We knew it! Wine has so many wonderful attributes, and it has finally become a solid part of the dating scene. We sent out our intrepid, wine loving reporter Daisy Scalchi to see what she thought of the new events company taking the singles world by storm with a little help from a wine, beer, spirits and sometimes…axes!
Do you love drinking single varietals but don’t love being one? Do you like meeting new people but don’t always know how? My Friend Charlie is a new dating events company with food and wine at its core. So, if you’re looking for Old World love in the New World of dating, read on.
Photo credit: MyFriendCharlie.com Breaking Bad Cocktail experience
Bringing singles together with experiences
“My Mum said to me one day, ‘why don’t people meet through people anymore? It’s all online and on websites. What’s wrong with meeting friends through friends at parties?’” For Charlie Spokes, founder of the dating and events company My Friend Charlie, this was her lightbulb moment. “We just don’t meet people like that anymore. By the time you’re in your early 30s, you already know your friends’ friends and most are coupled off, so you’re meeting the same people all the time. But meeting people through friends is brilliant and I thought ‘ how can I introduce that back into our online dating culture?’”
So the sales and events executive decided to do just that. Drawing on 7 years of experience in the city, Charlie spent 6 months building her idea up from an inkling of a plan to a fully -fledged business, launching My Friend Charlie with an inaugural wine tasting event in July 2017.
Food, drink and fun activities
My Friend Charlie bases their events around an activity, usually with food and drink at the centre. She aims to curate nights where people looking to meet other people – possibly romantically but not necessarily – can be looked after and introduced to their fellow guests, as if at a dinner party hosted by the most attentive and considerate hostess. Imagine the moment – and we’ve all had them – when you walk into a party or another social function, alone, draw a deep breath and steel yourself for making your way through the unknown crowds. Charlie is the person who takes your hand as you walk through the door and says ‘Welcome, brilliant you’re here, come and meet this other lovely person’. Before you know it, a room full of strangers is talking to one another, being effortlessly guided from one end to the other, so no one gets stuck in their groups.
The activities these events are based around are just as varied as those who come along with a special focus on wine, beer, whisky and gin tasting, often paired with a quiz or, for the more accurate-of-aim, axe throwing! There is also wine trivia and cheese nights, dinner at tables hoisted 40 feet in the air above London, truffle making, cocktail code cracking and multi-sensory VR experiences…these are just some of the events on offer and unsurprisingly the appetite for them is growing.
Charlie held her first event in July last year, with 12 people. Now she is working hard to keep up with demand, hosting an event a month attended by around 20 people, with many more applying each time. Charlie carefully limits the numbers each time to ensure everyone gets a chance to meet each other. She also balances the numbers between men and women, aged between 30 and 50 years old. While most of the nights are food and drink-focussed, there are plenty of other options including a runners’ club, cycling tours, paddle boarding and poker. If you want to meet other people for fun and socialising than My Friend Charlie is a great place to go. If you want to find love? Well, that’s a trickier thing to pull off. But it does happen. At every event if someone catches your eye, you can tell Charlie and she will make sure the message is discreetly and privately relayed after the event. If it’s mutual, she’ll put you in touch and away you go. I asked her if anyone had found long lasting love through her events and in keeping with her discrete approach, she answered ‘I’ve put several people in touch who have been mutually keen who have then gone out on their own, but we don’t keep tabs from there. I like to think there are some couples still going strong…!’ With an App about to launch and 8 upcoming events to run, My Friend Charlie is a business taking root.
I wonder what Charlie’s Mum would make of her daughter’s take on old-school romance for the modern age? Charlie says she’s pleased that in an era of profiles, matches and likes, there is a new place to go where the only swiping done is of the wine bottle, by the hostess, as she tops up her guests…just like it used to be.
See details for all events at myfriendcharlie.co.uk