This post has been a long time coming. Every time I do an Instagram Q&A, somebody always asks for the best places to go on a first date in Dallas.
So it’s a bit funny that I finally decided to write out my answer to this question… but only after going on a dating app hiatus.
That’s right, folks. After having both (1) a guy eat off my plate with his bare hands and (2) a dude show up intoxicated for a first date, I’ve decided that I need a break. I need to stop going out with mysterious abject lunatics – at least for the time being – and focus on meeting people while out and about in the world. AKA in the wild. Where you can’t lie about your height by over a foot (yes, that has happened to me).
But back to the subject at hand: my picks for the best places to go on a first date in Dallas.
What I’m Wearing:
Bodysuit: Ann Taylor | Pants: Ann Taylor | Shoes: Steven, c/o Shopbop (in stock here)
Earrings: BaubleBar, c/o Shopbop | Sunglasses: Le Specs, c/o Shopbop (in stock here)
Bag: Clare V, c/o Shopbop (in stock here)
Controversial opinion: first dates should always be drinks (or coffee if you don’t drink).
Here’s my reasoning: if you do dinner, you could end up getting stuck for hours. Or tricked into spending more than you planned to spend.
I once dated a guy who had a tendency to ask me to fancy restaurants for dinner dates and then stick me with the bill when it came. It didn’t matter how many times I suggested going for burgers or cooking in instead of a fancy sushi place or pricey Italian restaurant. He’d insist on wanting to treat me to dinner, and then, every time the bill came around, he’d ask me to split it (and a few times pick it up in its entirety). So I’d be out $70-$100 on a dinner I didn’t even want, with a guy I honestly wasn’t really all that into. (Mistake #2)
To avoid all of that from happening, I always insist on drinks for a first date. If you hit it off and you want to then go for dinner that same night, great!
If you don’t hit it off and you find your date absolutely intolerable, guess what? It take 45-60 minutes to politely down a drink, settle the bill, make your excuses, and move on with your life. Even the most intolerable of humans can be tolerated for an hour. And I’m speaking from personal experience here, folks.
So we’ve established why first dates should be drinks, but the question still remains: where are the best places to go on a first date in Dallas?
The Best Places to Go on a First Date in Dallas
While this Uptown Dallas spot has become a bit overly popular, it’s still a great spot to grab a drink, especially on a nice night. The inside of Bowen House can get a bit cramped and noisy, so go early and grab a table outside.
The bartenders are essentially booze wizards who can concoct whatever drink you imagine, so feel free to deviate from the menu.
I recommend going here on a weeknight, as weekends (Thursdays-Sundays) can get super busy (and it can be nearly impossible to find parking or a table).
If it’s a nice night – no matter if it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night – HG SPLY Co.‘s rooftop is one of the best spots in the city. It has the most gorgeous views of downtown… and they have quite the specialty cocktail: frozen moscow mules (they’re amazing).
Like Bowen House, you don’t want to go to HG SPLY Co. on a weekend as you’ll barely find seating. And parking is an absolute nightmare. Instead, think of HG SPLY Co. as a great weeknight spot. Plus, if the date is going well, you can always meander downstairs for actual food later on in the evening!
Okay, this one’s a bit obscure as I’m pretty sure barely anybody knows this place exists. But it does. And it has some of the best views in Dallas.
Actually, I’m gonna backtrack that a bit. The food was meh at best. The service was flat-out terrible. But the drinks were good and the views were amazing… So I think it’d still be a great place to go for first date drinks in Dallas.
Plus, not that many people know it exists so you won’t have to bring out your evil alter ego to secure a table. They have a variety of seating, both inside and outside, so it’d be great if the weather is lovely or terrible!
Sure, everybody love going gaga over the views at Waterproof (and they are gaga-worthy!). But I personally like the cozy atmosphere of Bourbon & Banter. Both are located in The Statler downtown. However, Waterproof is a see-and-be-seen spot whereas Bourbon & Banter is a bit harder to find and thus a bit less popular than its upstairs neighbor. I’m not entirely sure if it’s considered a speakeasy, but Bourbon & Banter is cozy and produces great cocktails.
It’s a win in my book.
Plus, The Statler is the ultimate first date spot. Date’s going well? Go to one of the multiple onsite restaurants. I once had a date that started at Waterproof (on a Wednesday when it was rainy and cold outside = nobody is up there). It was going so well that we decided to go for dinner at Scout downstairs. We grabbed burgers and then not-so-silently judged those who decided to try their hand at bowling.
Sure, I once scored a perfect 0 while bowling… On a date… With the bumpers enabled. But that doesn’t stop me from judging/having a running commentary on others’ bowling skills.
PS if you’re in search of another option downtown, I also like Midnight Rambler. It can get really packed just about any night of the week or weekend, but it’s a fun spot. I like to go here on dates right after work, as it’s located in The Joule downtown. Plus, both Americano and CBD Provisions are in the building, so you have a second location primed and ready to go!
But what about for a coffee date?
Okay, I have a little less experience with coffee dates but here are my recommendations (in no particular order):
Otto’s at the Adolphus – Pros: downtown, cute interiors, multiple restaurant options onsite (aka great second location choices). Cons: closes at 7PM.
Mudsmith Coffee – Pros: two locations, open till 11PM, good coffee, and they have breakfast tacos. Both locations are near other restaurants, so good second location choices. Cons: two locations (I’ve shown up at the wrong one before) and they’re very different vibes. I’ve gone on dates at both, and I vastly prefer the Oak Lawn location. The Greenville Ave location is really dark and moody, while the Oak Lawn location has great lighting and is super welcoming.
Magnolias Sous Le Pont: Sure, this is more of a place to grab coffee while you work (con), but it’s super cute (pro). The staff is really friendly and will quickly get invested in how your date is going (both a con and a pro). Sure, there’s only one bathroom and that can be a bit aggravating (con), but it’s in the Harwood District so you can easily walk over to Dolce Riviera for dinner… or even go on a walk through the garden!
Where are your favorite places to go on a first date in Dallas? Let me know in the comments below!