Date Night with Don Draper: Museum of Brands Lates Review
London is home to the best museum lates in the country giving people the chance to combine after work drinks with cultural intrigue at the most iconic venues. The real kicker to a museum lates date? The unspoken naughtiness of it all. We may not be scaling the diplodocus, or touching Monet’s Water-Lilies, but drinking and letting your hair down next to priceless artifacts still gives a little fist pump to the five year old you and makes for a great date night atmosphere.
With the series finale hot on our heels, we ventured to The Museum of Brands for a Mad Men themed furore into the history of advertising. Expect: nostalgia, WOW dresses, topical debates, GREAT hair and whole lot of naughty in the tunnel of love, I mean, time tunnel of brands.
My date arrived with the air of a seasoned Don Draper. The invite had stated ‘dress to impress’, yet while I stood at our meeting spot in a 1960s off-the-shoulder number that I hadn’t worn for years, and just about still fit, I felt a pang of worry that he hadn’t read the memo to smart-up. Visions of my Betty Draper attire next to his usual ‘I’m in a band’ work wear brushed my confidence, until there he was: hair gelled, sharp suit, and looking as if he’d just left a client meeting in 1960s New York…aside from the backpack that is… never saw Don Draper with a backpack.
With too-excited smiles, and dressed like an unfettered first season Mr and Mrs Draper we glide into The Museum of Brands arm in arm and are instantly teleported with an old fashioned cocktail (Draper’s choice) and The Hey Las reverberating doo-wop 60s sounds, amid an ocular feast of old time memorabilia. Stand-out favourite: the wall of TVs and radios, giving a living room feel to the museum space.
I hadn’t fully considered the effect of semi-fancy dress on a second date, let alone going on holiday to a different era with him, but I was quite excited by the discussions it provoked. The 60s were a time of societal upheaval as well as stunning aesthetics. You can’t discuss Mad Men without mention of the women’s rights movement, so I was glad that discussions of gender equalities were openly buzzing around the venue. Amongst the dress-up of ‘ladylike’ and ‘gentlemanly’ demeanours which are all so often hallmarks for ‘old fashioned romance’, the Museum of Brands held onto its ability as an educational resource to enjoy the past, without looking back with too saccharine-tinted glasses. Advertising and women’s rights are as relatable in the present day as they ever were re: Protein World debacle, and furthermore evidenced the pasts linger on the present. Are conversations on gender roles too hot for date night? I think openly discussing our thoughts and even challenging each other’s viewpoints was a great way of really getting to know each other and if our ideas had proved polarising: it’s best find out sooner than later!
With interesting conversation, the date was going well and the evening continued with more drinks, a little dancing and a late night saunter down the Time Tunnel of Brands overflowing with carefully categorised paraphernalia from pre-war Cadbury’s to naughties Spice World. And just like the fairground ride predecessor, the Time Tunnel turned into quite the Tunnel of Love as couples took the opportunity to mosey and cosy their way through the winding corridors of branded time capsules away from the central hubbub. Who knew museums could be so romantic?
I had a wonderful time at the Museum of Brands and can’t wait for their expansion into a larger premise in Notting Hill (although I hope they keep the Tunnel of Love) Reasons to go: unless you’ve been living in a commune your whole life, brands have impacted all of our lives and are a great way to share childhood memories and amaze in the journeys of household names have embarked on. And if you normally shy from a little fancy-dress, a date night at museum lates may be just the setting you need to look past the surface dress-up and explore an era fully, warts and all. After all, couples that time-travel together, stay together, and Don Draper is certainly not a bad character to start with.
Inspired to go on a date? Sign up for your to find you match.