You may have seen my Tinder post from way back. It was on the cynical side, holding out little hope for anything meaningful being gleaned from such an app. I am not sure my mind has been completely changed, but recent experiences kindly shared by friends has certainly shown a wee light at the end of the tunnel. So I thought I would write a piece about things to do if you happen to make it beyond a quick drink and home visit for nookie.
So, you have that girl or guy who you have clicked with and you want to do something more interesting than the normal dinner or movie. Games are the way to go. Nope, not bedroom games for those of you with a dirty mind, although that can be fun too, I am talking about activity to really get to know a person, in public.
I have chosen five interesting things to do with your gal or guy, dotted around London for convenience. These places are not restricted to dating, they actually provide fun things to do with friends too. Get your diary filled up with something new in 2016.
Bounce, 121 Holborn, London EC1N 2TD
Ping Pong, also known as table tennis, is what you get here at Bounce. Play is supposed to be fast with quick reactions, but that’s really only for the serious competitor. Here, it is mainly about fun. Tables are dotted around an open plan bar space. The bar is inspired by a Gin Palace with an emphasis on cocktails. There is an open counter pizza restaurant for something hearty, but also light bar and canape option to snack on while you play. Bounce is a great location for a date or group outing. Playing with balls has never been so much fun. www.bouncepingpong.com @bouncepingpong
Baranis, 115 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PP
Petanque was first introduced to me in Avignon, Southern France. I have also played it in Barcelona. It is also known as Boules and is where you throw a hollow metal ball as close as possible to a wooden ball called a chochonnet. Usually it is an older crowd who play this to pass the time as its not particularly physically taxing, but the youngsters have caught on. At Baranis, you may not have the large space normally associated with the game, but you can enjoy the small inside court housed in a bar serving drinks and food. In particular, the bar has a range of great French cocktails with traditional French ingredients such as Pastis and Lillet Rose. The kitchen is shared with Cigalon restaurant, so there is a decent selection of snacks. For Petanque, it is best to book in advance.
www.baranis.co.uk @baranis_london www.cigalon.co.uk
Cafe Kick, 127 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JE
Bar Kick in Shoreditch is fab! Table football fun to be had, but also large TV screens always showing the latest sports. Grab a table and play in twos (or fours). There is a good happy hour available as well as a tried and tested fantastic selection board with meats, cheeses, olives and breads to share. www.cafekick.co.uk/bar-kick/index.html @whatsonbarkick
Flight Club, 2 Worship Street, London EC2A 2AH
Look at the name carefully so you do not mistake the name for Fight Club. Brad Pitt will not appear and there is no bare knuckle punches to be pulled. Flight club is darts, for today. Housed in a cool bar spot it’s not your typical old style pub. That does not take away from the fun. Book a throw line and release a sigh of relief that you don’t have to struggle to calculate as you score, as this is done real time by the power of technology. Eat, drink and throw. www.flightclubdarts.com @flightclubdarts
Draughts, 337 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA
This is the home of board games. There are over 500 and counting. With everything from Mastermind to Cluedo, from Operation to Battleship – you can revisit your childhood and teens. Blink and you would miss this little venue, as it’s a bit off the beaten track. Make your way to Haggerston station (just down the road from bustling Shoreditch and trendy Hoxton) and around the corner are some old train arches which have been converted to venues not only home to Draughts, but also some bars and grills (reviews coming soon). It is a great chilling pastime to sit with your beau/bae or friends, sipping on a chilled beer, guessing answers, throwing dice, pressing buttons and building stuff. Game on! www.draughtslondon.com/about/ @draughtslondon
Returning in 2016 is the popular pop-up from last year. There will be no need to put your car keys in a bowl and swap partners, but you will be expected to grab a club and show your golfing skills. Rumour has it, its new home will be in an ex-WWII bunker in the heart of central London with two 9-hole crazy golf courses, club house with gin terrace, street food and cocktail bars.