It's no easy task, we understand.
While dating can be a hugely fun experience, it has its own unique stresses, one of which is simply choosing where to have a date. Choosing the perfect date spot has a lot of variables, depending on who you both are, what you like to do, how much you're willing to spend (we're all getting crushed by the cozzy livs crisis currently) amongst other things.
It can be a real flex to choose the perfect date idea, whether you're going for the classic dinner and drinks, or something a little more adventurous.
The Coffee Date
There are several KC Peaches cafés in Dublin, and I choose it specifically because there's loads of places to sit. It's not so small that you'll feel self conscious of others around you, and it's got some great coffee as well as treats.
The latte art from Beanhive is well known and the perfect conversation starter if you're on a first date. Plus you're so close to Stephen's Green, the National Gallery, that you could easily keep the date going if it's going well.
The Cultural Date
For some reason, as someone who loves art, I rarely visit the galleries in my own city. I'd love to be brought on a date to a gallery, even if it's somewhere I've already been, as the exhibitions tend to switch up regularly.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
One of my favourite museums in Dublin is Kilmainham's IMMA. Somewhat less stuffy than other galleries, there's loads to see and do, and if your date is into art, there's no better place to bring them.
You can book tickets HERE.
The Walking Date
A relatively new category of date has arrived thanks to the pandemic, but it's sticking around Thanks to Fiona and our production team, Lovin has a whole list of the best spots for a walk all over Dublin; you need only choose a location that's most suitable for you.
On the Northside there's spots like Phoenix Park, Donabate beach, Howth Cliff Path, and St. Anne's Park. On the Southside you have the likes of Fernhill House and Gardens, the Dún Laoghaire Pier, Marlay Park, and Tick Nock Mountain.
Check out our Walking Series HERE.
The Adventurous Date
While there's nothing wrong with the classic date ideas - dinner and drinks will never go out of style - impressing your date with something a little outside the box could make you seem like a real winner.
Not exactly a ground-breaking choice, most Dubliners will be well aware of Token, but it's a great food spot that has a little bit more to it. The food is great, there's loads of options whether you're a meat eater or not, and the arcade style games make this an unreal spot for a date.
For a date that doesn't involve alcohol, Fusion Rink in Walkinstown is a great spot. Not only is it great craic, you're gonna win serious brownie points for choosing this as your date spot as there's a good chance your companion will never have been.
Don't worry if you're uncoordinated; that'll only add to the shits and giggles. You can book a slot HERE.
Van Gogh Experience
The Van Gogh Experience is one popular worldwide, set up across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The Dublin Van Gogh Experience is based in Beaumont, and well worth a visit.
You can book a place for you and your date HERE.
The Comedy Show Date
This one is not for the faint hearted. There's always the chance that as a couple on a first date you may become easy prey for the comedian, but it could either be something to later trauma bond over, or show you that your date just isn't for you. If you're up for it, these are the best spots for a comedy show date.
The Laughter Lounge
It's called the Laughter Lounge for a reason; you'll get plenty of laughs while lounging on your date, and you won't have to panic if you can't make them laugh because someone else is bound to.
Tickets are available for Laughter Lounge HERE.
Based in Whelan's, Cherry Comedy won't break the bank with their weekly show that takes place on Mondays. Plus our very own Fiona Frawley is frequently on their stage, and she's an act not to be missed.
The Grab-Some-Food & Go Date
Not sure if you fancy someone enough to sit down for a three-course meal? We've got you covered for this sort of date idea too.
Not only is it more affordable than other dining options, Bambino has fast become one of Dublin's best pizza spots in the last year. If you don't want to commit to a full sit-down meal, or can't afford to, a pizza slice from Bambino is a great option.
Plus if you do end up wanting to extend the date, you can wander into any number of pubs, and you'll already be full from your pizza.
The Dinner Date - Cheap and Cheerful
If you're a serial dater, you'll know how expensive dating can be. Whether it be food, drinks, or the taxi home, not to mention tips and the possibly cheeky takeaway at the end of the night, it's not feasible going somewhere super expensive all the time (or even half the time). Besides, sometimes a cheap and cheerful date spot is a better idea anyway.
Pasta plates for under €10, great atmosphere, and wine on tap? What's not to like? Either Sprezzatura location, Camden Street or Rathmines, is ideal for date night, whether you've just met, or been dating years.
The plates are perfect for sharing, and both restaurants are big enough that you won't feel awkward (otherwise I'd definitely be suggesting Aperitivo Cicchetti on Nassau Street - maybe a spot to head to if you're not on a first date).
Another classic is Mexican spot MASA, based on Drury Street. The food and drinks won't break the bank, and it's got great casual date vibes.
The only negative is this place is walk-in only, so maybe only take someone you've been on a couple of dates with so as not to face that awkward wandering around while we wait chat. Don't ask me why this is inherently more awkward than sitting down; it just is.
One of my favourite more casual spots for some grub and drinks is The Taphouse. They do small plates as well as bigger dishes, so you can do a bit of mix and matching, and their cocktails are delicious.
It's never too noisy in there, and it's spacious, which is integral I think for a date, and there's loads of seating, meaning you'll likely be able to squeeze in somewhere if you're on a more impromptu date.
The Dinner Date - Fancy Pants
This Westmoreland Street spot is new and while it's definitely on the spendier side, it's great if your date has an occasion attached to it. Plus given that it's one of Dublin's newest restaurants, it's likely your date won't have heard of it before, and will be amazed by your knowledge (maybe a stretch, but could happen).
They have some vegan and veggie spots, but this place is definitely for the meat-eaters of the world, as they do a great selection of steak and fish.
For serious glamour, Hyde on Lemon Street won't fail to impress your date. The Asian restaurant/bar opened in late 2022 and has received rave reviews ever since. While this place is more expensive, it's got everything you could want for a fancy date; cocktails, great food, and a stunning backdrop while you and your date get to know each other more.
Besides, oysters are an aphrodisiac.
Glam Drinks Date
If your date buzzes off a daiquiri, or can never finish a meal without having an espresso martini, then a fitting date idea would be a glamorous evening of drinks. Dublin is jam-packed with spots to go to, but we'll start you off with a few you need to check out.
Vintage Cocktail Club
While any old spot does a cocktail these days, Vintage Cocktail Club is undoubtedly one of the best spots in Dublin. The vibes are lit, there's a bit of fanciness in the air, and if your date loves a cocktail of any description, choosing this spot is definitely going to earn you brownie points.
Having a drink at Glovebox is a bit of an experience; the carpark location kind of speaks for itself. Plus nothing says you've given your date location some thought than going to an art gallery too. The drinks are a bit spenny here, so maybe go for one or two before moving elsewhere, but a date here will be one to remember at least.
Winner of Ireland's best bar has got to count for something right? Green Street's 1661 bar are famous for their cocktails and specialise in Irish spirit poitín. Definitely a worthy date spot in Dublin, particularly if you both love cocktails.
Casual Drinks Date
Casual is no bad thing; sometimes you don't want to be going somewhere crazy fancy on a date. These Dublin spots pass the vibe check and all have their own unique selling point, while not breaking the bank in the process.
Two words. Calpol cocktails. The Francis Street spot is especially good for 90s babies looking to bond over nostalgia. The drinks and atmosphere alone should provide a sufficient start to the conversation.
A word of warning though; their new Billy Roll coasters may give you a jump scare.
Meath Street's Lucky's is one of the best spots for a tipple, and that's not just because us Lovin gals have stumbled in one or two times over the years.
Another reason Lucky's is a great wee spot for a date? They have Coke Lane pizza in their outdoor seating area and that's where you'll find some of the best pizza in Dublin.
One of Dublin's newer bars is Tapped, serving Dublin Pizza Company Pizzas, and boasting the most beer taps in all of Ireland. This place is spacious and has a great atmosphere, making it a perfect date spot, especially if you're going on a first date.
While we will forever miss Copan, Kodiak has made a serious impression on Dubliners as the new go-to bar in Rathmines. Run by the same people as Bonobo, we'd say they are jammed most nights with people on dates.
You can book a table HERE to avoid disappointment.
Given its location, The Lighthouse is a great place for a tipple following a nice walk on the Dún Laoghaire pier and there's always something going on there. Depending on what day you stumble in there's quizzes, movies, sports, and markets to get involved in.
No matter the date you're after, we hope we've provided sufficient inspiration the next time you're put in charge of organising something. Whether it's the first date, or the one hundredth, Dublin has no shortage of spots to hit up.
Header images via Instagram/hyde.ie & /tokendublin