Five Fantastic First Date Bars

By: 
A.J. Rathbun
The Clever Bottle in Belltown

February is here, which means it’s time to think about beautiful things (and I don’t just mean my recently passed birthday), things like hearts, flowers and love. And about dates since this time of the year is often about the pledging of already-in-place relationships and for the beginning of relationships. The latter of course can be completely frightening, especially with the added pressure of Valentine’s Day, and the days close to Valentine’s Day. But have no fear, my star-crossed friends. Below are five bars that are perfect for those slightly scary, and totally awesome first dates.

Oliver’s
Fancy, but not too fancy. Cozy, but not too cozy as to seem suggestive. And quiet, but not too quiet as to have every syllable echo. Oliver’s hits pretty much every first date bar requirement. It also provides pretty good people watching if the conversation slows and a menu of solidly well-made drinks. But to really show your class, be sure to order up the famous and tasty Oliver’s Martini.

Clever Bottle
If you want to amp up the romance factor, this elegantly lounge-y Belltown bar is the right place – it has a candle-lit (but not too dark) atmosphere, an airy black-and-white palette, really scrumptious drinks and a staff that knows  when to sidle up to make small talk and when to leave things alone. It also offers a Local Liquor Flight, with three local pours alongside some mixers, for $25. This is a great way to get the conversation flowing. 

Capitol Cider
Not sure if you want to take a serious cocktail plunge, or want to make sure you’re at a spot where your date will find the perfect drink no matter his or her tastes? Then Capitol Cider is your ideal, thanks to its extensive cider selection and well put together cocktail list (not to mention a couple beers, too). Upstairs is good for getting to know each other, but once things are going well, head downstairs to get the blood flowing with board games and shuffle board.

Beveridge Place Pub
Usually I’d say shy away from any bar that comes close to “sports bar” on a first date, but after the awesome Super Bowl triumph of the Seahawks (yeah!), a sportier bar might be dandy – provided it’s the Beveridge, which is an amazing craft beer bar (36 taps, more than 150 bottles) that happens to have one room with a TV, darts and pool. It also has a room with comfortable décor and board games. All this activity is sure to make the first date fun, and help out in case the sports talk dries up.

Essex
If you’re looking for a completely amiable and inviting setting that manages to be both classy and comfortable, and you want to sip on exquisitely made cocktails while getting to know your new date, head up to this neighborhood spot in upper Ballard. It doesn’t seat a ton of folks, so it stays talkable even when crowded and delivers delicious sharable snacks (order the Sriracha Brussels sprouts and you’ll be a hero). Also, it recently had the Hanky Panky, perhaps the finest first date cocktail ever, as a drink special.

 

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