Where to Go: First Date Guide (Vol 1)

Where to go for Drinks, Food, Adventure

Congratulations you did it! All of your best lines paid off and you finally got the date. Now what? The venue you choose says a lot about you as a person and sets the tone/mood for your date. If you’re worried about where to go for your first date.

calabash-insidStarting off on the right foot has a huge impact on the remainder of the date. Grabbing drinks at one of the below places will make sure you’re having fun from the very beginning that will carry on throughout the night. We couldn’t fit all of the great places DC has to offer, but we share some of our favorite unique and casual places to get to know each other:


  • Maketto – a hip & trendy coffeehouse/restaurant with a local fashion marketplace. Maketto boasts a large open space with modern decor and an outdoor patio with community table seating. Located on H Street.
  • Calabash Tea – sexy and spiritual, this exotic tea shop in Shaw offers distinct herbal blends of Love Potion and All Night Long! An in-house DJ spins every Friday from 6-9pm.
  • NorthSide Social & Coffee – the iconic and cozy coffee shop brings west coast vibes to the east. Happy hour Mon-Sat from 5-7pm: $5 wine options; select discounts on beer. Located in Clarendon, VA.
  • Tryst – a relaxed and casual coffeehouse with mismatched sofas, warm lighting, sandwiches & sweets. Happy hour specials include: Wednesdays – 50% off Wine Bottles & 30% off Cheese/ Charcuterie Plates. Located in Admo.
  • American Ice co – a small, rustic, comfortable bar and restaurant located a block off the U Street corridor/metro. Outdoor community seating available with heaters.
  • The Gibson – a sleek space with dark lighting offering up Prohibition-era cocktails & a charming outdoor patio. Located on U Street.
  • Bar Dupont – Swanky date? Grab patio seating – or take your drinks inside for an upscale convo in a chic lounge setting surrounded by trendy decor overlooking the sights and sounds of Dupont Circle. Happy Hour Specials Daily (5:30pm- 7pm) $7 Cocktails, $6 Wines, $5 Beer.
  • Cafe Saint EX – a bistro style bar with a cool, aviation-themed barroom and outdoor tables.. Happy hour Monday-Friday (5-7 PM): $4.50 house wines by the glass.
  • Rocket Bar – dive bar with a twist. Descend the stairs into the basement to enjoy darts, skee ball, and pool in Chinatown. Great location to bar hop. Happy hour specials: Mon – Fri (4-7pm) $4 Wine, $4 Drafts.
  • Others: Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Jug and Table Wine Bar, Quarter + Glory, Sehkraft Brewing, Mission Dupont, Zengo, Herald & Black, Baked & Wired

Now that the drinks and the conversation are flowing show your date that you have a taste for the finer things in life by enjoying dinner at some of DC’s best bites.


  • Compass Rose – warm and energetic vibes with small plates from around the world. If your taste buds could speak they would thank you in all the languages of the world. Located near U Street.
  • Daikaya Izakaya (upstairs) – a fun and casual, down to earth Chinatown bar & restaurant specializing in Japanese fusion. Located in Chinatown.
  • Barcelona – small plates and wine in an intimate and charming setting indoors. The outdoor patio is relaxed yet still romantic if you’re lucky to get the highly coveted seating. Located on 14th Street.
  • Room 11 – a small intimate nook with a trendy vibe, eclectic small plates in a room with zinc bar & large patio. Room 11 is a great option for a neighborhood restaurant, bakery, coffee shop, and cocktail bar near Columbia Heights.
  • Others: Eat the Rich, Graffiato, Palette 22, Maple

Made it through dinner without spilling pasta all over you shirt? Well done. Keep the night going and end on a high note with an exciting finish to lock up that second date with some of the most adventurous places in DC.


  • Sportrock – get out of your first date comfort zone and rock climb for a unique experience. Try the open belay with a trainer for your first time($5). Or if you’re feeling brave, boulder on your own for a $18 day pass. Located in Alexandria, VA.
  • Gravelly Point  – picnic on the grassy knoll and watch the airplanes come in for landing at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Stick around for the sunset and the view. Located off of Northbound George Washington Parkway.
  • DC Improv– get your laugh on at one of DC’s best stand-up comedy clubs. Seating is first come, first serve be sure to get there early to secure the best seats. Located in Dupont.
  • Monuments at Night – there is no better place to end the night staring at the moon and then into each other’s eyes than on the steps of the Lincoln memorial with honest Abe looking on, approvingly.

After a great night of well picked places you’re sure to get a call back for a second date. For more, check out DateSpott for unique date ideas at some of the most charming places DC has to offer.

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