Whether your idea of a first date is the classic dinner-and-a-movie model, or something more a little more exciting, we’ve compiled a list of 23 fantastic, slightly more creative, first date experiences in Houston to make the sparks fly.
Editor’s note: the writer is by no means a dating expert, head their following advice with a grain of salt. His ideas on first dates rotate around flowing conversation that allows for both parties to get to know each other or else a shared positive lasting experience
Cool, classic, caffeinated. Stay sharp on your first date at these interesting coffee shops in Houston.
- Agora: Furnished with antiques, complete with ornamental replica art pieces, the cozy wooded anterior makes for the perfect atmosphere to sit by a window and watch the world go by. Agora offers an assortment of coffees, teas, beer by the bottle, as well as red, white, and Greek wines. Snack-wise, visitors can complement their cappuccino with a variety of sweets, biscottis, cookies, cakes, scones, and muffins not excluded. On warmer days, guests can take a seat on their patio to enjoy the company of their lush garden.
- The Coffee House at West End: Located inside a historic building built in the 1930s, The Coffee House at West End is a three-story coffee shop that features top-notch joe, a cozy interior of wood, exposed brick, and leather furniture, as well as a stunning rooftop with sweeping views of the Houston skyline.
- Segundo Coffee Lab: Inside its spacious, bohemian industrial atmosphere you can find Segundo Coffee Lab. In addition to your go-to coffee shop orders such as espressos, cappuccinos, iced coffees, and teas, Segundo serves a variety of eccentric, at times Delta 8 and/or CBD-infused, libations.
Dinner, Drinks, and a Movie
For this editor, dinner and a movie has always been more of a third or fourth date experience. Eating together is in itself an intimate experience, and with the movie, well you’re just sitting there next to your date for two hours in silence. That said, it’s a classic model for a reason, and if this is your go-to, here’s a little something to spice it up:
Once again, this editor is not one to go out for dinner on a first date, but if he were to, he would opt for an interesting, or otherwise unique, restaurant which provides much in the way of conversation.
- Dining in the Dark: Dine in complete darkness and experience a heightened sense of taste and smell at Dining in the Dark in Houston!
- King’s Bier Haus: This casual but kitschy German restaurant and patio bar in The Heights provides not only positively delicious German food and beer, but an atmosphere that’s sure to stimulate conversation on travel, global cuisine, and deep-rooted, possibly controversial, opinions about polka.
- The Hobbit Cafe: With vegetarian and dragon-friendly Middle Earth menu, this Tolkien-esque cafe offers a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere conducive to meed-fueled discussion about literature, fantasy, and film.
- Hungry Like The Wolf: From the Rubix Cube disco ball, to MTV-inspired walls, zany carpeting, and retro collection of throwback gaming consoles, Hungry Like The Wolf is decked out head-to-toe in nostalgia. Thus, it provides ample opportunity for discussion on the good-old-days of MTV, new wave music, and your favorite John Hughes movie.
With a first date, perhaps you ought to air on the side of casual – at least to start things off. Here, we propose two categories of dining establishments to get the ball rolling: casual and eccentric.
A casual restaurant, such as a patio bar and grill is a great place to start, as background music and conversation can help ease the awkwardness if and when conversation hits a lull – plus, with surrounding activities, yard games and the like, as well as weekly events, there’s ample opportunity to foster a positive shared experience.
- Axelrad: The artsy Montrose hangout is good for a first or 500th date. Fit with two stories, indoor and outdoor seating, an array of beers on taps, good tunes, and weekly events: Axelrad is always a good time. Plus, their Neon Garden is adjoined by Luigi’s Pizza as well as a tiny neighborhood of food trucks from any of which you can bring back to your table.
- Social Beer Garden: Vibrant patio seating, clean cut lawn, video games, and colorful murals – Social Beer Garden in Midtown offers a vivid outdoor atmosphere for all, especially sports fans, by which to enjoy a variety of excellent outdoor activities including live music, steak night, dinner and a movie, backyard LAW Wrestling, and sports.
- Moonshine Deck: This southern-cooked whiskey hole celebrates comfort food, Americana, and moonshine. Self-described as a “rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of downtown Houston,” the bar and kitchen offers a spacious indoor and outdoor hang beset with a myriad of TVs, a turf-plated patio, patio games, porch swings, and a number of photo-friendly installations.
Netflix and chill is a little strong for a first date is it not?
- Rooftop Cinema Club: Not only does this atmosphere provide a more social aspect to the movie-going experience, but you also get to see your favorite films with Houston’s skyline as the backdrop.
- Moonstruck Drive-In: This permanent drive-in theater is yet another stellar al fresco movie spot for Houston movie lovers, offering the perfect mix of retro vibes and modern technology. Featuring a massive screen and gorgeous skyline, Moonstruck Drive-In can’t be beat, especially if you catch the pre-movie sunset! The venue also features a bar, on-site concession stand and rotating food trucks.
First dates are exciting, sometimes too exciting. The experience can often conjure a weird concoction of nerves and jitters that don’t exactly amount to charm. Balance this cocktail of nerves with cocktails at these brilliant bars.
- Grand Prize: Grand Prize a solid hang any way you cut it. Here, you can enjoy a homespun cocktail at the bar as you comment on the black-and-white movies on the dinky bar television sets. Or, peruse their jukebox selection and feed it with what change you have left to soundtrack your game of pool or Space Invaders. You can’t leave the bar without checking out the scene upstairs. The ballroom, complete with bar, disco ball, and a constellation of suspended lights, is prime boogie real estate.
- Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails: Get your buzz fix at Montrose outpost, Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails. Parked next door to Sig’s Lagoon Record Shop, the bar serves a splendid variety of (as the title suggests) coffee and cocktails. Their vibe-y libations include its Frozen Suffering Bastard, made with bourbon, gin, lemon, angostura and ginger beer. If need a little extra in your morning pick-me-up, DT also offers a perky mix of coffee-infused cocktails.
Give your first date that ‘wow’ factor by taking it to the city’s rooftops.
- Sunset Rooftop Lounge: Fresh on the scene, Sunset Rooftop Lodge is an East Downtown newcomer that’s hit the ground running. With DJs on deck, Sunset offers an array of bright, tropical cocktails of which to enjoy against the backdrop of the downtown skyline and the festivities of Truckyard patio bar below.
- Z on 23: Perched on top of the 23rd floor of La Méridien hotel in Downtown, Houston, Z on 23 has some of the most elevated views in the city. The open air rooftop comes bar equipped, but it only takes cash so withdraw accordingly. It’s open from 4 – 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays only and while it doesn’t offer Happy Hour, it does feature daily specials.
- POST: Behold, the former USPS warehouse as a new a cutting-edge, multi-purpose, multi-layered facility with a complete technical re-design. Featuring multiple double-helix staircases, a trio of skylit atriums, and a FIVE-ACRE ROOFTOP PARK.
Active Date Ideas
Whether you’re trying to impress your date with your moves, engage in a little playful competition, or just an excuse to have some good old fashioned fun, here are a number of fun ideas for a first date in Houston.
- Cidercade: Situated a hop skip and a dash from Minute Maid Park and BBVA Compass Stadium, is the new 18,000-square-foot, Cidercade. The boozy Dallas import features over 275 arcade games, including pinball, fighters and shooters, driving, sporting games, and more.
- Palace Social: A new bowling alley has rolled into town – and its vibes are smashing. Palace Social, a bowling alley with an arcade, laser tag arena, full-service bar, restaurant, lounge and more is now open at 4191 Bellaire Blvd.
- Puttshack: The “upscale, tech-infused mini-golf experience” has opened in The Shops at Houston Center. Open now, the venue is decked out with four mini-golf courses, a bar offering food, drinks, and a private event space.
If you and your date consider yourselves cultured, well-read, and or inherently curious people, consider the following interesting dating ideas in Houston.
Candlelight Concert: Whether you’re looking for a beautifully unique classical music performance or a romantic candlelit experience, this performance is for you. You don’t need to know all things Tchaikovsky to enjoy the evening, simply sit back and savor the stunning atmosphere and pieces you’ll hear.
Museum of Fine Arts: What better way to be whisked into a world of fantasy then to lose oneself in the imaginations of some of the greatest artists and visionaries the world has ever seen? MFA Houston is filled with countless pieces of art that inspire one to reflect on beauty, sensuality, elegance, and love – basically daydream fuel.
Menil: Masterful artists often are exalted with holy reverence. Ingenuity, insight, and genius confound the layman such that no possible explanation can rationalize artists’ masterpieces than divine origination. Lemmy Kilmister is a god, Dolly Parton is an angel, and Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi, is literally being considered for sainthood. In Houston, a chapel stands as a testament to the artwork of Mark Rothko.
Sharks!: Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters, & The Myths. Now open, Houstonians can come face-to-face with the notorious apex predator at the immersive new exhibition, featuring a 7,000-gallon touch tank, floor-to-ceiling animations, mega models, and more!