Whether you’re a single gal looking for a reliable spot for a first or second date or one-half a couple wanting to have a special night out, here’s a list of recommendations for you!
Need more date ideas? We got you.
1. For a fancy night: B&B Butchers
Celebrating something? This renowned steak spot on Washington Avenue is a pretty big deal. Like, make some reservations and plan to go all-out spending wise. There is a happy hour and bar menu, but to get the full experience, take it upstairs to their gorgeous dining room with a stellar view of downtown.
2. Cozy and cute: Coltivare
This has bound to be on the short list for dates everywhere. It’s adorable! Right on White Oak, you’ve probably driven past the tiny spot several times, Coltivare doesn’t take reservations, so a date might start with drinks in the garden until you can sit down. Great for wine, beer and cocktails, and you gotta try whatever pasta they have on the menu or split a pizza.
Plus: Date topic idea. Is it pronounced “colt-a-vair” or “colt-a-var-ie”? We may never know.
3. For a second or third date: BB Lemon
Second or third date is getting pretty serious. Here’s when you find out more about your date — take notes, there will be a test after. Share some cottage fries or brussel sprouts and DEFINITELY try the Bell of the Ball cocktail.
4. Cheap eats: Melange Creperie
Sometimes you need a less formal date idea. Melange has been one of our favorite spots for years — from the time of the food cart in Midtown to the days in the Conservatory. Now, it’s settled in Heights Mercantile, perfect for a shopping date or a quick bite. Plus, what’s more romantic than watching someone struggle hard with runny siracha dripping down their arm. (To avoid, get the ham and cheese.)
5. For a group date: Piggy’s Kitchen
Piggy’s has quickly become my favorite spot for brunch or happy hour — both menus are great. Grab a couple couples and split a carafe of mimosas and no one is likely to get the same thing. They got so many options. Parking kinda sucks here, but there’s both a large indoor dining room AND a sick patio.
6.Wine and dine: Postino
I like that Postino in Heights Mercantile keeps it simple. Bread, cheese, wine. Obviously, it’s a little more extensive than that, but yeah, those are the building blocks for sure. It’s dark and romantic, so perf for a date night!
7. Keep it healthy: Bebidas
Cheap and healthy anyone? Grab a smoothie or a juice at Bebidas. This is a good first weekend day date or maybe your partner and you like to run together (good for y’all) and need a post sweat spot. (There’s a cute park across the street!)
8. French af: Brasserie du Parc
Oui, oui! I’m obsessed with this downtown spot. Fun drinks and a cute terrace view of Discovery Green and you’ll think you and your date flew off to Paris for the night. It’s a tad pricey, so might be a spot for a special occasion. Great spot to start an evening out too, since it’s a romantic downtown walk to Main Street and all the bars over there.
9. Split a spaghetti: Riva’s
There’s not a cuter and more fun restaurant than Riva’s. Your server will be hilarious — call you sweetie, likely in a sassy way — and you will drink $5 wine — that’s filled basically to the rim. It’s got a dark and romantic dining room and patio and a whole list of perfected pasta — but you can’t go wrong with the spaghetti carbonara. Plus, every dinner comes with garlic bread and a salad before the entree.
10. Fajitas for two: El Tiempo
Hi, it’s Texas. This would be an awful list if I didn’t include some Tex-Mex on there. El Tiempo is a favorite for any occasion, but especially for a date. Here’s why: Their fajitas are perfect to split! Get the queso and margs to start, then order the half pound (or a full if you and your date are starved). Most locations are super busy for dinner, but I’ve found that the El Tiempo on Montrose is the way to go — parking in the lot or the neighborhood out back and little to no wait!
Bonus: Here’s a list of spots that are first-date worthy
If you’re dating, you’ve probably gone on a fair amount of first dates — some disastrous, likely. May as well have a few old reliable spots up your sleeve.
- Julep. Fancy cocktails!
- Kirby Ice House. Huge — go for drinks and, if all goes well, stay for food truck eats.
- 13 Celsius. Known for being a Tinder meet up bar, but don’t let that scare you.
- Karbach or St. Arnold’s. You get three beers and a free glass out of this, and if the date sucks you can save the beer tokens for later!
- Pitch 25. Play some yard games like the big jenga or something. Plus, another spot that drinks can turn into dinner.
- Nett Bar. Cute spot and cheap shots when the train goes by.
- Soma Sushi. It’s almost always happy hour, so rolls are cheap and so is the sake.
- FM Kitchen. Cutest patio and garage-style indoor dining/drinking.
- The Ginger Man. Cozy spot with a great patio (two locations! Rice Village and Midtown.)
- Anvil. Another reliable spot for fancy drinks. Great spot to start a night out.
- Providence Bar. This spot is super under the radar (it’s right by McIntyre’s, so if it goes well, hop on over there to watch a game! McIntyre’s can be kind of loud for a first date though.)
- Antidote. This coffee spot is super cute and great for a weekend day date.
- Finn Hall. Not a whole lot of downtown spots I’d recommend for a first date, but this food hall is super easy to spend some time with a new beau.
- Axelrad. Beer, cocktails and live music. Move things to the hammock area if things go well…