the best bars for first dates in dc

There’s a certain art to choosing the perfect first date location. I prefer a casually romantic ambiance in a dimly lit bar or speakeasy. Most men probably want this too. Sometimes, they just don’t know it yet. They may need a classy and knowledgeable woman to make a few suggestions. Enter, you.

Personally, I have come to enjoy choosing the location for dates. Of course, a man who can pick the right restaurant, make the reservation, and just provide you with the time and place is super sexy, but hey… we can’t have it all. When you choose, you get to a. have the opportunity to get to know your potential new match in style, sophistication, and comfort, b. set the stage for the type of places you want to be taken to on dates, and c. avoid ending up at a mediocre location that is simply not to your liking. Here are my top picks:

  1. Iron Gate: One of the most well known date spots in DC. They have a delightful, and ever-changing selection of cocktails, as well as an extensive list of wine and beer. This neighborhood cocktail spot has a cozy and elegant ambiance, nestled snugly in between old townhomes on N street. Their food is also amazing, and very instragrammable, although I don’t condone social media use on dates. You’re there to get to know each other, right? So just take that picture while he’s in the bathroom. No harm, no foul.
  2. The Sovereign: Although not as quiet or intimate as the Iron Gate, the Sovereign is an excellent date location if you’re willing to make the trek over to Georgetown. A chic Belgian beer bar and restaurant, it feels a bit like a speakeasy, and has a classic European ambiance. I don’t particularly like beer, but at the Sovereign I am able to find something that I like. The bartenders are very friendly. I arrived early to a date here a few months ago, and the bartender kept me busy tasting different fruity beers and lambics. They were all awesome, and my seasoned choices of beer ended up impressing my date, who kept jokingly calling me the “connoisseur”. So, bonus points there. I would highly recommend doing this.
  3. McClellan’s Retreat: A very classic spot on Florida avenue near DuPont circle. Many people are here on dates, but it’s fun trying to pick out those few pairs who you can’t quite pin down as friends, or co-workers, or daters or whatever. I’ve only been here once, but I look forward to stopping in again. I got a great dry rosé, the waitress was attentive without interrupting the flow of the conversation, and they played the Beatles for the whole three and a half hours I was there.
  4. The Gibson: Its just so fun to watch the mixologists work their magic here. Order one of the classics or throw out a few descriptors – sweet, citrusy, fruity – and watch the professionals behind the bar put their charms to use. I think there’s an art to that. There’s a romantic nostalgia for older, simpler times at the Gibson. I would encourage you and any young man lucky enough to escort you there to get lost in that feeling.

What other date spots in Washington would you add to this list?


la fille americaine


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