There was a period of time not so far in the past in which medical problems rendered me unable to drink. I refer to this time as the Dark Ages. Unfortunately, the Dark Ages followed the Cry And Eat A Lot Of Ice Cream period, which can alternately be referred to as the Getting Over A Breakup days. Therefore, a lot of really awkward first dates occurred in that time when unlucky circumstances forbade me from destroying my liver with vodka.
Now that I can drink again, I always seem to find myself at bars on first dates. And while I do have very fond feelings for alcohol, much like Kanye West has very fond feelings for himself, the main reason I always default to a bar for a first date is because there aren't a lot of great alternatives.
A good first date spot is one that has lots of ambiance, affords the flexibility of staying for three hours (wow, this date is going awesome) or 30 minutes (does this guy not know his toupee is migrating south as we speak?), and one that is vibrant and interesting, but not so loud or crowded that you can't talk with ease. And you can forget any cute ideas like walking among the cherry blossoms or flying a kite on the mall when it's the middle of January.
But do not fear, you can find alternatives to bars that offer the same advantages and none of the pressure to drink. Here's one to check out, and one to avoid at all costs.
A GOOD PLACE TO TAKE A DATE
Napoleon, a classy bistro on Columbia Road, has ambiance to spare. Who needs alcohol when you have seductive black chandeliers glittering above walls with gold accents? It manages to pull off class without seeming too fussy- it's got that certain je ne sais quoi the French are so good at. Boy, there's been a lot of love for France on this site lately, hasn't there? Here's a random insult to offset it- you're a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys!
Napoleon has a large bar area where you can perch while sipping a delicacy from their impressive list of gourmet coffees and teas. If you get hungry, there are lots of delicious treats to choose from, and you can easily extend the date if it's going well.
Still not convinced? Two words for you: Nutella espresso.
A BAD PLACE TO TAKE A DATE
Look, I love Starbucks, a fact which would be pretty evident if I actually kept track of how much I spend there each month and was able to horrify you with that figure.
But that's part of the problem- Starbucks is ubiquitous. It's often difficult to even ascertain which Starbucks your date wants to meet at because there are multiple on the same street. It is frequently filled with screaming children. It is too bright inside. It will be easy for the people sitting next to you to hear your conversation and make you uncomfortable with their judgmental looks. It is simply not a good place for a date. Just say no!