When your first date doesn’t center around a specific activity — museum exhibit, sporting event, concert — the open-endedness of choosing a place can be overwhelming. How do you know whether you’ve chosen the perfect date spot? Here are 7 qualities to look for when deciding where to take someone out.


It’s Somewhere You Like, But Not Your Favorite Spot.

Your favorite spot is sacred, man. Save it for the third or fourth date, but definitely don’t take someone there unless you’ve pre-vetted them to know you’ll have a good time. You don’t want to mar your favorite place with memories of potentially lackluster dates.


It’s Someplace You Can Chill for Up to 2 Hours

If your date goes well, you’re going to end up lingering a long time, even if you were just meeting for coffee. The problem with a place like, for example, Starbucks, is that it’s not an ideal place to spend more than, say, 45 minutes. Choose an environment where you can really relax and not even notice how much time has gone by. If the date sucks, you can always leave early.


It’s Close to Other Things.

Always have a plan for how to elongate the date if it goes well. For example: if you meet up for coffee, make sure there’s a restaurant nearby in case you want to suggest dinner. If you’ve met up for dinner, choose someplace that’s near a bar where you could go for a nightcap.


It’s Not Too Loud.

Nothing kills potential romance like having to scream “What??” to each other, over and over again.


It’s Lively Enough.

It can be surprisingly uncomfortable to have a first date at a bar or a restaurant where you’re the only patrons. Having other people around can go a long way in making things feel more natural, and talking about the people around you is always a good talking point if the conversation runs dry.


It’s Not Your “Cheers” Bar

If you’re lucky enough to have a bar where everyone truly knows your name (in 2020, no less!), then you should feel pretty badass, but you should not choose this spot for first dates. Way too intimidating! On a first date, you want someplace where the chances of running into someone you know (and awkwardly having to introduce your date as…a friend? And possibly having to small talk with the interloper) are slim. Don’t worry: the Cheers bar will get you major points later on in the relationship.


It’s Far Enough Away From Where You Live.

It’s ok to hope that the evening ends up at your place. But you have to at least pretend that you weren’t planning on ending up there all along. Choose somewhere that’s at least a few blocks away — picking someplace across the street is poor form.

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