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
24. Cake Cafe
This ain't your average cafe, hidden in the back of a bookshop and in a gorgy little outdoor terrace there is pleeenty of talking points if things aren't going to plan, also there's plenty of places to dillydally if it's going well. The coffee is also great with plenty of incredible cakes if you want to do the one cake two spoon technique.
23. One Kinda Folk
A great little casual spot for a fly-by date, both One Kinda Folk spots are super cosy and relaxed. They do some lovely coffee (including some more out-there flavours), and pastries and are close to the likes of Dartmouth Square and the canal if the date is going well.
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.
21. Irish Museum of Modern Art
One of my favourite museums in Dublin is Kilmainham's IMMA. 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. The grounds and walled gardens are also perfect for living your best Jane Austen fantasy with your new beau/gal.
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.
20. Bray Head walk (for more walk ideas click here)
It's tough to narrow down all the incredible walks in and around Dublin, but the Bray Head walk is a solid one. The strenuous 9.8-kilometre loop trail starts from the steps at the end of the promenade. Though she be on the quicker end of the trail scale, she is fierce as you scramble through steeper and more rocky areas. Prepare to get your hands dirty before the final stretch to the summit where the incredible panoramic views make it all worthwhile. Watch your head for whizzing drones as photographers travel from near and far to catch footage of the stunning surroundings from above. This hike can be busy, but it’s easy to see why. There are also umpteen great spots to get a bite to eat or a pint in Bray afterwards if all goes well.
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 are loads of options whether you're a meat eater or not, and the arcade-style games make this an unreal spot for a date.
18. Fusion Rink
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.
17. The Hideout
One of the city's great dive bars, also has plenty of pool tables, table tennis tables and billard halls which are primed to take the heat if the chat dries up. Dates can be awkward, it's best to have something to do when you are on the first few.
The Funny 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.
16. Comedy Anseo, Camden Street
Anseo has always been a go-to venue for comedy, and the Wednesday night gigs have recently enjoyed a glow-up with hosts Richie Bree and Colm McGlinchey at the helm bringing you the best of Irish and international acts every week. Tickets start from just €6 and are available HERE.
15. Hysteria, Sin É
There's a lot of buzz around this Dublin-based comedy collective, who run an exciting array of nights out of Sin É on the quays. Enjoy the likes of Token Straight (a queer comedy show with one token straight performer on the night to balance things out), the Nerd Herd (a chance to see Dublin comics nerd out about their favourite topics) or Hysterical Women (a showcase of Ireland's hilarious female comedians) with 3-5 shows every week - tickets and more info available HERE.
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 for 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.
11. The Taphouse
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
10. Uno Mas
Uno Mas is one of those spots that had everyone talking from the minute they opened. The stripped-back bistro holds a Bib Gourmand and specialises in quality, unfussy Spanish dishes on small plates. The menu is divided into snacks, starters, mains and desserts and everything down to the olive oil is given careful consideration. The menu changes slightly each day and prices range from €4 to €76 for the likes of their impressive, salt-aged Delmonico steak which serves two.
9. Variety Jones
Anyone who's visited VJ's pint-sized dining room in the Liberties knows booking is highly competitive - every Dublin foodie wants to sample the famous Chef's Choice Sharing Menu and there are only so many spaces at the table.
The aforementioned sharing menu changes with the seasons and is all that's available at Variety Jones, taking the decision-making off your shoulders and allowing you to sit back and relax as you're served some of the most inspired dishes you'll find in Dublin's fair city. An interesting list of natural and low-intervention wines accompanies, with an experienced in-house sommelier on hand to recommend the perfect glass to pair with your meal.
Fans of this unfussy, Michelin-starred spot will know they had taken over a larger space just next door from their original, but it's been closed since July following a serious fire in the kitchen. Until 79 Thomas Street is back up and running, 78 is open for biz - bookings for their November and December sittings will go live on October 15th at 12pm and there's no harm setting an alarm on your phone now so you're ready.
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.
8. 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.
7. Peruke & Periwig
This dark and cosy spot is a perfect for a rose-mantic date, dare we say the fabled third date? 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.
6. 1661 Bar
The winner of Ireland's best bar has got to count for something right? This place is worth visiting even if your date turns to Celebs Go Dating levels of bad. Get to know one another's likes and dislikes over the large menu, and get in your first selfie together with a decorative glass in hand- there are worse places to start a romance.
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.
Flickering candlelight, a roaring fire and the promise of some smooth jazz, what more can you want from a date? Handily located near the Guinness storehouse, this place is a great spot to round off the evening with a scoop or two. Can get a little touristy but if there's music on upstairs there's no better place to spend an evening.
3. P. Mac's
Not an obvious date-night spot, but with all those red candles around this darkly lit spot can help you get into the mood. There are plenty of snugs and little hidy places around if you want to get a little more comfortable, they have an incredible selection of beers on tap and there are board games if the conversation isn't exactly flowing.
Nothing says romance quite like sharing a full-bodied red and some small plates together, whatever the weather Piglet Winebar can provide that in spades. The dining area upstairs is beautifully intimate and once the light fades the twinkling fairy lights make the whole place exceptionally romantic.
Support some local businesses, get some fresh air and the chance of some quality food. A market can be a nice relaxing way to get to know someone, a nice stroll around some stalls can be a far cry from the sometimes intense pint across from each other. There are loads of incredible indie markets happening around Dublin at the minute, here's our guide to some of the best.
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.