Picking a date location is the very first test of seeing someone new. A call to action that challenges your knowledge of luxury gins, endurance of pop-up waiting times and most of all, your wallet. With such an expanding list of drinking holes in the capital, it is easy to feel spoiled for choice. And frankly, intimidated by it too.
We've combed through the best bars you can take someone to that cater to all plans and price points, come rain or shine. Here are 10 spots all within Zone 1, so you don't need to worry about a £42 Uber home from the Irish pub at the end of her road in Walthamstow.
With this guide, there's no need for her to know you still get lost in Soho or ignored at the bar until you shout. Not yet, anyway.
1| For a cosy atmosphere: Charlotte Street Hotel
Don't be afraid of suggesting a hotel meeting on the first date, just make sure she knows you mean the bar. Charlotte Street Hotel is bang in the middle of the bustling road but has its own quiet atmosphere where you can get to the bar, find a seat and actually hear each other.
Drinks aren't cheap but it's a good place for a classy drink to kick the evening off. And if things go excellently, there's always upstairs. Charlotte Street Hotel, 15-17 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RJ.
2| Inventive (but still great) drinks: The Blind Pig
Nestled in the floor above the restaurant, Social Eating House, Blind Pig is obscure but in a league of its own. Their creative concoctions come in vessels like home-made cartons and branded milk bottles.
But don't be put off by the whiff of just another gimmicky cocktail bar, the drinks here are seriously excellent. With award-winning bartender Jamie Jones on deck and Jason Atherton running proceedings, we'd expect no less. The Blind Pig, 58 Poland St, London W1F 7NR.
3| To show off your brain: Scarfes Library Bar
Nothing is quite so attractive as a well-read man, and here you don't even have to crack a book to give the impression of being one. Settle down at the Rosewood Hotel's bar and impress her with your favourite hardback. Or just smile smugly at the smell of leather bound books and rich mahogany. Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN.
4| For an immersive experience: The Little Yellow Door
If you want to appear seriously in the know, head down to The Little Yellow Door, an immersive bar set up as a flatshare where you can drink as if you've just wondered into your mates house. Order a shared drink served up in blenders and fishtanks and settle in on the sofa for people watching worth discussing.
The pop-up is hosted by five fictional flat mates who throw parties for everyone in their home. Whatsapp them to tell them you're heading down and if you're regular enough, you'll get your very own little yellow key. She'll think you're the most popular man in town. The Little Yellow Door, 68 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3HT.
5| For unpretentious fun: Big Chill House
King's Cross might not conjure images of an impressive date, but we like the unpretentious colourful offering at The Big Chill House. Show her you're a down to earth guy who won't wait 4 hours to get in somewhere with a DJ nobody has heard of.
The food is so reasonable you don't have to sweat over prices if she gets hungry, so settle in. The Big Chill, 257-259 Pentonville Road, King's Cross, London, N1 9NL.
6| Personal service with a touch: BYOC
If you're after something a little more intimate, Bring Your Own Cocktail - BYOC- is a cocktail bar quite literally with a twist. You pay £20 and bring a bottle of your choosing and are served excellent cocktails with their array of liqueurs, juices and bitters.
Don't be put off by paying upfront, the cover charge is more than made up when you consider most places are charging £10 for one drink. Here you can squeeze in about 5. BYOC, 28 Bedfordbury, London, WC2N 4RB.
7| To stay well-hidden: Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
The ultimate insider speakeasy, access to this bar is through a very normal looking Smeg fridge in The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane. Announce at the bar that you're 'here to see the mayor' and watch a look of deep fear become one of longing as you lead her through the secret entrance. You'll emerge in a dimly lit bar with exposed brick, tables made from crates and a creative, delicious cocktail menu. Ours is a 'Blood & Slander.' The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, 12-16 Artillery Ln, London, E1 7LS.
8| The classic: The Connaught
For a spot to impress, visit The Connaught where you'll feel very Great Gatsby with their shimmering purple, pistachio and brass fittings. No need to dress like Leo but don't leave your entrance too late as it's a no reservations spot.
Make sure you check out the in situ Martini trolley with lavender, cardamom and ginger varieties on offer. The Connaught, Carlos Pl, London, W1K 2AL.
9| An Oasis up high: The Boundary Rooftop
If the weather is even passable, The Boundary's roof bar is a slice of Southern France that you'd never believe was in Zone 1. This week they have launched their range of six gin and tonic cups made from boutique gins including Hendricks and Bulldog and all matched to Fever Tree tonics and fresh herbs.
You might have to be dragged down it's so peaceful up there. The Boundary, 9 Redchurch St, London, E16.
10| Straight up, no nonsense: The Hide Bar
This London Bridge drinking hole encourages something most bars don't - booking. They're a seated only spot who pride themselves on delicious and still very reasonable beverages. Cocktails - including the more than quaffable pisco sour - are all around £9 and mixers and beers start at £5.
Amble around beautiful Bermondsey afterwards, maybe even a moonlight river stroll if you're feeling really romantic. The Hide, 39-45 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XF.