Move over “dinner and a movie”, whether you’re about to ask someone out on your first date or heading out for your 14th wedding anniversary, there are fun things to be discovered together.
Busy schedule? Work a weird shift? Can’t find a babysitter for the evening? Why not an afternoon date? Afternoon drinking is fun, you feel like you are getting away with something or like you are on a mini vacation. I prefer afternoon beer drinking, find a bar with a porch and some good people watching. Rainy day afternoon drinking is even better. You have found shelter from the storm and you can sit back and watch the world go by, washed clean while you get a nice little buzz. One afternoon, we were waiting for our favorite beer joint to open at 4 so we had an hour to kill, we walked a beautiful trail by our house—just a stroll, but a nice place to talk, get some fresh air and really loosen up before we official began our date over an ice cold brew. Date doesn’t have to mean dark.
Dive bar or neighborhood bar—full of locals
If you remember the show “Cheers” it was a bar in Boston where everybody knew your name. Find a neighborhood bar to become your regular hideout. There is something so nice about a totally informal date. Cheap beer and cheap snacks can lead to great conversation. In a day when we are barraged by sports and tvs in most bars, it can be a nice break going to a bar where all there is to do is pump quarters into a juke box, play pool and beat each other at darts. If you don’t know how to play darts, I bet there is a local who can show you how.
There is something neat about working together on something creative. Whether it’s your first date and you are trying to get to know each other or you’ve been together a long time and feel like you’ve exhausted most conversation topics. A new concept has popped up in art studios where you bring your own booze and learn how to paint a picture. It’s fun learning together, getting sloppy and having a creative outlet. Throw in some wine and you have a pretty fabulous evening and you don’t have clean it up. Search for a studio in your area, reservations are recommended. You could leave with a masterpiece or at the very least some laughs to share on your next date.
Progressive dinner date
Go to favorite restaurants and eat only the dish you like there
Date night looks a little different when you are pregnant – the date is driven by food. When I was pregnant with our second, my cravings were all over the place. We had a date night and first decided to eat dessert first. When offered last, dessert is often refused because you are so full. This seemed like a disservice to dessert so we kicked things off with a perfect slice of seasonal cheesecake. I was also craving mac and cheese, but not just any mac and cheese. Our favorite so far is only served at a hotel bar and it’s a white truffle mac and cheese (also fantastic with red wine). After our cheesecake, we headed to the hotel bar. We valeted the car, picked a table with a fabulous view and ordered our next course. It felt so nice to have a little break between courses and a change of venue. Next on the menu – steak! Date nights are rare sometimes and we were celebrating possibly our last date before baby arrived so we splurged. Off to our favorite steak house. We ordered our favorite cuts of meat, a side of something green to share and finished off our night pleasantly full. By switching venues, it kept our energy up and gave us new perspectives and digestion time. We enjoyed every bit of our food instead of going to one restaurant for a mediocre entrée just to feel ok with ordering dessert. Next time you go, make a list of your most favorite food, mix and match fast food and fancy, but enjoy every bite.
Take the reins—plan the sitter, plan the date, surprise your mate
We are so busy. We plan and we schedule and we plan all week. We finally get a date night and end up looking at each other, shrugging our shoulders wondering where in the world we should go. Neither of you wants to be the decider so you out pitch each other and then go and hope you can find a table or a seat at the bar.
What if you could surprise your mate and release them from decisions? Instead of waiting for your mate to pitch a date on the calendar and call a sitter—you do it.
Surprise your mate and say “Hey, I’ve called Sally the sitter, you and I have a date on Saturday night.”
Wow! Pleasant surprise! Now, your mate has something to look forward to. The anticipation of looking forward to this date, can make it even better.
Figure out where you are going and let your mate know so he/she knows what to wear.
And for one last added detail, present them with one of their favorite things sometime on the date. Whether it’s a bar of their favorite chocolate or the latest book from their favorite author – your mate will appreciate the details and thought put into the date. Take turns taking the reins and keep the surprises coming.
Food glorious food
Plated—cooking together can be fun and romantic. Keeping it simple is best. There is a cool new service called “Plated” that delivers fresh ingredients to your door along with a recipe with pictures of exactly how to prepare it. Impress your date by playing chef or work on it together.
Personal pizza making can be fun too. Get creative in how you decorate your pizza, play with interesting ingredients. Turn on some Sinatra, pour the wine and enjoy.
Need to borrow a kitchen? Take a cooking class together, search your local Whole Foods or Google: date night + cooking class – reservations are recommended for classes.
Visit a restaurant that produces a farm to table menu, stroll the garden and go in for dinner.