Location: King’s Cross | Duration: 4 hours
Fancy a date with Tom Hanks this Thursday?
Well good news, because he’ll be here – albeit in disembodied, audio form – as you whisk your date around King’s Cross on a night that’s unexpected, entertaining, and just a tiny bit Christmassy. And if you’re on a pre-Christmas budget? No problemo – skip the first and last stops and you can have an exceptionally romantic night for £15 each.
So meet your date under the 46ft Christmas tree in Coal Drops Yard, and stroll up past the neon tree sculpture towards Lightroom…
➊ THE MOONWALKERS | 6pm
After the roaring success of Lightroom’s debut exhibition, David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller and further away), the four storey-high walls of this digital gallery are now being used for something that is smaller and further away: the moon.
The Moonwalkers tells the story of mankind’s missions to the moon, with dazzling 360° photographs that envelop you in floor-to-ceiling lunar landscapes. It’s basically like stepping into a documentary, featuring interviews with astronauts, vintage footage from the first ever landing, and a soaring soundtrack from HIJACK composer Anne Nikitin. Oh, and the whole thing is narrated by none other than Tom Hanks, which is nice.
Intergalactic travel portion of the evening complete, it’s time for an apéritif. Turn left out the gallery, then right up Handyside Street, towards Happy Face pizza. We say ‘towards’, because in fact you’ll immediately be heading downstairs, below the restaurant, into –
It’s a suave, subterranean den for drinking and dancing (later in the night, when the disco ball gets going and the music’s pumped up). But at this time of the evening, it’s a cosy little hideaway for a sharpener before dinner – especially if you can swing by before 7pm, when they run their £7 aperitivo hour. The negronis are excellent, but if you’re after something different the talented barkeeps will even knock up something for you off-menu – they’re that good.
Don’t allow yourself to get too comfy, though, because you’ll need at least a shred of hand-eye coordination for the next part of your date…
➌ CLUB CURLING
Time to sweep your date off their feet with everyone’s favourite Olympic sport: curling. Sure, the pop-up lanes at Club Curling might not have real ice… or any sweeping… so yes, it’s basically winter petanque. But all the better, because that means it’s going to be much, much easier now that you’re a negroni in.
On Thursday nights, your 45 minute tournament will be soundtracked by 90s DJ sets, while a pop-up bar is on hand to keep you hydrated with frozen cocktails. After all, that’s where having the real ice counts.
In fact, Thursday nights will see all of Coal Drops Yard’s shops open until late – but you should make a beeline up and across Granary Square to check out…
➍ CANOPY MARKET
Canopy Market is one of London’s best Christmas markets, and in the run up to the festive season it’s going to be running six days a week. In fact, on Thursday evenings the whole covered hall transforms into a night market, with each of its independent stalls hawking their wares till 9pm. Live bands serenade you as you peruse handmade jewellery, ceramics, prints and more – and there’s always the option to take a little cup of mulled wine around with you, if purely for the hand-warming effect.
There’s dozens of street food vans parked up here too, if you fancy grabbing a casual bite together (and keeping things budget-friendly). But for something a bit fancier, head off to one last destination…
➎ BARRAFINA KING’S CROSS
Barrafina never fails as a date spot. You get to tentatively brush knees while seated up at the glossy marble counter. You can order a boatload of salt cod croquettes while deciding what you want to order. And you can have a lot of fun discovering whether you’re sherry people or not. The buzz of activity in the open kitchen is enough to save any date from awkward silences – but frankly, you’ll be so enamoured with the pork belly buns, the gambas rojas and the three-cheese cheesecake that you’ll inevitably leave feeling enamoured with each other too.
Back to the disco ball it is…
…or find another way tapas the rest of the evening.
➊ The Moonwalkers | Lightroom, 12 Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4DY | £25+
➋ Supermax | 14-18 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN | £7 cocktails before 7pm
➌ Club Curling | Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ | £8pp
➍ Canopy Market | West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH | Free entry
➎ Barrafina King’s Cross | 27 Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4AB | Average spend £50pp
Looking for more date ideas? Check out our other Nudge Itineraries