So, you’ve swiped right on 50 people and eventually one of them swiped right on back. Unusually for a dating app, you both start to talk to each other and eventually decide to go on your first date. In real life no less. But where do you venture?
Choosing the right location can make or break the date. You don’t want to go somewhere too noisy and not be able to hear them. You can’t take them somewhere that is too quiet as there is nothing more awkward than being the only conversation ringing in the bar. And the golden rule is always choosing somewhere with low light, dimmed to perfection. I’ll let you figure out why that’s important. Here are some great places to go based on what type of evening you want to have. Second date almost guaranteed.
The Cool Drinks Date
Do you or your date enjoy the trendy, dare I say “hipster” bars of Sydney? Primarily these bars are smaller and specialise in cocktails. Food can be hard to come by so use it as a tester, if after two drinks you want a few more nibbles then go somewhere with food. If after two drinks you never want to see that person again then it’s quick and easy to bail.
The Midnight Special, Newtown
The Midnight Special is a dimly lit bar right near Newtown’s King Street. The bar has wine, tap beers and their speciality is cocktails. They have an exhaustive whisky list and have daily deals if you are looking to keep costs down. Try Tuesday nights where they have a 2 for 1 deal on wine and cheese. See, you can date on the cheap.
Sydney’s CBD is not short of basement bars but Ramblin’ Rascal is one of the best. Don’t be confused by the Tavern name, this is an inventive cocktail bar that likes to have fun. Enter through the unmarked door and settle into one of their red booths. They also have a range of beers if cocktails aren’t your thing.
Finding this place can be tough but the reward is worth seeking out. This is a no-frills gritty bar that has beer, spirits and house wine. It is reasonably priced and in great proximity to other bars and restaurants if the night goes well. Try getting there early to get a space in the small rooftop area.
The Live Music Date
Your date only listens to Triple J, voting in the Hottest 100 took them five hours and you have never heard of half of their music references in banter. Luckily unknown live music is the easiest to go and see without spending a fortune. These bars all host smaller bands that you may not have heard of but that doesn’t detract from the experience.
Frankie’s Pizza, CBD
I am obligated to include Frankie’s as it was the location of my first date to my current partner. So, it has a proven success rate. This little pizza bar has a great choice of beer or cider and you can get pizza by the slice when the alcohol overcomes you. In the side room, they have free live music usually of the grungy, punk variety. Make your way downstairs if the music gets a little too much, it’ll feel like another venue entirely.
The Soda Factory, Surry Hills
The Soda Factory is a lover of events, every single night there is a different unique selection. Most of their nights have a focus on live music and you can go in for free. Taking inspiration from “The Breakfast Club” in London, you enter this bar through a vending machine that is in their Boss Dogs shop frontage. They also have cheap food if you get hungry.
The Socialite Date
Let’s face it, some dates want to be seen, even if they are on a first date. Their Instagram is full of photos on yachts or going to some of the fanciest places in Sydney. Make sure you step up and take them to some of Sydney’s best “to-be-seen” bars. Also doesn’t hurt if they you take a good picture for their Instagram, so they know they can count on you later.
Coogee Pavilion Rooftop, Coogee
You can’t beat a classic and the revamped Merivale Coogee Hotel is just that. This is a place to be seen regardless of what time of year. It breaks the low-light rule but it’s worth it for the venue’s view alone. Everyone on the rooftop looks like they are from a catalogue, so dress sharp if you don’t want your date’s eyes wandering.
The Winery, Surry Hills
As the name suggests, this is the place for wine. Their list is exhaustive and perfect for the twosome looking to share a bottle. Their outdoor space is quaint and dimly-lit and ideal for both summer and winter nights. Hide away at a smaller table and you will not be disturbed all night.
Watsons Bay Hotel, Watsons Bay
What better way to start a date than a romantic ferry ride across the harbour. If the idea of talking to your date without a drink scares you then either you’re not ready for it or you should just meet them there. This is the place to be on a sunny afternoon and for a socialite it is everything. It’s a bit further away but you truly can’t beat if for a sunny afternoon drink.
The Dinner Date
Sometimes you want to be a traditionalist and take your date to dinner. If they are not vegan this is generally an easy proposition. But where do you take the date that will keep costs low and please their taste buds? That is the challenge and these spots aim to fulfil everyone.
121BC, Surry Hills
Gourmet Italian food, lots of wine and low light. It’s like this place was made for first dates. Whilst sharing a long communal table may put some people off it does wonders for a first date. The close quarters and rush of the restaurant will almost force conversation and if it doesn’t then maybe they’re not the right date for you.
Shared plates are the ultimate first date dining experience. See if your taste buds are compatible and you can also determine if they are the selfish or sharing type. Tuck yourselves away in the back and be prepared for an uninterrupted, shared experience.
Claire’s Kitchen at Le Salon, Darlinghurst
Paris is called the city of love, in no small part thanks to the glamourous French restaurants and food that surround the city. Claire’s Kitchen brings that decadence to Sydney. The food is a traditional Brassiere menu paired with exclusively French wine. Start upstairs with a drink at Le Salon before heading downstairs for the full experience.
Image source: Broadsheet, Where To Tonight, The Rooftop Guide, Frankie’s Pizza, Concrete Playground, Pages Digital, Eat Read Love, Sydney Social 101, Delicious Magazine, The Crafty Pint, I’m Still Hungry, The Winery.