Hattie Lloyd 13/03/22

An Independent Date Night in Highbury

Itinerary Location: Highbury | Duration: An evening

For your next date night, you’re going independent.

By which we certainly don’t mean that you’re heading out alone – rather that you’re going to enjoy an evening that features unique, independently run local spots – all of which you’ll find within a 20 minute strolling radius in Highbury. So put on your gladrags, and meet your significant other for…


BookBar is the kind of independent book store that exists only in romcoms… and on Blackstock Road. Owner Chrissy is passionate about getting people to talk about good books, which explains why she not only curates ‘prescriptive’ bundles as part of her Shelf Medicate series, but also serves wine. So pop in with your date, pick out a book for each other and if the weather’s fine, spend the golden hour at a table outside with a glass of something cold, reading out your first pages… (because if you’re going to a romcom location, you may as well have a romcom date).

Glasses emptied, take a taxing 1 minute stroll up Blackstock Road and swing a right onto Mountgrove…


Islington has a lot of excellent restaurants that could feed you very well, any day of the week. But tonight, you’re heading to Top Cuvée, the wine bar & small plates eatery from the award-winning Three Sheets team.

This lively little nook makes an ideal date spot – a mix of counter dining and individual tables keep the ambience convivial, but the seats are spaced far enough apart for you and your date to have a private conversation. The setting’s relaxed, with simple furnishings, bare walls and soft lighting, but touches like the tealights on every table add just the right level of romance.

And then there’s the food.

top cuvee date night

With a Parisian accent to the menu, you’ll find dishes designed for sharing like smoked duck rillettes with cornichons; tender braised pigs cheeks with smoked celeriac and hazelnut pesto; and a raspberry chocolate mousse with salted caramel (although best to order two of those, if you want there to be a second date).

Lick the plates clean, then take a walk down Gillespie Road, turning left down Drayton Park for…


highbury library

Around halfway down the road, you’ll be hit by the lilac glow of Highbury Library. This neon-lit natural wine bar rates bottles according to an in-house Wild Scale (1 being the most approachable, 5 being for biodynamic fiends who can handle the funk). Currently they’re recommending the Toi Je Sais Gamay, which feels appropriately romantic, but you can also spring for one of their craft beers (try the sour made from beetroot), or pre-batch cocktails.

Head out to the back garden for a quieter setting, or make use of the fact that Highbury Library’s also a shop and take a bottle home…


The Itinerary:

BookBar | 166 Blackstock Road, London N5 1HA | No bookings

Top Cuvée | 177B Blackstock Road, London N5 2LL | Book here

Highbury Library | 66A Drayton Park, London N5 1ND | Book via [email protected]

Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at the best bars in Islington.

Highbury Date Night Itinerary

Starts at BookBar, 166 Blackstock Road, Highbury, N5 1HA