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5 Must-Haves for The Perfect First Date Destination

Picking a date spot is never an easy task, no matter how long you’ve been together. Now picking a first date spot…well that’s another beast all on its own. There’s a whole lot riding on that first date, and the dreaded first impression. You want to make sure you choose a location that gives your budding relationship the best opportunity to grow and thrive. The next time you’re suiting up to dip your toe in the dating pool, pick a first date spot that has these five things.

Fun Activities.

First dates can be awkward. You’d think because you don’t know much about this person yet that you’d have a ton to talk about, right? But there’s a fine line between asking great questions to get to know a person, and coming off as Batman’s nemesis, The Riddler.

Having fun activities to do, such as playing games, watching a sporting event, or participating in a trivia night, can be a great way to break the ice, avoid awkward silences and naturally move the conversation along.

Opportunities to Impress.

On a first date, your want you potential partner to find you impressive. It’s just natural! Choosing a date spot that lets you show off qualities that you’re proud of is key. If you’ve never swung a bat in your life, maybe don’t suggest going to the batting cages, right?

Talents come in many forms. Perhaps you’re a craft beer enthusiast, and you want to share your knowledge of delicious brews. (Bonus points if you can pick out your dates new favorite beer!) Maybe you’ve got great nunchuck skills…in classic video games. An arcade bar with tons of different games would be a great option – giving your date a chance to show you up in their favorite game, as well. A proud pool player? Well, you get the idea. Set yourself up for the best chance to show off your skills, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Casual, Inviting Atmosphere.

The days of a first date at a fancy, stuffy restaurant are over. Your nerves are already going to be running wild, so put yourself at ease by choosing a first date venue with a casual, laid-back atmosphere. If you’re more relaxed, your date will be able to relax too. Locations with both friendly staff and patrons are a plus. Comfort is key.

Great Drinks.

Let’s be honest, a little liquid courage never hurts in helping to ease the tension of a first date. Since you probably don’t know what your date’s drink of choice is yet, choose a spot that has something for everybody: wine, beer, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Having a variety of options not only helps make sure there’s something each of you will like, you can also try something new together. New experiences are key in relationship-building, or so our self-help books say.

Quiet Place to Talk.

While having fun, upbeat activities can help break the ice and get you comfortable being around one another, if the date is going well you’ll eventually want to be able to have some great conversation and really get to know each other better. While going to a concert certainly covers the fun activity side, it can be quite tricky to hold a personal conversation later on in the evening with the music blaring in the background.

Choose a first date spot that has both activities, and places where you can chill and chat, such as an outdoor patio or sitting area. Outdoor patios are great because there’s usually less hustle and bustle, the music is quieter, and the two of you can really start to connect.


So what magical first date spot actually has all of these key elements? Well, we know of one! Make Boxcar Bar + Arcade in Raleigh, Greensboro or Durham (coming soon!) your next date night destination and test our theory for yourselves.

Fun activities? We have hundreds of classic and current video games, arcades and pinball machines. Opportunities to impress? Again, we have a huge variety of games, a great selection of craft beers, and slew of tournaments you can enter, including skeeball, air hockey, pinball and more. We have a casual atmosphere where you’ll feel right at home, and maybe even a little nostalgic for the 80s and 90s of your past. Not to mention that a spot at the bar or outside on the patio is perfect for stirring up excellent conversation.

We know this is a great first date location because we’ve witnessed it countless times – and we love seeing couples come back together for more! So pull out your rolodex, little black book or favorite dating app and come on in… the water’s warm.

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