One of the things I like to pride 30 Dates on is our honesty.
We don’t get paid to write the blog. We never get paid to write reviews of events. And we don’t get paid for adverts or endorsements.
Which means when we do tell you something is good, you can trust us! (As you can when something is particularly bad!)
Last night was the fourth Table8 event I’ve been to. So far every night I’ve been to has been a success in some way –
And last night didn’t disappoint.
We were back at the Mall Tavern, Notting Hill – probably my favourite pub in London for a dinner party.
And as the night came to an end, and I began my drunken trek back to Reading, I found myself wondering why the Table8 formula works every time.
1) The Venues
All of the venues are very carefully chosen. The food is incredible, and with the exception of the Caravan taster platters, which I wouldn’t try again, all the meals were ones which I would happily pay for again (and indeed have!) The evening doesn’t cost any more than a meal at the restaurant would normally, and so even if you don’t meet the man or woman of your dreams, you’re guaranteed a good feed.
As you know, I’m not a resident Londoner, but both The Coincidental and Miss 32 have assured me that the area of town is key. Table8 offer dinners all around the capital, and the type of daters the evenings attract differ according to the geographical part of town. And so, it’s important to know which part of London works best for you, and book a place on a Table in that area. As I’ve discovered on several occasions in Shoreditch, there are certain areas of London which are just far too cool and hip for me! 😉
3) The Price
It is an event pitched at single professionals. The average cost of a Table8 dinner (including half a bottle of wine) is £55, which already determines the type of singletons keen to attend. I’ve met bankers, consultants, lawyers, pilots, journalists, army officers and entrepreneurs at Table8 events. Guys and girls with similar backgrounds and personalities. Yes, that might sounds snobby, but I’ve spent enough time on Plenty of Fish and Tinder trying to work out whether I have something in common with other singletons, that it’s something of a relief to let Table8 do the legwork for once!
4) The Dinner Party Set-Up
Everyone loves a dinner party. Or rather everyone I know! If you’re a sociable, engaging person, then a dinner party set-up works well. Conversation flows as freely as the wine, and you can talk about everything and anything, in a non-pressured environment. By their very nature, dinner parties require you to engage with the other diners, and so, unlike 4 minute speed dating, they are unlikely to attract socially awkward daters. The problem with speed dating, is that often people who wouldn’t normally socialise, see it as their one opportunity to bag a member of the opposite sex. Genuinely, of the ten or so speed dating events I went to last year, ever single one was full of socially awkward men who wouldn’t talk to women in real life. The Table8 dinner party set-up simply doesn’t attract those kind of men!
5) The Alcohol
As someone who didn’t drink for a number of years, I never thought I’d say this, but quite frankly the alcohol helps. Set on Thursday and Friday evenings, people are a lot more relaxed at the Table8 dinners because they can let their hair down and drink, safe in the knowledge that at most they only have one more working day morning to get through that week. And as a result, people come out of their shells and talk about all kinds of things. Conversation last night included sex addiction, Tinder penis photos, jack-hammer dildos (don’t ask!), and walking in on your parents having sex – not conversations I’ve ever had at a more orthodox speed dating event!
6) The Round Robin Formula
Everyone sits boy-girl-boy-girl around the table, and the boys move spaces every course. So after forty-five minutes chatting to someone, he will move two places to his left. As a result, even on a 12 person table, you’ll sit next to every member of the opposite sex. Rather than being awkwardly reminiscent of speed dating, because of the set-up of the dinner table, this means you can either opt to chat one-on-one with certain daters, or become part of a larger conversation. My evening last night alternated between conversations with just one guy (oddly the man to my left on every occasion!), or conversations with up to half of the table involved.
7) The Privacy Factor
At both The Mall Tavern and Beaufort House, Table8 booked a table in a private room, so we were the only diners. This definitely helped make things more raucous, and inclusive, as it was easier to have a conversation involving half the table, because you could all hear eachother. At Caravan, I think the conversations were smaller because we were in the middle of a crowded restaurant.
8) No Forced Structure
Unlike most singles events, there is no ‘forced fun’ element. Lydia, the organiser, arrives briefly to meet and greet people, and reassure you that you’re in the right place. She gets the free wine flowing, and then once everyone is seated at the table, she leaves you to it. As diners, you orchestrate the place switching, and there is no formal end to the evening (other than the closing of the restaurant!) so you can carry on the night as long as you like. Almost every Table8 that The Coincidental has attended has ended in the early hours of the morning at a nightclub.
9) A Captive Audience
Something I noticed last night, is how easy it is to chat to people in a Dinner Party format. The evening begins with drinks in the bar, and for me this is always the hardest part. Despite being a confident girl, I hate the whole introductions part, where you have to walk up to other people and begin conversations. I always worry I’ll end up the one person in the group left not talking to someone, and tend to opt to chat to other girls at this point as it’s a lot easier. However once you’re sat at the table, with members of the opposite sex next to you, it’s impossible not to talk to them. You can’t just take the easy out and only chat to girls, because there’s at least one man sat in between you. And rather than that being awkward, it makes it really easy and natural to strike up conversation. After all – everyone is there to have a good night.
10) The Go-Between
Lydia Davis, one of the Table8 owners, and the Girl Friday who appears at the start of every Table8 dinner, makes a point of being extremely approachable. And whilst there is no set form, to declare at the end of the night who takes your fancy, in case you haven’t been forward / drunk enough to make a move on someone at the table, there’s always the option of sending Lydia a discreet email the next day. Any advances are subtly passed on, and if you reciprocate, Lydia will help you switch numbers. Simple!
Put it this way – my night at Table8 last night was so good, that I’ve only just woken up, and have sacked off all my plans for today! Definitely a sign of a good night out! 🙂
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx