Going on a first date can be incredibly stressful; sometimes the stress of preparing for a date can last longer than the date itself. The prospect of having to impress someone new is daunting and going to a place with a comfortable atmosphere can make everything a little bit easier. Considering that quite a number of people now meet their dates via social media outlets (like OkCupid and the oh so wonderful Tinder), we think it’s also probably best to meet in a place with a lot of people so you don’t end up on the BBC’s nightly news (just in case).
Edinburgh’s a city with a large number of great places to get to know someone new. Depending on whether you want to go out for coffee, drinks or a fun activity, the following options are our top picks.
Coffee Date: Fredericks Coffee House
(30 Frederick St, Edinburgh, EH2 2JR)
With its open and airy atmosphere, Fredericks Coffee House sets the scene for the start of a budding romance. Choosing a non-corporate chain gives you major street cred, and saves you the trouble of having to speak over noisy children and whirring barista gadgets making blended ice coffee drinks. Located between Princes and George Street (not tucked away in an obscure part of the city), the café’s location offers the option for a) a quick escape if the date is a dud, or b) various nearby venues to continue the romance. With an abundant selection of coffee and tea, in case espresso gives you too many jitters, the beverages are sure to please.
Drinks and Dinner: The Holyrood 9A
(9A Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AE)
Choosing a restaurant for dinner can be stressful- if you choose a place that is too extravagant, you may set the bar too high, but if you choose somewhere with poor service and a cheap atmosphere, you run the risk of dooming the date from the start. The Holyrood 9A is a perfect solution to the restaurant selection crisis- the restaurant boasts an upscale atmosphere but a reasonable price point. The burgers are great, the salads are great (if you don’t feel like devouring a cow in front of your recently-made acquaintance), and the beer and wine selection is even greater. The volume is perfect for conversation, without feeling like the table next to you is hanging on to your every word. The lighting may be a bit dim at times, but why not? It’s in the name of romance, right? And if you spill ketchup on yourself, maybe your date won’t see.
Just Drinks: Dragonfly Cocktail Bar
(52 W Port, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 2LD)
Edinburgh is not a city short on selection of cocktail bars, but Dragonfly stands apart from the crowd due to its quirky atmosphere and unique crowd (both of which are great conversation starters). The bar staff here has created a well-curated menu, allowing you to partake in one of our personal favourite activities- evaluating your compatibility via cocktail choice (which we don’t recommend as the primary means of choosing a significant other). Dragonfly is relatively small, but is located near Grassmarket, in case you want to continue your barhop to other venues, or if you care to meet up with your friends post-date.
Lunch: Chez Jules
(109 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ)
Upholding the French legacy of romance and a refined culinary tradition, Chez Jules is a taste of Parisian ambiance in the heart of Edinburgh. The restaurant has a decent lunch special from 12pm-4pm, with a casual café atmosphere. This is the perfect place to impress your date with any French skills you may have (but please, don’t try to fake it, you’ll only embarrass yourself). Another positive note- the house red wine is an enjoyable selection over which to unwind and start a stimulating conversation.
Something to do: The Stand
(5 York Pl, Edinburgh, EH1 3EB)
If strictly food or drinks isn’t quite your thing, try checking out The Stand Comedy Club. With its reasonable prices and (hopefully) funny comedians, going to The Stand can eliminate the awkward silences that a first date can bring by giving you a set time to get to know each other over drinks before the show, and something to talk about afterwards. The comedy club does not have a drink minimum, but remember to bring cash, as card is not accepted. Be sure to check the line-up and ticket bookings at The Stand.
We wish you the best of luck in your romantic endeavours, and remember, there are plenty of fish in the ‘burgh.
For more recommendations of where to go and what to do in Edinburgh, check out our blog at expatyourself.tumblr.com