gyoza through the truffle sauce time and time again, and chasing with the fresh grilled spicy octopus.

The Game:

The Wednesday night vibe was chilled if not a little empty. But book in for a late night snack, grab a booth and get ready for when the DJ kicks in at 11pm. Perfect for a date you might want to escalate quickly.

The Faults:

The cocktails are strong and the plates small. A recipe for over indulgence but not necessarily a bad thing when the first date nerves set in. Oh, and don’t wear something Hawaiian – even if the trend this summer is the following – you might be mistaken for the staff!

The Sex Factor:

3 early evening. 4 late night.

 

Graphic Bar Residency, Ask For Janice.

7 months ago

The Vibe

If you’re a lover of gin, then you’ve come to the right place. Set in the basement of quirky but cool, Ask For Janice, Graphic Bar has taken over the basement, creating a dimly lit, concrete haven to get completely gin saturated. After walking through the artsy Wednesday night crowd upstairs, we were led by a hand-written cardboard sign into a pit of drunkeness. With a top notch hip hop playlist and the chance to pin your polaroid up on the wall, this place screams FUN. Since it’s relatively unknown, we were the first to walk into the room, until joined by a few other couples an hour later. An empty room can be nerve racking on a first date, but the level of gin in the cocktails will be sure to make them disappear quick!

The Order

The order is simple. Stick to gin. Their seasonal Rumple Pumpkin cocktail with a savoury gin and Halloween vibes et the tone for the night, followed by a not-so-typical Gin & Tonic and finished off with an egg white-topped Gin Sour. And to keep the conversation flowing, order some food from the AFJ small plates menu such as spiced lamb shoulder, slow cooked chorizo, pork belly and AFJ potatoes. All are mouth watering and sure to soak up some of the alcohol, ensuring the conversation can keep flowing. You’ll leave savouring the flavours but not feeling stuffed.

The Game

Arrive together and bustle through the upstairs crowd and into the basement bar. Choose a table under the light so there’s a chance you’re able to read the menu. Then slowly go through the cocktail menu, hitting each gin cocktail one by one. Share stories of drunken nights gone wrong – hoping this one doesn’t fall into the list – get chatting to the couple on the next table about the winning playlist and stumble out together to catch the last train home. A casual and perfect environment for that cheeky first kiss, which you can laugh off as alcohol induced. Wake up the next day with little memories of the night, besides the laughter.

Sex Factor

3.

 

Madison, St Pauls

9 months ago

The Vibe
Perched atop One New Change is Madison, one of Europe’s largest roof terraces that boasts one mighty view of St Pauls. Naturally, floor-to-ceiling glass windows are used to capitalise on the surroundings – a design that adds plenty of romance to the night when the sun begins to set behind the city’s famous skyline. It’s a Tuesday night but the place is buzzing with an after-work crowd. Groups of City boys and girls blow off steam at the end of a long day making for a rowdy atmosphere. Rather than fight them, join the party and make this a night to unwind with a new flame.

The Order
Famed more for its views than for its food, the menu at Madison had us pleasantly surprised. The starters are light and refreshing. The potted crab and crayfish mixed with a cucumber and lemon balm jelly is a delight, and sits well next to a glass of Ca’di Ponti. For mains, the Sirloin is a real crowd-pleaser and should be accompanied by a side of Mac & Cheese – a combo I picked up from a previous date that has been life changing. Finish with an indulgent dessert. The chocolate and praline fondant is a fine choice; a soft velvet sponge with a shattering of praline and pool of melted chocolate.

The Game
Dress smart or feel completely out of place for the entire night. Men should arrive in a tailored suit and women, a go-to cocktail dress. As the crowd is mainly made of professionals there is a danger of this turning into a post-work meetup (which doesn’t scream lust). So, direct conversation to light and flirtatious topics making sure thoughts of mounting deadlines are left at the ground floor. If everything goes well, the glass elevator is the best place to enjoy a kiss as the view of St Pauls falls into the background.

Sex Factor
3.


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Bunga Bunga

9 months ago

The Vibe
Bigger and bolder than the original, Bunga Bunga in Covent Garden lives up to its Berlusconi-inspired name. The crowd is beautiful, rowdy and come prepared for a riotous time. The main venue is grand and Vegas-esque, featuring marble interiors and a speedboat fashioned into a table (complete with orange life jackets – of course). Staff are outlandish, yet charming, and spend the night encouraging all sorts of “Italian” mayhem. Expect plenty of booze, fun and a dash of debauchery.

The Order
An Italian sharing feast like no other! Tuck into mouth-watering metre-long pizzas, authentic Italian antipasti and a delicious drunken tiramisu. Pair your meal with a quirky cocktail from the bar by picking your favourite Italian icon, shaped in the heads of ‘The Godfather’, ‘Balotelli’ and more! Even better, you can order a ‘David is Goliath’ sharer cocktail served in a life-sized chiselled replica of Michelangelo’s David, complete with a very surprising tap …

The Game
One for the fun seekers. Meet in BungaTini, the Italian bar upstairs, for a delicious pre-cocktail to start your evening. When ready to move on you’ll be led through the meat locker at the back of the restaurant and enter an immersive world of Burlesque, Broadway or Variety – depending on which day of the week you visit. Watch the night unfold around you, join in if you wish and bond with your date over a sweet rendition on Bunga-oke! By the end of the night your inhibitions will have been truly lost, take advantage and stay out in West London until the early morning.

The Faults
Not one for the introverts. Bunga Bunga is a night of themed fun and a very bold first date choice.

Sex Factor
4.


Download our “virtual clubhouse” and become a SC eligible for entry to private parties, dinners and extra Black Card benefits like access to members’ clubs.

Quaglino’s, Mayfair

10 months ago

The Vibe
It’s rare to find a place that is both decadent and approachable. Yet, Quaglino’s somehow marries both with blissful ease. The grand amber staircase, goblet-like vases bursting with fresh flowers and Titanic-esque décor are all guilty of Mayfair opulence, but are softened by the charming and friendly staff that make sure you never feel out of place. The restaurant’s crowd may have moved on from its Royal past but there’s still a generous offering of attractive professionals and the odd SW family to keep you and your date entertained, as well as a house band that brings some Jazz Age romance to the night. Think glitz, decadence and a touch of the informal.

The Order
The bar menu is expansive but well worth the read, boasting some of the finest cocktails around. A favourite is the No.85, so smooth and indulgent that it drinks like pure liquid dessert thanks to an inspired mix of bourbon, cacao dark and a slathering of peanut butter that crowns the glass. Messy? Yes, but worth the ungraceful moment. With so much choice when it comes to drinks make life a little easier by selecting the set evening menu. Starters include a light and refreshing salmon tartare with a chilli emulsion and the spicy harissa & agave glazed aubergine with coconut, peanut and pulses. For a main, the zucchini risotto decorated with crumbled goats cheese and truffle is a comforting choice. Whilst for dessert, the raspberry crème brûlée is both sharp and rich and left us vying for our date’s attention.

The Game
Start with a cocktail in the upstairs bar. The space is dark, cavernous and has plenty of private corners to sneak off into. This is where any introductory conversation should take place and then left, ready for a more debauched night in the sunken dining room. A charming waiter will escort you to your table and be on hand throughout to make sure everything runs smoothly, meaning you only have to focus on the flirt. Share stories of wild nights and early mornings, London past and London present, making sure to mirror the playfulness of your surroundings. If all is going well, a talented band will soon add a soundtrack to your date indicating that you’ve lasted long enough to see the night’s entertainment.

As you leave enjoy a kiss at the stairs and exit onto the quiet streets of St James’.

The Faults
For those wanting a late-night date in the heart of Mayfair this place is pretty faultless.

Sex Factor
5. There’s a sparkle to Quaglino’s that makes it a difficult place not to impress with.

Minnow, Clapham

10 months ago

The Vibe
Minnow charms from the very beginning with its park-side location offering views of the common, pastel green and soft pink décor and hanging roses. This is a cute, yet surprisingly spacious place that has already found its crowd in the form of young Clapham types who are looking for Michelin quality without the commute into the centre. There is a real buzz here, although it’s never too loud that you miss what your date says and have to ignorantly nod along. This is a place that is confidently different in a dating scene concentrated with high gloss cocktail bars and post-industrial offerings.

The Order
The menu is not overly long but everything on it sounds impeccable, making it difficult to narrow. Buy some time by ordering a snack to share, the crispy chicken skin served with aioli is a simple but clever idea that is extremely moreish. Add some cocktails into the mix, each inspired by a historic Clapham resident and served on a coaster explaining the details. A perfect excuse to drink more in the “thirst for knowledge”. The Grieg, named after Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, is a Scandi-influenced take on a martini made with dry vodka, vermouth and then smoked – a sharp taste that contrasts the whimsical décor. For a main, the cooked beef shin served on buttery mash is sure to satisfy – upscale comfort food. Desserts are on the smaller side and so it’s best to order individually rather than attempt to share. Caramelised watermelon with blood orange is an extremely refreshing end to the night, although the chocolate doughnut is a perfect indulgent dish.

The Game
Minnow is bi-level, each with its own distinct character and, therefore, appropriate game plan. The ground floor boasts a long marble bar, ideal to grab a pre-meal drink at and then move on to a table outside in the walled garden. Guests are seated close together, but are never intruding on one another’s space meaning date night conversation can flow very easily. Although, we advise against discussing anything too raucous in such an innocent setting. For a different type of night, head downstairs to a vaulted booth that is lit by a stained-glass light box and that sits in the restaurants wine cellar. The lack of natural light means you and your date can get lost in time, drinking and flirting into the late hours. When it’s time to leave, exit onto the common and enjoy a midnight stroll.

The Faults
For those with a sweet tooth (like me) the economic dessert menu may cause some panic, but there’s enough quality on the rest of the menu to keep your cravings satisfied.

Sex Factor
4. Charming and cute. Think country house romance rather than penthouse romp.

El Pirata, Mayfair

10 months ago

The Vibe
Tucked away in a quiet corner of London’s Mayfair sits a cosy, rustic and charming tapas bar named El Pirata. The outside is unpretentious, a sentiment that is carried on into the restaurants interior and staff, who welcome you with warm familiarity as though you’re a regular. And you’re certainly not alone in feeling at home, every guest has a relaxed air about them as they sip red wine and chat with their friends and family. The whole place is reminiscent of the typical neighbourhood tapas bars in Barcelona or Madrid offering a little slice of Spain in West London.

The Order
El Pirata offers a gluttonous choice of authentic Spanish cuisine, creating a danger of spending too much time negotiating the menu and not flirting with your date.  To avoid, be bold and brazenly ask the waiter to select three of the best tapas to start and buy yourself more time to select the tapas that truly appeal. Each dish here is simple, yet heart-warming, undiluted by the popular trend of modern fusion cooking. The seaside comes fourth in the sizzling Gambas Pil Pil and the taste of the land punches through the Chuletitas de Cordero. Accompany with a bottle of Altún Crianza; warm, rich and with a note of autumn fruit that sits well with the melange of flavours that come with tapas. End the night being charmed into a dessert by the Spanish waiter who we’re convinced tells all the indulgent Torta de Chocolate can’t be missed, but he isn’t lying.

The Game
Head down the black wrought iron spiral stairs and steal a table inside a softly lit alcove; perfect for looking out onto fellow diners for a game of ‘guess their story’. Everything about this place is more fun and more laid-back than you knew Mayfair could be, so use this to your advantage. Be charming, yet authentic, and find out what one another would truly be like away from the glamour and illusion of luxe cocktail bars and opium drinking dens. If there’s a spark, Mayfair boasts a fine selection of cobbled streets to walk around and enjoy a cheeky snog underneath the midnight sky.

The Faults
The Mayfair postcode may set up an expectation that doesn’t materialise, but El Pirata’s confidence to remain traditional in a bevy of modern beauties will win you over.

Sex Factor
3. There’s something about Spanish flavour that always ignites passion and wild abandon.

No.29 Power Station, Battersea

10 months ago

The Vibe
No.29 Power Station is the latest addition to the Darin & Wallace collection of independent neighbourhood bars, all of which are named after the street number on which they sit. The space is vast and achingly stylish, the décor a juxtaposition of elegant 1920’s art deco and subtle nods to the resident’s industrial past. An enormous drinks list is enough to win us over and promises a very boozy night ahead.

The Order
A bar first and foremost, No.29 Power Station West has an ample selection of wines, craft, draught and bottled beers, and a hand-picked collection of seasonal long and short serves. Drinks, and plenty of them, should therefore be the focus of your order. Start with a collection of cocktails. The Watermelon Sour offers a refreshing mix of Ciroc Summer Colada, Kam & Sons with fresh watermelon, whilst the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is a more warming mix of Gosling’s Black Seal, house made ginger syrup and fresh lime. Follow with a sample of small sharer plates, the beef and black pudding croquette is a fine choice and offers the perfect excuse to move on to a glass of Pinot Noir.

The Game
Designed to feel like a ‘home from home’, No.29 is ideal for relaxed post-work drinks. The crowd is made up of young professionals catching up after a long day in the office. However, leave talk of work firmly at the door otherwise risk losing the attention of your date to one of the many attractive (and potentially single) guests. Start with innocent small talk and as the drink tally rises, dive into more flirty topics. If the night is going well, extend the date by suggesting a stroll along the river and sneak a kiss in one of the many alcoves that line the walk.

The Faults
Battersea Power Station is still in the first chapter of its development, but Circus West Village has introduced it to London’s bar scene with a very stylish start.

Sex Factor
Slightly industrial décor, but everyone has their kinks…

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