Drinks with a View
by Dave

Couple Enjoying a Drink on their First Date
I'm all for casual first dates. Things like grabbing a cup of coffee at a local shop or having a drink together are perfect because you can break the ice in a low-pressure setting and no one's getting stuck somewhere they don't want to be. Is your date creepy? No problem. Throw out a "Nice to meet you" and head for the car. But even though I really like these ideas in principle, I have to admit that they don't exactly rate high for creativity or excitement. So I say why not dress it up a little bit and keep all the benefits while adding some oomph? That's right, oomph. It's a word. Instead of the local coffee shop, have that same drink overlooking the bay, or while watching a local club sport, or at a dog park with the pooches playing all around you! You see where I'm going with this?

Let's start off with a few suggestions for places to go. Out-of-the-way spots can be great ideas if you're comfortable with the person, but if this is an ice-breaking first date you should keep it public and fairly easy to reach. And remember, don't get caught trying too hard on a first date; you may have what seems like a perfect idea but the ones that take a lot of work just never seem to go over well. Think of spots like:

  • A hilltop where you can watch people fly kites, sail, paraglide, fly remote-controlled gliders, surf, or do other interesting activities.
  • An area to see water polo, lawn bowling, rugby, or any other unusual sports you can find. Have fun commentating on the action and trying to figure out the rules.
  • Overlooking landmarks like a bridge, harbor, or a good view of the city skyline. Maybe you know an accessible rooftop where you can look out over the city?
  • Animal lovers can enjoy watching the dogs play at a dog park or beach.
  • A park where you can relax while people play catch and do parky things around you.
  • Near the water on a small lakeside dock, a bench overlooking the ocean, or a riverbank.
  • A botanical garden.

With any spot you should be able to show up, quickly find a bench or table, or pull out a blanket or a few folding chairs. Think quick and easy. Another plus about choosing a spot with a view is that having things to partially occupy your attention and talk about on a first date isn't the worst thing in the world.

Keeping with the theme of 'simple is better', go for food and drinks that impress with minimal effort. Drinks can be alcoholic or not, depending on your preference, so ask your date what they like and go from there. Here are a few ideas for each:

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  • Coffee, tea, or hot cocoa when it's chilly
  • Cider or hot cider
  • Lemonade or iced tea on a hot day
  • Fresh carrot juice or other if you're health nuts
  • Fresh orange, watermelon, or other fruit juices are good healthy drinks too
  • A couple of ice-cold soda pops

Alcoholic Drinks

  • A bottle of wine
  • A few bottles of good beer
  • Margaritas
  • Rum and Coke
  • Vodka and OJ for screwdrivers
  • Mojitos

Beer and wine are great, but it's also fun to have a small pitcher of margaritas, mojitos, or screwdrivers mixed up and ready to pour over ice when you arrive. Place in a cooler along with some ice to drink, and glasses or mugs. If bringing alcohol, check to see if it's legal to consume at your spot. If not, bring plastic cups and keep an eye out for the fuzz.

Food is very optional. It's nice to bring something to snack on as long as you don't get complicated. Try:

  • Chips with fresh guacamole or salsa (good with margaritas or Mexican beer)
  • Baguette or French bread with artichoke dip or hummus
  • Cheese and crackers – something like a brie and grainy crackers
  • Olives and bread or crackers
  • Fresh veggies with a dip, maybe ranch?
  • Dark chocolate

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