15 spots for the perfect — and casual — first date


There can already be a ton of pressure heading into a first date. Making a great first impression, trying not to be awkward, picking the perfect outfit, that worry about getting food stuck in your teeth. You know, the usual.

We want to help take some weight off your shoulders and give you some ideas for a nice, casual date spot.

All the CharlotteFive Most Eligible Bachelor and Bachelorette (voting is still open, so go vote!) contestants gave us their favorite spots, and we’ve turned that into a list of 15 places to help you nail that first date, with a few pro tips.

(1) Craft Growler Shop and Tasting Room

1320 S Church St.

C5 Pro Tip: Head there between 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays for half-priced shareable cheese plates and charcuterie.

Craft on a Wednesday night = good beer and cheese/charcuterie special.

A post shared by Craft Tasting Room & Growler (@craftgrowlershop) on

(2) U.S. National Whitewater Center

5000 Whitewater Center Parkway

C5 Pro Tip: If you want to have a fun and active first date, but don’t want to break the bank, the Whitewater Center has plenty of free options after you pay for parking. Hiking trails could spark a good conversation.

Photo: U.S. National Whitewater Center

(3) Birdsong Brewing

1016 N Davidson St

C5 Pro Tip: Take a date there for new small batch beer releases on Thursdays. Also, it’s hard to go wrong with their Jalapeño Pale Ale, one of Charlotte’s most well-known brews.

(4) Thomas Street Tavern

1218 Thomas Ave.

C5 Pro Tip: Impress your date by nailing the ring and hook game outside on the first try or challenge them to a game of ping pong.

Thanks @treymerica always cool to see people enjoying themselves out back

A post shared by Thomas Street Tavern (@thomasstreettavern) on

(5) Any local sporting event

C5 Pro Tip: The Charlotte Checkers offer $1 beer at all of their Wednesday home games. Also, if they win a Wednesday game, you get a free ticket to their next Wednesday home game. Now you’re ready for that second date.

Guess which one these players just scored a goal

A post shared by Charlotte Checkers (@checkershockey) on

(6) Sycamore Brewing

2161 Hawkins St.

C5 Pro Tip: Head there on a Friday and grab some food from one of the many food trucks right outside while you enjoy some tasty beers. We recommend the Christmas Cookie Winter Ale, one of their new seasonal brews. It’s available on tap in their beer garden, though the cans already sold out. Thankfully, Sycamore is thinking about doing another round.

(7) Wooden Robot Brewery

1440 S. Tryon St.

C5 Pro Tip: You soon won’t need to leave Wooden Robot if you want to do dinner and drinks, as construction on their new kitchen and gastropub is expected to be finished in early 2018.

(8) Freedom Park

1900 East Blvd.

C5 Pro Tip: Stop at the new People’s Market to grab lunch or a snack, then take a (casually) romantic stroll around the lake while you look for the perfect picnic spot.

Beautiful morning at Freedom Park. Love the new trees they’ve planted. Thanks to our mecklenburgcounty Parks & Rec

A post shared by Julie Wall-Burris/Lilac Realty (@freedomparkclt) on

(9) RuRu’s Taco and Tequila

715 Providence Road

C5 Pro Tip: Go on a Thursday so you can soak up half-off tequila (add $3 to make it a margarita). Then start with an order of “I am McLovin,’” the queso blanco.

(10) Soul Gastrolounge

1500 Central Ave.

C5 Pro Tip: You’ll probably have to wait for a table, so grab a glass of wine at nearby Bistro La Bon or The Workman’s Friend while you do.

Happy #NationalTacoDay to all our pork belly taco lovers ❤️🌮❤️🌮❤️🌮❤️ 📸: @basicwild

A post shared by Soul Gastrolounge (@soulgastro) on

(11) Whiskey Warehouse

1221 The Plaza

C5 Pro Tip: Get thee to the rooftop bar. Nothing beats a skyline view.

(12) Seoul Food Meat Co.

1400 S. Church St. 

C5 Pro Tip: It’s time to see your date’s true colors shine. Opt for karaoke after dinner with a group of your friends in one of the private karaoke rooms. And consider one of these 68 go-to songs.

(13) A dog park

C5 Pro Tip: Try the dog park at Frazier Park (1201 W. 4th St. Ext.). There’s a ton of wide-open space, and usually plenty of other people (and dogs) to mingle with.

(14) 10 Park Lanes

1700 Montford Dr.

C5 Pro Tip: Tuesday nights are for $4 craft cans and 12-ounce bottles. Who said dating has to be expensive?

(15) The Cotton Room

144 Brevard Court Suite B

C5 Pro Tip: This location historically featured an open-air cotton market, so pair the vibe with something Southern. Scroll down to the Southern Inspired cocktails list on the menu and try the Queen’s Tea — with Queen Charlotte rum, of course.


Photos: Sycamore Brewing, Craft Growler Shop, U.S. National Whitewater Center, Birdsong Brewing, Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte Checkers, Sycamore Brewing, Wooden Robot Brewing, Freedom Park CLT, RuRu’s Tacos and Tequila, Soul Gastrolounge, Whiskey Warehouse, Seoul Food Meat Company, 10 Park Lanes, The Cotton Room, Zayd the Aussie


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