Finally plucked up the courage to ask the object of your affection out for a drink? Or want to spoil your significant other?
Here are a few suggestions for your next date night, whether it’s a casual coffee, a slap-up dinner or a relaxed bite to eat – all a bit special, not too noisy and with a nice atmosphere to allow you to have the perfect time with your beau. Happy smooching!
Playground Coffee House
A coffee joint with swings and top notch coffee, plus boardgames to avoid any awkward silences! They’ve also recently introduced a cocktail menu, should you want to stay there a bit later into the evening…
Spicer + Cole
With 3 locations around the city (Welsh Back, Clifton & Gloucester Rd), these cafes are always quite calm in comparison to the equally great but slightly noisier Boston Tea Party chain. Recommended for a tasty brunch or a swift coffee.
Eat Your Greens
This charming cafe in Totterdown feels like you’re in someone’s living room, complete with cute mismatching furniture, nick-nacks and houseplants on shelves (plus some top notch Star Trek memorabilia in the bathroom!). The menu is completely plantbased with a lot of it also gluten and nut free too, but all of it tastes lush!
Tincan Coffee Co.
Pop into their snazzy cafes on North St or Gloucester Road for some of the tastiest coffee in town. The menu is a bit more limited than some of the other places, but you can still enjoy cakes, toasties and juices.
A modern and slick cafe in Wapping Wharf, this is a good spot to relax in before or after a walk around the harbour nearby. A good selection of drinks, plus some seriously good cakes (with plenty of vegan and GF options)
Ultra modern and hip coffee shop, also located in Wapping Wharf and from the team behind the excellent Small St Espresso (which I love, but is just that bit too small for a comfortable date, although they do some excellent coffee cocktails). One to stop in for a pre-dinner drink before heading to one of the Wapping Wharf restaurants – my top date picks there would be Root, Gambas or a special dinner at Box-E or Tare, but it’s worth having a browse as there’s something for everyone!
The perfect blend of chilled lounge bar at the front and ambient dining at the back (with a chatty front terrace to boot) – there aren’t many things The Galli doesn’t excel at. Treat your date with their 3 for £15 small plates deal (nb. they’re not that small – 3 are perfect between two people for lunch or a light early dinner), and stick around for their nightly (and free) live music.
What could be more romantic (for meat eaters) than a grand and low-lit steak restaurant? The Ox has that understated oppulence feel to it, with a top notch wine list and plenty of steak options to suit different tastes & price points – go for their early bird deal (£15 for rump steak, fries, sauce and a glass of wine) if you’re on a budget, or the 30oz T-Bone to share if you’re feeling flashy.
Two restaurants in one! Head to Otira for a more refined menu, taking inspiration from New Zealand, whereas Chandos Social is all about South American tapas (their Asado Night is good fun too!). Chandos Road in general makes a great date location, with options ranging from the stripped-back Chums micropub, to Snobby’s wine bar, to friendly brewery pub The Good Measure, to the first rate dining experience that is Wilson’s. Plus you have fantastic gastropub The Kensington Arms just around the corner!
Quiet, friendly and with a pleasantly intimate vibe, Flow prides itself on serving the best veggie dishes in the city, but its appeal goes way beyond just vegetarians. The cocktails are often made using infused spirits created in-house, and the food is inventive without being pretentious or too out-there.
Fantastic food matched with a special venue – if you’re feeling brave maybe you could suggest a spa day with your loved one before you head to the restaurant to perk up your energy levels (you can get a package to combine the two if you like). The restaurant overlooks the outdoor pool which is lovely, and the menu is great whether you’re going for breakfast, some snacky tapas or their £50 tasting menu.
Making it their business to change the way we think of pasta – cousins Dom and Ben will make you feel welcome the moment you step through the door, encouraging you to try one of their scrumptious cocktails before you delve into the menu (the lunch deal is particularly good value, and when they’re most likely to have space). The food looks great and is super tasty without being stodgy – allowing you to make through all 3 courses, hurrah! The same family also run La Sorella (and Italian deli in the centre, great for a quick drink and nibbles), Pasta Ripiena (like Loco, but more filled pasta and located in the centre) and Bianchi’s (cosy booths, low lighting and more banging food, this time in Montpelier).
Small, bustling and energetic – you’ll probably have to book but a seat up at the bar in Bravas is a great place not just for eating and drinking, but for watching the busy goings-on in the kitchen. Try the fried aubergine with molasses and their grilled Iberico pork, washed down with one of their fantabulous G&Ts, then thank me later.
A refuge for relaxed munching on the busy Stokes Croft, this is another spot that’s great for brunch, lunch or a cheeky tapas dinner. You can nab a table at the quieter back of the restaurant, or watch the hustle-bustle outside from the tall tables at the front. The seasonal cocktails are lush too.
Spoke + Stringer
Boasting one of the best views in the city across the harbour – you can sit outside on the quayside in summer, or get nice and comfortable at one of their small tables on colder days. Their brunches are award-winning, and their tapas is great too – I’d recommend getting their tasting menu for £25. They also have live music throughout the week.
Masa + Mezcal
Tacos and cocktails sounds like the dream date pairing to me, plus there’s the option of a mezcal tasting flight if you’re feeling adventurous!
It may look like a fantastic bakery at the front, but Pinkmans has also tucked away a chilled out cafe-restaurant at the back for you to enjoy pizza, breakfast and cicheti as well as their lovely cakes and sandwiches. A good option if you’ve not decided how long your date is going to last – pop in for a coffee & cake, then stay for a heartier meal if it goes well!
Finally, if you’re just going for a get-to-know-you drink, here are some of my other recommendations:
Hyde & Co.
Small and moody prohibition-style cocktail bar hidden away near The Triangle. It fills up quick, so booking via their website is advised.
The Old Bookshop
A quirky bar on North St with a good selection of drinks, regular live music and some great pop-ups throughout the year should you need to line you stomach.
Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf
Weird and wonderful beers in a harbour setting, plus they do some bangin’ fish & chips. A great choice if your date is a beer fan!
A cosy bar with outdoor seating to enjoy in summer, or a wood burner to keep you toasty in winter.
A date in a gin distillery? Yes please! As well as doing a range of great cocktails and the perfect G&T, you can also sign up to make your own gin or go to one of their flavour-led masterclasses for an extra-memorable date.
This cosy bar in the Old City conjures up the best of bars on the continent, with table service, beers from across the world (with Belgium particularly well represented) and a great selection of nibbles to go with your drinks.
Good luck on your romancing, and if you need some further tips for where to munch and drink up around Bristol:
- Bristol’s 12 Best Brunches
- Bristol’s Cosiest Pubs
- The Vegetarian Guide to Bath & Bristol
- Where to treat yourself in Bristol
- Bristol’s Best Pizza Joints