The idea of a first date is just as exciting as it is terrifying and cringe worthy. You're going out with someone who you could spend the rest of your life with (yikes), or you could do the occasional pass-by featuring a "I'm gonna give you a casual head nod to show I'm chill". So obviously, you want it to go well. But a first date is just as inherently awkward as middle school, it's just something we have to accept. Suddenly you start to question every form of humour you've ever relied on as a defence mechanism, and your hands are just awkward AF extensions of your lanky arms that seem to have no coherent place in the universe. It's a wild time in our lives.
A lot of the first dates we base our own off of come from multi-million dollar rom-coms and reality tv shows, and while the great looking people still may ring true in the real world- you're not always going to be riding off into the sunset via horseback. Sometimes your just gonna be sitting in a theatre on valentine's day watching die hard (real life example people), and that's okay. But to offset all these lovely awkward characteristics that come with the first date, we've rounded up some of the best date spots in Kingston.
From the ones that will always give you something to talk about (you know, so you don't have to bring up the fact it rained 3 days ago...again), to ones that'll let you show another ~cool/fun/hip~ side of yourself, we got you covered. And these aren't dates that have to drain your wallet either, sometimes all you need is that 3 hour long conversation over a 2 dollar cup of coffee. Embrace the awkward, and try some new things that'll end the first date with a date set for the next one.
1. Barcardia // 347 Princess St.
Go here and just TRY to be bored. For those who has no idea what the most entertaining bar in the 613 is, all you need to know is in the name. A fusion of a bar and arcade room won't only provide you with a unique bonding experience, but it'll ALWAYS give you some kind of conversation starter. And if the date's going bad? Just say your super into Pac-Man and you won't leave until you beat the World Record.
Why it'll get you a second date: Barcadia takes the classic bar date to the next level. Show your competitive side, and let your athleticism woo your date. Because nothing gets the heart going like some great manual dexterity skills!
This is the only place to go if your looking for a true wine and dine experience. With it's locally sourced ingredients, hand selected wine list from wine "guru" Joel, the restaurant will to give you (sweaty palms and all) and your date a chance to share not only an amazing Tapas, but an experience.
Why it'll get you a second date: the romantic european mood mixed with the hip vibe will already set the stage for a great date. The bonus comes with the amazing food and wine that even if the date goes badly? Your date will always associate you with great Tapas, translation? You'll always be (as Fergie would say) t-t-t-t-asty, TASTAYYY. (Too much?)
3. Putt N' Blast // 1300 Bath Rd.
Go back to the classic date that is in a plethora of high/low quality romantic comedies for a reason. Mini put already just sounds cute, it's not as imtimidating as playing real golf, and the added decor gives the date a fun and flirty atmosphere.
Why it'll get you a second date: I got your vibe. I heard you nodding off in the first part, you may think it's just mini putt, but Putt N'Blast actually offers-wait for it- GLOW IN THE DARK MINI PUTT! Did you catch that level of hype in the all caps! This isn't some regular putting date, you got black lights, you have retro zig zag carpet patterns! It's an incredibly cheesy and hilarious date that'll give you an easy way to have a great time with your date.
4. Musiikki Cafe // 73 Brock St.
Ah, finally. You'll never have to go through the perilous dilemma of choosing between a coffee or bar date, get both at this insanely cool cafe/whiskey bar. Hidden in downtown Kingston, this gem offers up some fantastic live music for you and your date to enjoy while sipping on your mugs of coffee and glasses of whiskey.
Why it'll get you a second date: The intriguing combination of whiskey bar and coffee shop already takes this date to the next level, but what keeps it there is the ambience. It's small, intimate feel may have led you to pass it by when you've been downtown before. But when you head in the rustic vibe will give you and your date a chance to relax and listen to some awesome music, its a great way to explore a new side of the city.
5. Kingston Waterfront
Why do you think so many Nicholas Sparks movie's have at least one sweeping panorama of a vast waterfront? It's romantic AF that's why. Grab a coffee from one of these cafes, and head down to Lake Ontario to watch the boats sail and birds fly. (Hear the violins yet?) Sitting on a bench overlooking soaking in the romantic Notebook-esque setting while getting to know your date? It's literally what dreams are made of, hey now, hey now.
Why it'll get you a second date: sometimes the simplest ideas really are the best. No need to go for a huge flashy fire works date here, the beauty of Lake Ontario and the Kingston Waterfront is sure to get that natural vibe that first dates rarely get too. Nothing is more impressive than being yourself.
6. The Mansion // 506 Princess St
Show off your very hip, indie, grunge, bad boy (but secretly a poet) side by heading to The Mansion! That may have been a little bit of an exaggeration but the bar is still pretty f*cking cool (It's literally a bar in a Mansion). It's also the perfect place to go to see some great musical talent, from artists like PUP to Johnathan Roy, it'll set a great tone for
Why it'll get you a second date: With drink specials like Schooners every day for only 8.25, you'll actually have enough money for the second! Wahoo! But seriously, the vibe here is just the right mix of cool and casual to start that connection.
7. The Boiler Room Climbing Gym // 4 Cataraqui St.
Why settle to having a date in a room with 4 walls when you can head to one with 5 walls, and tons of bouldering you can climb on!? Rock climbing is a great first date acitivity to switch things up and even better, it offers a new way to get to know your date. And don't worry about any long silences because you'll have tons to talk about, ie. hey can you make sure I don't fall? Kk thanks! This location has over 80 climbs including Canada's highest indoor climb making one of the best places for rock climbing in Kingston.
Why it'll get you a second date: There's something about the terrifying aspect of rock climbing that really helps people unwind. Seem like a juxtaposition? Think about it people! You're dangling from a rope with a harness wrapped very awkwardly around your crotch, it pretty much eliminates all those first date jitters because you have so many other things in your way. It's a great way to just let go and have a great time getting to know your date, why not spark up your competitive side and race up the 100 ft. chimney they have!
8. Stone City Ales // 275 Princess St.
Located in the heart of downtown Kingston is the crowd favourite, Stone City Ales (and crowd favourite for an very justifiable reason). This small craft brewery not only offers a laid back yet hip atmosphere for you and your date, but it's also a tap room, bottle shop and brew house. Inspired by Belgian brewing and the American craft beer revolution, this local gem is perfect for dates who want some high quality beer, amazing food, and great times.
Why this'll get you a second date: heading here is taking it a step beyond the classic dinner date, and it'll show. Being a legitimate brewery not only makes gives it an A-list cool level, but it also means you'll get to enjoy some great beer like Uncharted IPA and Windward Belgian Wheat. Bonus: on Wednesday nights they have a date night special on Charcuterie + Casks! You'll be able to choose your own Pick 3 Charcuterie Board and enjoy 2 beers for only 22 dollars (plus you can you the line you're looking extra charCUTErie today so it's really a win win).
9. Tir Nan Og Irish Pub // 200 Ontario St.
Here's your in- Karaoke nights at Tie Nan Og Irish Pub. A treasured gem in Kingston for good reasons, it's classic comfort pub food and drink included, and also THE spot to be for Thursday night karaoke. What you think karaoke isn't a good date option? You think that people don't bond over silently judging people then getting up on stage and embarrassing themselves? OH WAIT. They do. Show your fun and vulnerable side by getting up on stage and making a real memory.
Why it'll get you a second date: It's the ultimate kind of people watching. It's a dope way to bond with your date and always keep the conversation going. Plus you can use this line that obviously works overtime - "What did you think about that rendition of Where Is The Love Tonight? Cause I think I know WHERE that love is tonight." *Cheesy two finger point and wink*
10. The Screening Room // 120 Princess St.
Sure, there's a long standing tradition of going to the movies for the first date you may be getting sick of. So why not make it much more exciting by going to a theatre that takes your date up a notch at The Screening Room in the core of the city! This intimate, 2 screen theatre plays local and contemporary films, which gives you plenty of options for what to watch. And beyond that, the indie, art-house movies they show will definitely add an extra level of excitement that you can talk about long after the date.
Why it'll get you a second date: you can use the whole, oh I'm yawning so I'm going to HAVE to just put my arm around your shoulder move at the movie. But incase that doesn't work, the intimate and unique setting combined with an easy conversation starter will help you and your date get closer and share an experience you couldn't get at Cineplex.
11. Juniper Cafe // 370 King St. West
We keep coming back to this beautiful and romantic cafe time and time again because we can't help but fall more in love with it with each visit. Located right on the shores of Lake Ontario in the stunning Tett Centre Building, this gorgeous cafe let's you and your date enjoy some locally sourced, handmade food while you sip your Americanos and take in the sweeping views of Lake Ontario. Pretty much screams love right? Or it could also scream this first date is going very well, I'm kind of into this person but I'm going to play it cool. You know, if love is too much for the first date.
Why it'll get you a second date: there's no denying the beauty of this cafe, but the real beauty is also in the location. With a prime location next to the waterfront, you not only get amazing views to take in (if you're not taking in the views of your beautiful date), but if it's nice out you can go for a stroll by the water after. Because sometimes all you really need for a good first date is the person that makes you laugh and a great cup of coffee from unbelievably friendly people setting the tone.