Justaskmeout's Top 5 First Date Ideas

First dates should ideally involve doing something fun to help get the conversation flowing and ensure no awkward silences. Keep it short so that you both leave wanting more! Here are our top 5 first date ideas.

First Date Idea 1: Bowl ‘em over

First Date Idea 1: Bowling Bowling ticks all of the first date boxes and also provides the perfect opportunity for some friendly rivalry and the exertion of heaving those big balls around is sure to get your heart racing. If you go for one of London’s retro, 50’s inspired bowling alleys you’ll realise bowling has changed a lot since you last went on your 11th birthday. Two of London’s best "boutique" bowling alley's are the All Star Lanes and The Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes where you can also grab a cocktail or a bite to eat before or after your game depending how well your first date is going!

When? Every night
Where? All Star Lanes or Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes
How much? From £7 per person
More details? Check out The Great Date Guide Bowling Blog

First Date Idea 2: The Cool Café Date

First Date Idea 2: Coffee The second in our series of the Top 5 First Date Ideas may seem fairly obvious, but it does remain one of the most tried and tested First Date Ideas so it had to go on the list. The secret to the Cool Café Date is to pick the right café! Don’t go for a chain if you can help it – do a little research and pick somewhere with a buzzy yet cosy atmosphere where you can relax and feel at home. Stylist magazine has a list of their Top 10 London Coffee Shops or our personal recommendation would be Foxcfroft & Ginger – a charming place in the middle of Soho with a large downstairs area and very friendly staff.

When? Best late morning, ideally at the weekend although weekdays can work too
Where? Any of London’s charming boutique coffee shops. See Stylist’s Top 10
How much? The price of a cup of coffee (plus some cake if you’re peckish!)
More details? Read more about why coffee makes a great first date here.

First Date Idea 3: Pocket some balls

First Date Idea 3 - Pool For this week’s top first date idea we decided to get a man’s perspective so we asked Our Man Matt! And what did he suggest as his top first date idea? Pool. No, not the swimming kind thank god (which definitely wouldn’t make a good first date). He suggested the snooker kind of pool. Yes, he suggested a date where he could show off his ball skills... But actually there is a lot more to this date idea than getting balls in pockets. A friendly game of pool provides a great ice-breaker, a healthy bit of competition, and a lot of opportunities to flirt – just the right ingredients for a first date! And of course there’s always the chance for the better player to lean over and help show the other how it’s done! Whatever you do, if you can actually play pool and your date can’t, don’t go potting all the balls down in one go –otherwise your first date may end up being your last! But assuming things go well, take your cue and just ask your opponent out for date 2!

When? Any evening
Where? Pick a nice pub/bar with pool tables, rather than a pool hall (not sexy). Our recommendations would be The Cadogan Arms (Chelsea) or Cape St Katherine’s Dock (Tower Hill – book through this link and get Prosecco for £11!)
How much? No more than a tenner
More details? Full list of pubs you can play pool in London courtesy of DesignMyNight

First Date Idea 4: Share the food, share the love

First Date Idea 4 - Food sharing Ok so grabbing a bite to eat may not seem like the most original date idea. But the key is in the setting and the type of food that you go for. For example, we would NOT recommend going for any kind of too formal sit-down meal on a first date as that’s generally not a conducive setting to relax and get to know each other in and the dreaded awkward silences can arise. For obvious reasons we also wouldn’t recommend anything too, how shall we say, tacky!? So you can forget McDonalds right now fellas! And while canteen-style dining tables are all the rage, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend these either – unless you’re comfortable with your fellow diners finding out as much about you as your date does! Ok, so what would we recommend? Our suggestion is any type of food that you can share. Sharing food not only provides easy conversation to fill any gaps (“Hmm those tempura prawns are amazing, you should try them!”), but it also creates more of a bond between you. Plus it’s always good to see how your partner reacts to the sharing situation (Hint: Make sure you offer your date the last dim sum before you devour it!). There’s also something about the tactile way you use your hands when sharing food. And if the date seems to be going well you can always up the anti and attempt the tricky feed-your-date manoeuvre! Ideas for the types of food perfect for sharing include: tapas), sushi, dim sum, Mexican (think Wahaca), Greek/Turkish/Lebanese, or any type of sharing platter.

When? Any evening
Where? Any establishment serving food you can share with a relaxed ambience. Ideas include La Tasca, Wahaca, All Bar One, The Real Greek.
How much? Depends how classy a venue you pick!
More details? Read about the 11 things you should eat on your first 11 dates!

First Date Idea 5: Bounce through Date 1 with a game of ping-pong

First Date Idea 5 - Ping Pong Cooler than darts, less intense than paint balling – table tennis is one of London’s latest nightlife trends and makes a superb first date. Surprised? Here’s why:

1. No one is really great at ping-pong, so even if you and your date can’t volley for your life, you’ll at least have a lot of fun trying. And there are plenty of other conversations the sport naturally leads to such as your thoughts on Forrest Gump, why ping-pong has got so trendy and how funny it is to watch professional table-tennis players playing at lightning speed stood several metres back from the table!

2. You can make the date as long or short as you want. If it’s not going well you can end after the first match or, if things are going well, suavely suggest a best 2 out of 3 tournament.

3. It’s perfectly acceptable to drink-while-you-play. PLUS it’s a natural moderator, keeping your imbibing in check. After all, you can’t swat and swig at the same time.

There are a number of cool venues you can play in London now but our top recommendation is Bounce in Holborn. Bounce is a ping pong club-come-club that marries brand new equipment with attentive staff who deliver your drinks and scoop up errant balls in a net (meaning no need to chase them around like an idiot). There’s even a casual and very tasty pizzeria at the back. Try to book in advance – this place is popular every night.

When? Any evening
Where? We recommend Bounce in Holborn but there are many other options. See this list by BarChick.
How much? Around a tenner for half an hour.
More details? Read this review of Bounce by London School of Attraction