Following the streetlamp-lit concrete steps down to the wrought-iron entrance of WC in Clapham, you’d think that you were in the wrong place for a romantic date venue. Pass through the curtained doorway, however, and you’re greeted by a space almost entirely illuminated by candlelight, with the dulcet tones of the likes of Al Green and Bill Withers playing over the sound system. Though not the first of its kind in London, since opening, WC has attracted a regular crowd of young professionals, and established itself as a great first date option, striking the balance between cool and cosy.
Wedged right next to Clapham Common tube station, WC (Wine & Charcuterie) is one of the area’s hidden gems. Opened in 2014, the 100 year old former public toilet turned wine bar was brought to life by owners Andy Bell and Jayke Mangion after the space lay derelict for more than 30 years. In keeping with its history, many of the original features have been retained (after a thorough cleaning), such as the mosaic-style flooring and tiled walls.
Formed of a single room filled with candlelit leather booths and wooden tables for two, this place is small and well-thought out, with just enough room and light to create an intimate setting. There is a good selection of old and new world wines to suit all tastes and budgets (a bottle of house wine will set you back around £21), and the list is changed often. If you’re feeling peckish, WC’s food menu is simple but flavoursome, centered around sharing meat and cheese platters, priced from £15.50. There are various snacks on offer too, such as the jalapeno and chorizo mac’n’cheese (which comes highly recommended!), and olives and flatbread from next door’s well-known pizza parlour, Joe Public.
Like most popular bars in London, WC does not take bookings – unless you’re a party of five or more. This is both a blessing (ideal for when you’re feeling spontaneous) and a curse (towards the end of the week, the waitlist can be an hour or more). Adding to its first date night appeal, on Sunday and Monday evenings WC has live music too, so no need to worry about lapses in conversation!
Overall: 5/5 – At first glance WC could be mistaken for just another hipster ‘concept’ bar, but this oddly charming, unpretentious venue has won us over with its romantic ambience, well-priced drinks and great music – there’s a reason it’s known for being a great date venue!
Cost: Very reasonable, £5.50 for a glass of house wine
Dress code: After work/casual