What you are telling your date: “I like you and I want to keep you around”
Attire: Wouldn’t hurt you to throw on something from Hugh & Crye.
Cost: It’s pricy, especially is you plan on getting your date wine drunk.
What to order: Maple is known for their bruschetta, however my date and I split the lamb ragu. It was big enough for two, plus then we had more room for wine. Order the grapefruit cello for dessert.
When to go: Arrive early, stay late. The restaurant is tiny and around 8:30-9pm on Thursday-Saturday, it becomes impossible to get a table. Head to dinner between 6:30-7pm to easily get a table and enjoy happy hour prices.
Where to go after: Room 11 (see below) or Meridian Pint for a nightcap within walking distance.
What you are telling your date: “I like you sort of, maybe, we’ll see. It’s just a first date. Don’t get your hopes up.”
Attire: More casual is fine. Chucks and a t-shirt are acceptable here.
Cost: You won’t break the bank here. Drinks aren’t too expensive and most menu items between $8-10, unless your date is a brat and goes for the most expensive entrees.
What to order: Everything I’ve tried on the menu has been above average for bar food. Try the goat cheese and rosemary dumplings or seven cheese mac and cheese. Don’t worry, you’re date can order a skinny grapefruit martini to make up for all the extra cheese calories.
When to go: Wednesday is open mic night, if it’s a first date that might be a good distraction. Avoid trivia night on Thursdays unless you know she likes trivia. I HATE trivia and would be enraged all night. Live music on Friday nights is always a good choice.
Where to go after: There isn’t much you can walk to without your date complaining. Instead, hop in a cab or an Uber (if you’re feeling fancy) and head to your favorite spot in your ‘hood.
What you are telling your date: “I like you but not enough to take you to Maple”
Attire: Can go either way. It is a cozy, wine bar. Wear something with buttons.
Cost: It’s less pricey than Maple, only because the menu style is small plates. However, if you are ordering cocktail after cocktail, expect to shell out more cash than usual.
What to order: The drinks list is mostly wine, but go out of your way to order the burnt sugar old fashioned. It’s phenomenal. The menu is mostly small plates, pick a couple to share, but note that if you’re sitting inside you won’t have much elbow room.
When to go: Anytime. Room 11 is tiny and cozy, but if you go there and it’s packed, you can easily head to Meridian Pint instead. Just keep that as a fall back plan.
Where to go after: You should already be moderately tipsy and done with trying to impress each other. Walk down to Wonderland Ballroom to drink PBRs and play How-Many-Hipsters-Can-You-Fit-In-One-Bar.
What you are telling your date: “I don’t need to get drunk to enjoy your company. And I like crepes.”
Attire: Completely casual. I mean, you’re eating food covered in powedered sugar.
Cost: You will get away with a $20 date between two coffees and splitting a crepe.
What to order: Split the Barbarella crepe. It’s nutella and bananas. If your date doesn’t like nutella and bananas, then move on with your life.
When to go: Anytime. The cafe is actually a fairly decent size and you won’t be fighting for a seat. I suggest sitting by the window up front for optimum people watching. Also, they happen to play the best date music I’ve ever heard. I actually fell in love with Eric Wang during a meeting there simply based on the music in the background.
Where to go after: If it is a coffee date, it’s probably also a day date. Get your coffee to go and walk over to the fountain at Park and 14th for excellent people watching.
Tynan Coffee & Tea
What you are telling your date: “I don’t know if I like you enough to take you on a real date. And I like waffles.”
Attire: Something you don’t care if you spill coffee on.
Cost: Less than $20 even if you both get coffee and a snack.
What to order: Depends on when you go, however, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with the waffle of the day.
When to go: Anytime. There is enough nearby that you can walk to if you and your date are hitting it off. If you don’t hit it off? Ditch that broad and spend 3-4 hours looking at TVs in Best Buy.
Where to go after: Same rules apply as Coffy Cafe.
Have any to add to the list? Feel free to leave it in the comments. Cheers!
- Suzie Robb