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Drinks & Dinner: First Date


Just moved here and I'm about to take a girl out on a first date. In New York, I had a great small&dark beer&wine bar that I usually went to followed by a not-too-pretentious French place directly across the street. Is there a place like that in Boston (preferably along the green line?)?

I'm looking for places that are close to each other (walking distance), not too pretentious and small and intimate enough for a date.


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  1. On the C line, you could go to Beacon St. Tavern for the whole thing or get a drink there and dinner at the Japanese rest. Ginza a few doors down or tapas at Taberna de haro (can never spell that right) across the street. Or further up for drinks at Fireplace and dinner at Washington St. Tavern. On the D line, drinks and chichetti at La Morra (or the whole dinner) and dinner at Pomodoro. Or Turkish food at Family Rest. Or a drink at No. 9 Park and dinner at Silvertone on Brofield or 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      no 9 seems a bit much for a first date.

      a few options that i think are good for first dates, although most are not on the green line:
      75 chestnut for drinks, bin 26 for dinner
      butcher shop for drinks, b&g for dinner
      eastern standard for drinks, trattoria toscana for dinner
      bricco for drinks, neptune or lucca for dinner
      toro for drinks, stay for tapas if it's going well
      green st for drinks, central kitchen or rendezvous for dinner

      1. re: iamsam

        No. 9 for a drink isn't that much, I had Silvertone for dinner so you're way downscale after a nice drink.

        1. re: Joanie

          you're right that silvertone is more low key (although i wouldn't be super wowed by having to wait an hour for a table, as i had to do a few weeks ago, though it probably depends on the night of the week), but i do feel like a no 9 drinks date is bringing out the big guns-- especially now that they've done away with their bar menu! it's totally fine to do if the OP is into the girl, i just didn't think it fit the bill for a "small&dark beer&wine bar" he used to head to in new york.

    2. Where along the G line(s)? How much to you want to spend?

      2 Replies
      1. re: alwayscooking

        Funny, Boston is pretty small compared to New York. The green line isn't terribly long, but we both work near the MFA.

        1. re: Pisto3

          Goodness - were you implying provincialism? Didn't mean to insult the NY'ness (since having lived there, SF, LA, and Rome myself I know that can of creep in). Rather, I thought that you might not want to spend 45 mins or more on the dreadfully slow Green line with a date - not fun.

          Since you didn't state a budget and are taking the T or walking I'm assuming a moderate meal:
          Brown Sugar in the Fens
          Taberna de Haro on the C Green line, at St. Mary's Street or walkable

          Just trying to be helpful. . .

          Another fun date near you - drinks at the Isbella Stewart on Thrusday nights and then dinner at the MFA or Brown Sugar.

      2. Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore for dinner. Eastern Standard, on the same block, is great for drinks, though it's neither small nor intimate.

        1. Fecalface is an expert on this topic - don't take a girl out to dinner on a first date. Keep it short and sweet, like a quick drink, then have an after-drink plan in place if it goes well. This allows you to escape if necessary and doesn't convey too much interest on your part...you don't want to come across as a needy dude.

          If you insist on dinner, fecal suggests taking her to a place that tests her chowishness. Don't be like other guys and take her to a 'nice' restaurant. Go somewhere that challenges her a bit. On green line, a place like Sichuan Garden or Rod Dee would be ideal.

          4 Replies
          1. re: fecalface

            Also being experienced in first dates, i usually don't articulate that it's for drinks and dinner, but inevitably, and especially if it's after work, it's good to have an after-drink plan if things are going well.

            1. re: fecalface

              Don't you think that your date just might catch on that she 'passed' the first test when you extend the date. And then you take her for her second 'test' (dinner) - geez, what's the third test?

              How about a good meal to share and enjoy getting to know another person?

              You really are setting yourself up for failure to getting to know intelligent, nice women. Or is that the point?

              1. re: alwayscooking

                Pisto seems to understand the benefits of the modular date. It's not about passing tests per se, but why sit through a long dinner with someone you're not interested in. The whole process is shallow, fecal can't be blamed for that.

                But more practically, a desirable gentleman like Pisto can't take every first date to a place like ES or Marliave, otherwise he'd be broke.

                Push the limits, go somewhere she's never been before. Take her to Marialve and you're a sucker. Take her Sichuan culinary virginity and you're unforgettable!

                1. re: fecalface

                  Well, I suppose if Pisto or fecalface is going on 7 first dates a week, ES and Marliave might eventually make them broke, but ES and Marliave (downstairs) are both what I would consider to be casual, pretty cheap options for American Bistro. Not sure about the sucker-factor, but neither would make anyone broke after one outing, date or not.

            2. Downtown (not far from Park Street) get drinks at Silvertone on Bromfield Street, or at the hotel Nine Zero on Tremont Street (the bar is on the second floor). Then walk around the corner to the newly renovated and newly menued Marliave. It's an atmospheric place, not corporate looking. I had lunch there a short while ago and the food was really good.

              1. I'm a South End girl so these places aren't along the green line but Boston is small and fairly easy to get around. The places that I like to go that are small and unprententious are Franklin Cafe (dark, cozy, good comfort food, reasonable prices), delux (divey, kitschy, inexpensive) or Toro (lively, tapas). I hope you have a great time!

                1. the real question is, where does she live? i know this sounds so antiquated, but first dates should be in her neighborhood-- so she can walk to the date and when all goes well, you can walk her home. moreover, unless you are having a 6p date, she is probably going home to change and put on some uncomfortable shoes.

                  I would choose a place that you can start with drinks and if all goes well, you can easily suggest that you grab a bite at the bar from which you have already imbibed. bar dates are so much more intimate than table dates could ever be-- you can share and communicate much more easily and your neighbors generally are minding their own biz-- so the getting to know eachother aspect is much more fluid.

                  so, provide her 'hood and i will provide suggestions.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: abattoir

                    She lives over near the longwood stop, if that helps. I agree that maybe a bar that we could transition to eating at might be a great idea.

                    1. re: Pisto3

                      ugh-- longwood is sorta no-mans food land. i agree that est std is always a fun place. they do great cocktails and the environment is what you make of it. you can sit at a hightop, outside, or at the bar-- do not take a reg table, way too formal for a first date.

                      while i haven't been to beacon st tavern since gerry left, it could be a nice alternative. the lighting isn't great (a little bright for me), it does have a full bar and a relaxed scene. as does audobon circle. i would recommend washington sq over those two though.

                  2. For a dark and somewhat intimate place for drinks in the Kenmore area I would also suggest Audobon Circle. It's not that much of a favorite on the board I don't think but it's in that area and I think it's interesting. Then you could go to Taberna de Haro down the street for dinner. Or Eastern Standard in the opposite direction (if there's not a Red Sox game). I'm from NY as well and love ES. It's large, grand, and just the right amount of different. With great cocktails. You might as well just head there for drinks and stay for dinner if it's going well. But as jajjguy said, it's not all that small and intimate - but it is fairly dark. I'd suggest scouting for a table in the lounge. Let us know where you end up!

                    1. I think the No.9 Park rec is a good one. Having just cocktails wouldn't be too much, and the bar area is intimate. I'd follow it up with Grotto. It's a very short walk from No. 9, much shorter than some of the other combos mentioned. It's a dark, bohemian not-too-pretentious Italian place with an interesting menu, that serves rich, delicious food at very good prices.

                      I think Silvertone is a bit grungy for a first date, although maybe not if you're in your 20's. Also, as already mentioned, the wait can be over an hour. And I love Eastern Standard, but it's big and lively, not small, dark or intimate.

                      1. Something a little more low key with good drinks with a dinner option might be Deep Ellum. Not too far from her place if she decides to cut and run (or if the date goes REALLY well!). There are a couple of chowish places nearby but I can't think of anything French nearby. DE has pretty good food as well.

                        Right in Kenmore there's Eastern Standard for drinks and Petit Robert for unpretentious French.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: sailormouth

                          Fecal approves of this idea. If you go to Deep Ellum for drinks, encourage the girl to drink beer. This way, you can demonstrates mastery of the subject matter since your average girl is no Beer Advocate...and get her to try something she hasn't had before. Take her craft beer virginity! Side benefit - carbonation in beer causes alcohol to be absorbed faster.

                          Also, the hipster factor in Deep Ellum might intimidate the girl a bit (in a good way). The preppier the girl, the more profound the effect.

                          Then you can bounce to Reef Cafe for some challenging Lebanese, per Fecal's prior recommendation. A solid plan!

                          1. re: fecalface

                            You must have a lot of first dates.

                              1. re: pollystyrene

                                **too many jokes**

                                The Savant Project is right near the MFA and Longwood - I like its vibe - funky, somewhat dark, but may be too casual than what you are looking for. Have you been? Scout it out before you go. Their chow and drinks are entirely decent.

                                While fecalface's advice could actually be very helpful for some guys, I think the proper setting must also take into account the age and foibles of the date herself. If she is under 25 and has a funky, casual aesthetic, Savant Project might work. If she is more preppy and pearls, it might not - go instead to Masa in the South End, or the other excellent places suggested above. I also endorse Taberna de Haro, or in Brookline Village, a non-weekend visit to Orinoco or even Matt Murphy's.

                                Also, gotta say it - Cambridge 1 on Brookline Ave. is also entirely reasonable for this purpose.

                                Lastly, pisto, at the end of the day, take confidence that the place you choose will not matter so long as you don't act like a tool. ;) My final "first date" was at JP Seafood. Ladies, back me up here...

                              2. re: fecalface

                                This actually sounds like a great plan. I'm going to give it a go. I'll tell you how it goes!

                            1. Possibly helpful according to your requests:

                              Staying on the green line: there's the college Ya-Dude date: Boston Beer Works or the I like cocktails date: Eastern Standard; you could also try the not-too-pretentious French place of Petit Robert Bistro, preceded by swanky drinks at Great Bay/Foundation Lounge or the aforementioned ES. Another not-too-pretentious Italian place in the Fens is Trattoria Toscona. For small&dark beer&wine bar, (though Deep Ellum is great), Audobon Circle is your next closest recommendation, but Publick House, Bukowski's (or its derivatives) might also do the trick. Citybar further into town if you like a nice assortment of scotches. Low key might be Cambridge 1 for yuppy pizzas and salads. If all goes according to fecalface's plan, Matt Murphy's serves a nice brunch.

                              1. Maybe for another night, how about Bin 26 for wine and starters, and then directly across the street is Beacon Hill Bistro for dinner?

                                1. brasserie jo has solid french food for moderate price. it is yummy!