So you’ve swiped right, discussed season two of Master of None, and somehow got through a whole convo without your suitor saying anything creepy. Now what? Chances are, you’ll have to come up with some place to meet. But how do you decide when a good first date spot has to support both the possibility of a hot makeout session or a quick exit? We informally polled our most eligible single friends to find seven best Austin bets.
With a dusty interior and barely there lighting, the East Austin dive may not seem like the ideal place to make goo-goo eyes, but many of our pals swear by it. For one, they have one of the best selections of whiskey in town to help pre-date jitters. And you can play darts or pool if conversation stalls. If infatuation strikes, make a night of it at the surrounding bars.
It’s true that Rainey Street can get crowded and there’s a decent chance that you'll run into last week’s Tinder date, but there are plenty of cozy corners at this lauded cocktail bar to drill your prospective partner on their voting record. If you find yourself with an incompatible match, duck into one of the many nearby bars to find a replacement IRL.
Sometimes making a good first impression involves presenting a better version of yourself. So you’ll go where the cool kids go and head to Native. With a see-and-be-seen crowd and casual counter service (not to mention a comfort food menu and approachable cocktails), Native is where you’re most likely to woo the person who gets invited to all the best parties. Let them find out you speak Klingon later.
The French know a thing or two about love. And while an impromptu trip to a Parisian cafe may be out of your OK Cupid’s budget, you can still catch a little of that je ne sais quoi at this swanky Warehouse District bar. Down an absinthe drink if your date suggests moving things to the clubs across the street (it will take some of the embarrassment out if they insist on teaching you how to Dougie).
Punch Bowl Social
Maybe your attempts at flirtation are falling flat, or maybe you’re just tired of hearing your date prattle on about their previous relationships. There are times when we all need a little distraction. Luckily, the Domain’s Punch Bowl Social has bells and whistles around every corner, from karaoke rooms to foosball to virtual reality. Should things take off, the nearby shops will come in handy for planning your wedding registry.
Radio Coffee & Beer
First dates should always be held where you’ll feel comfortable, and it's impossible to feel ill at ease at this South Austin hot spot. On warmer days, scope out a seat on the massive patio (there’s also a heated tent if you catch a little chill) and enjoy the people watching. If you're not sure how things are going, order the messiest taco from Veracruz All Natural or a sandwich from Paperboy (only available during the day). All eyes are on you if they offer to get you a napkin.
Save this one for when you are pretty sure that the date is going to go well. The Hyde Park mainstay has the sort of warm intimacy that turns a first date into a second in a flash. Plus, it allows you to choose your own adventure. If things look like they’ll get hot and heavy, stay for dessert. If the date is a dud, order another glass of pink — they don’t call them rose colored classes for nothing.