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Drinks, dinner or coffee?

Tuesday May 12, 2015

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So what is the best first date? Drinks, coffee or dinner?

Obviously being the urbane single in London you have myriad options at your disposal. But I’ve only got space for about 600 words so let’s stick to the classics.

Allow me to indulge in a little compare and contrast of the relative merits and demerits of these traditional dating options.



Pros: Relaxed, traditional and with the narcotic assistance necessary to help stem any first date nerves.

Choice of venue is fairly key here but as long as it’s relatively busy without being crowded, the conversation can flow easily, drink options can be used as a last resort conversation kicker and, should an exit be required, an early morning is the perfect excuse. I mean, try leaving a juice bar using the same excuse.

Cons: While alcohol can help reduce nerves, too many nerves can lead to too much alcohol. Enter stage right – sliding scale of inebriation. A) Mild slurring and slightly inappropriate comments and actions. B) Increased slurring, repetition and constant apologising for what you’re ABOUT to say/do C) Almost incoherent, possibly angry, constant repetition and probable sexual propositioning. D) Vomit. Unconsciousness. E) Death. Please note, death is highly unlikely to result in further dates.


Pros: Good food is the perfect relaxant and aphrodisiac. Sharing a good meal is one of the most pleasing and intimate things we can do and displays a level of trust and curiosity that cannot fail to impress.

It also helps line your stomach should the date go well enough to move on elsewhere. Should an end need to be called to the evening, meals have a definitive end at which point it’s easy to politely escape.

Cons: Table manners, or at least bad ones, can make the most astonishingly attractive individual look like a Neanderthal. Also, food can be a highly individualistic affair. One person’s delicacy is another's stomach churning chunderbus.


Pros: This is the perfect option for the perennially unsure. Coffee, at least for those not teetotal, brings with it no expectations beyond the immediate.

It’s also the perfect meeting device for the ridiculously busy or those for whom dating is an interaction best undertaken in the manner of a business exchange. Quickly, efficiently and with clearly defined parameters.

That said, I know a number of people who have met at an event, texted the next day and decided to meet up as soon as possible. In this instance, coffee becomes a representation of just how much you want to see that person. And should all go well, you have the rest of the day to continue your date.

Cons: Suggesting a coffee date can seem a little too efficient. You may feel it’s an efficient use of your time but your date may get the impression you’re a little professional when it comes to this dating malarkey.

And, although nowadays rare, there are some individuals for whom coffee has a rather unfortunate side effect. Cue much rambling, raised heart rate for all the wrong reasons and a sudden panic attack. Never a good look when trying to impress.

For my money, relatively early drinks with the suggestion of dinner should things be going well. But then, each to their own.

Good luck.

And how about trying one of our events if you're on the lookout for someone to date. Check out our dating event listings here.




The beauty of Speed Dating London lies in its no-nonsense approach. You take an equal number of single girls and guys, put them in a room and give them a few minutes to chat with every other member of the opposite sex.

When you get there

Original speed dating events in London normally begin at 7.30pm. You will need to register with our hosts and to begin with they will issue you with a score sheet. This will help you to keep track of the singles that you would like to meet again and perhaps go on a date with. After a short period of mingling, your host for the evening who will run through detailed instructions and give you your starting position if you are a guy or table for the event if you are a girl.

Meet & Mingle

A London speed dating event is split into two halves, each lasting around an hour, there will be an interval at half time of about 15 minutes for speed dating London. You will have between 4 and 5 minutes with each person, after which you need to tick a box on your score sheet - "yes, I would like to meet this person again" or "no. Thanks but no thanks". Or "friend" if you'd like to get to know them platonically. Make sure that you do this after each date to keep track. Afterwards there is an opportunity for everyone to meet and mingle informally - this is often where the real action begins, so make sure you don't disappear too quickly!

Complete your score sheet

After the event you simply tick who you liked on the Original Dating website and the site works about your matches automatically. If the dates you have ticked as a "yes" have reciprocated you have a match. You will be able to view the first names and message them via our site online without revealing your email address until you are ready to. You'll be having proper first dates in no time.