Fun First Dates
7 funky Austin spots for an unforgettable first date
You're living in one of the best cities for singles, which means it's also one of the hottest spots for first dates. And Austin has plenty of "weird" activities to turn your next Tinder date — or Bumble, or Hinge, or Happn, or wherever the kids are meeting each other these days — into a lifelong memory.
Whether you find true love or an entertaining story to share with your friends, these first date ideas are guaranteed to break the monotony of bar hopping and chilling.
Mead and greet
Are you familiar with mead? Of course not, and chances are your date won't be either. That's what makes a tour of Meridian Hive Meadery a great first date idea: You'll learn something new, you'll drink plenty of booze, and you'll have the rest of the evening to do as you choose. Public tours take place on Fridays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 3 pm, leaving you time to sit in the tasting room and talk about everything from the subtleties of fermented honey to your own personal histories.
If things are going well: Keep the bee theme alive at Royal Jelly with a casual atmosphere and reasonably priced eats.
If they aren’t: Call a friend and drown your sorrows in a giant bowl of soup at the original Ramen Tatsu-ya.
A good match
For sportier suitors who’d like to show off their athletic abilities without breaking a sweat, kick things off with a friendly (or serious) game of pingpong at either Austin Table Tennis Club or Pong Club. Both establishments offer warp-free tables and a strict no-drunken-dude-bros policy. It's the perfect place to test each other’s hand-eye coordination and intellect without some wannabe Rob Gronkowski repeatedly reminding you that he’s got next.
If things are going well: Place a "loser buys first round" bet on the final game and move the date to a nearby bar.
If they aren’t: Sign up for a lesson with one of the world champion instructors.
Brews, booze, and board games
If you prefer competition that requires more thinking than moving, meet at Emerald Tavern Games and Cafe for Cuvee Coffee, craft beer, and one of the greatest selections of board games in Austin. Grab a classic like backgammon or a new favorite like Bananagrams and see which of you can mask your true competitive spirit the longest. Emerald Tavern also has a great selection of baked goods, soups, and sandwiches, in case that game of Scrabble takes a little longer than expected.
If things are going well: Grab a six-pack and continue gaming at Pinballz, Austin's favorite BYOB arcade.
If they aren’t: Challenge yourself to a riveting game of Solitaire.
A leap of faith
Although it may not sound weird to anyone who watched a fair amount of '90s dating shows, trapezing is still odd enough to get a raised eyebrow out of your date. If he or she agrees to give it a go, Trapeze Texas is ready to accommodate. This East Austin circus is home to the world's only outdoor double-facing trapeze rig, but more importantly, it's walking distance to one of the city's best bar districts. You'll probably need something to calm your nerves after your jump, and you'll have no problem rehashing the experience over some drinks.
If things are going well: Swing by Whisler's for specialty cocktails and Thai-Kun food.
If they aren’t: Wait for the world to stop spinning at Stay Gold.
A test of fate
To determine compatibility on a first date, you can spend a couple of hours talking about your favorite music, movies, and TV shows or just let a tarot reader tell you if you're wasting your time. Sister Temperance — Austin's highest-rated Tarot expert — offers abbreviated readings at Hotel San Jose on the third Sunday of every month. It won't be as intense as her typical hour-long sessions, but it will let you know if you should go for a drink or dial your rescue friend.
If things are going well: Grab that drink and a bite to eat at Snack Bar, but avoid the "I love you so much" mural. #toosoon
When was the last time you played bingo? If your answer is, "Not since I hit puberty," try Big Star Bingo at the corner of North Lamar and 183. It’s the same game you loved as a child, but with a BYOB policy and a $17,000 payout every night. You probably won’t win any of it, but you’ll have fun learning each other's backstories and quietly creating one for your fellow patrons. Added bonus: All proceeds go to charity.
If things are going well: Win or lose, head to Black Star Co-op for some microbrews and pub food.
If they aren’t: Go to Sunrise Mini Mart for a surprisingly great beer selection, gourmet chocolate, and some scratch-off lottery tickets.
Altruism is sexy — according to several studies quoted in a recent Tech Insider article — and this city is brimming with opportunities to be sexy. Enter any Austin ZIP code into givepulse.com and you'll find everything from trail cleaning to puppy bathing, and what’s more endearing than watching someone scrub the fleas off a shelter dog's belly? When you do good, you feel good, and feeling good is the first step to a good first date. If your potential mate doesn't think this is a good idea, they're probably a bad person.
If things are going well: After you shower, reward your good deeds with food, drinks, bowling, and other activities at The Goodnight.
If they aren’t: Don't worry, at least somebody benefited from your misery.