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Boston friends: You wanted food recs. Now you got 'em.

Go Boston: Where To Date

Go Boston: Where To Date

My friends are laughing right now. I won't tell you why but... I think you can figure it out.

Okay I barely dated anyone in college, that's why. 

Shut up.


Nice To Meet You


(Frank R, CC)

City Bar @ The Lenox

Leading off with a pair of solid go-tos in case you don't have a ton of time to plan (and/or don't care too much about originality...you should), first up is City Bar at The Lenox. Ambiance, good to great cocktails, fancy old hotel in Back Bay, never too crowded, check check check aaaand check.

cl@$$Y (via Yelp)

cl@$$Y (via Yelp)

Towne

The nice thing about Towne besides the delish food is that it gives you options: entrance bar, restaurant bar, or upstairs party bar? For a first date I'd stick with the first bar, as it's populated but usually a little quieter than its comrades (you can often find the finance bro crowd upstairs). That is, unless you don't care about listening to your date, in which case we have bigger problems to address.

"Summertiiime, and the [eatin's] easy"

(almost) Porgy & Bess, via Yelp

Rooftop @ Felipe's Taqueria

If you know your date's not looking for the standard - dark bar, lots of people, intimate table, crazy cocktails that take too long - then I'd try Felipe's Taqueria in a heartbeat. Right on Harvard Square and offering solid snacks and probably the cheapest roof deck in Boston, this is just the place to switch up your first date game for the summer.

Order the menu. (via Yelp)

Order the menu. (via Yelp)

Toro

You're showing off a few things when you invite someone to Toro: you like food, you know your restaurants, and you've got general good taste. Now have tapas. Have wine. Have good time.

Hip Youth Central. (Matt Hintsa, CC)

Hip Youth Central. (Matt Hintsa, CC)

Drink

Drink is really very so cool. With no set cocktail list, either name your favorite, ask what's good today, or tell the bartender what you like and let them whip up something new.* Between the cocktail focus and food by Lydia Shire (of Towne & Scampo) this new(ish) Fort Point establishment was practically built for the first date.

*Note: Don't do this at just any bar. Especially when there's a million people pressed up to the counter all clamoring for drinks, the LAST thing a bartender wants to hear is, "Uhh I like whiskey and vodka? Surprise me!" 

Comic graffiti of Robot vs. Godzilla? We're done here. (Rachel K, Yelp)

Comic graffiti of Robot vs. Godzilla? We're done here. (Rachel K, Yelp)

Shojo

It sounds like a standard date locale - dark, intimate, crazy cocktails - but Shojo Flying Tiger Palm Strikes that description right out of the air. For one, there's an ever-changing mural on the back wall (with a tiny window for the kitchen right in the middle), and old kung fu movies on loop behind the bar. Then there are the cocktails: Yakuza Old Fashioned & Kusarigama for the whiskey lovers, The Jade & Orizuru Fizz for the shochu fanatics, among others. And the food (get the ribs) will leave you in silence; not the awkward kind.


I Like You


2 cool 4 me. (via Yelp)

2 cool 4 me. (via Yelp)

Parla

Parla should be on everyone's date list. As the coolest bar in the North End (aside from Mamma Maria's cozy 5-seater), complete with speakeasy vibes and drinks that match up to the ambiance, this is a perfect place to start or finish a night out. Plus you can show off how adventurous and/or nerdy (mostly nerdy) you are by rolling a 20-sided dice to decide your drink. Heyo.

Hey there charcutie

(Crystal P, Yelp)

Babbo Pizzeria

While much more casual than its NYC namesake, Babbo Pizzeria is still a swanky joint; just more young-swank than swank-swank. You know what I mean. Anyway Babbo specializes in shareable, delicious Italian and bottles of great wine - and it's in Fort Point! So hip. So now. 

This place is just BUZZING. (CityRover Media, CC)

This place is just BUZZING. (CityRover Media, CC)

The Beehive

They've got the food, they've got the live music, they've got the bar scene, they've got a massively cool subterranean buildout; The Beehive is practically cheating when it comes to date night. Cons: can be loud, bro-y, and pricey. Good for more relaxed dates (good luck w/ that).

Love at first foie gras burger <3

(via Yelp)

Little Donkey

Little Donkey is the current talk of the town, and if you haven't been there, you've been left out of the conversation (see what I did there). By the same guys that brought Boston Toro, Uni, and Coppa, Little Donkey is another sharing-focused restaurant, but this time it's contemporary American. With a short but rockstar menu and cocktails including a grapefruit drink in a literal grapefruit, Little Donkey is a fantastic set-up for good times.

Outta here, kid. These swings are for ADULTS. (Leslee_atFlickr, CC)

Outta here, kid. These swings are for ADULTS. (Leslee_atFlickr, CC)

Lawn on D

What everyone likes to call "Boston's New Backyard" or whatever, Lawn on D is actually a genuinely great spot to hang out, especially in the summer. Between the outdoor bar, music, and the ever-Insta-worthy neon swings, the Lawn should be everyone's go-to summer alternative to whatever booze hole you've been hiding in for the last six months.

*Goes for wink* *blinks instead* (via Yelp)

*Goes for wink* *blinks instead* (via Yelp)

Wink & Nod

Get it? Like, the secret sign for a speakeasy? You actually have to do that to get in.* Accessibility aside, South End's Wink & Nod is exactly the half-classy, cozy cocktail lounge you need that says "For real, I actually like what's going on with this you-me thing here." Or something smoother than that.

*No you don't, don't do that. Or do, I'm not the boss of you. But that bouncer kind of is.

Oh now you want to split? Yeah this isn't going to work. (Elsa Z, Yelp)

Oh now you want to split? Yeah this isn't going to work. (Elsa Z, Yelp)

Uni (Saturday Night)

Uni is good no matter when, with some of the best sushi in town, but if you come on Friday or Saturday night (starting at 11pm) you can treat yourself to one of the best ramen bars in town. It's a pretty half-hearted "secret," but still not too hard to get a seat. Think of this as an opportunity to see how adventurous and/or uninhibited your date is (do they slurp? If yes, keep 'em). Ramen is best enjoyed as a vehicle for sobering on your way home, with a beer to soften the salty, porky blow, so plan your night accordingly.


I Like Like You


Stairway to heaven(ly flavors). (Michael Kappel, CC)

Stairway to heaven(ly flavors). (Michael Kappel, CC)

Mamma Maria

This is where you take someone when you want the location itself to say, "You are the special occasion" ("Ewwwww" - Ten-Year-Old Mitch). On top of some of the best Italian in a city full of great Italian, Mamma Maria has excellent service, a superb wine list, and a comfortable, homey atmosphere. This place will leave an impression.

Got ivy? (via Eataly.com)

Got ivy? (via Eataly.com)

Terra

Boston's hottest new rooftop party food zone is Terra! (*throws up a little*)

Nah, but it's cool. Terra is the rooftop grill and bar at Eataly, Boston's latest celebration of all things Italian and food. Recently opened, it is highly recommended to get a reservation before turning up at the host stand at the bottom of the stairs, only to get a half-hearted smile and a "#Sorrynotsorry, no tables." Come for apps and drinks or full-on dinner, but share everything; it's a magical menu out there, Hobbes ol' buddy... let's go exploring!

Boston, ho! (via outlookkitchenandbar.com)

Lookout Bar @ The Envoy

This is one of the best (and one of the few) rooftops in Boston, that much is for sure. Is it douchey? You betcha. But the views of Downtown Boston from this particular hotel make it a step up from The Revere, despite the similar atmosphere. Best employed as a bookend before or after an incredible dinner nearby.

Soooo meet you at prison? (Ade Oshineye, CC)

Soooo meet you at prison? (Ade OshineyeCC)

The Liberty Hotel

The jail-themed decor may give your date the wrong idea at first.* They'll get over it quickly though, because The Liberty Hotel is impressive at minimum. Inside are two bars and a restaurant: The Clink (or the general hotel interior bar), Alibi (the lounge bar), and Scampo, respectively. A great night at the Liberty Hotel moves through all three in that order, from taking in the architecture with drinks in the cavernous lobby, settling down with another round and appetizers in the more comfortable Alibi, and finally a spectacular dinner at Scampo. Cheap? Nah. Special? Yah.

*Or the RIGHT idea, eh? Ehhhhhhh? I kill me. 

This is not where you order a vodka cran. (via bastillekitchen.net)

This is not where you order a vodka cran. (via bastillekitchen.net)

The Bar @ Bastille Kitchen

You can go to Bastille Kitchen for a very good, traditional French dinner. Or you can go to Bastille Kitchen's bar for an even better nightcap. It may be difficult to find a seat on the weekend, but for sheer ambiance and quality of drinks, the bar at Bastille is easily one of the best cozy spots in the city.


There, now you have a dozen places to dump your Tinder mistak- I mean, date. Got anything better? Let me know below.

Don't say Bijou.

Eat Boston: Toro

Eat Boston: Toro

Go Boston: Where to Schlep Your Family

Go Boston: Where to Schlep Your Family