5 First Date Ideas That Aren’t Just Going For a Pint

You can do it, I promise.

Dating is hard.

Figuring out where to go for a date is even harder. Ordinarily, I’ve got a strict selection of spots I tend to frequent when embarking on a potential romantic excursion with someone – Cassidy’s, Lucky’s, and Camden Exchange would be my favourites.

Yes, they’re all pubs, and yes, I have had many first dates there. Drinking has long been my go-to when it comes to dating. After all, what better way to get to know someone than settling into the back of a bar with a few pints and telling your life story?

This is a strategy I stand by, but as 2023 rolls out in full force, and more and more people are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption, having a few ideas for non-drinking dates up your sleeves wouldn’t be the worst idea.

So, without further ado, here are five dry first date ideas that don’t involve any alcohol at all.

1. Go for a meal

Alright, alright, this one is kind of obvious – but go have some food!

A lot of people don’t like to eat on a first date for self preservation purposes, but if you’re inclined to enjoy a chin wag over some drinks, you’ll probably enjoy it over some food too.

But if the idea of enduring a three-course meal for a first date is enough to break you out in hives, consider going somewhere more casual like a burger place, a street food restaurant, or even to a food market.

The likes of Eat Yard in the Bernard Shaw or the English Market in Cork city could be a great shout for grabbing a selection of grub and settling down somewhere.

2. Cook something together

Yeah okay, if you’re meeting someone for a first date, chances are you don’t immediately want to go to their house – but hey, everyone’s different.

But if you’re going on a first date with someone you already know, a home invite wouldn’t be too rogue at all. Especially if you’re going there to do some delicious cooking.

Cooking with another person can be a great bonding exercise; both people are bringing their own likes, methods, and preferences to the table (literally), and at the end of it all you’ve created something you can both sit down and enjoy.

Unless it all goes horribly wrong and you end up needing to get a takeaway. Either way.

3. Go to an exhibition or museum

If there’s something on that you’ve been planning to go see yourself, why not go on a first date instead?

Museums, galleries, tours, and exhibitions – all great things to spend your time doing, all great shouts for going on a date too.

Picture the scene: you’re strolling around the National Gallery with someone for the first time. You’re enjoying the art, you’re chatting about it. Or, maybe you’re not enjoying it at all and you get to chat about that too.

Either way you’re talking, you’re getting to know someone, you’re getting a gauge for what makes them tick and what doesn’t. And not a drop of alcohol in sight.

4. Take a hike

Or a walk, or a mild stroll, or even a sit down in a nice park.

Hikes are great with friends, so why shouldn’t they be just as great with a first date? Go to some place new, soak in the scenery, and spend the day outdoors doing something a little different.

Ideal hike spots include the Bray to Greystones walk, Cork’s Crosshaven Cliff Loop, and the Blue Lough trail in Newry.

5. Do some crazy golf

Hear me out! Crazy golf is fun! Crazy golf is different! Crazy golf is something that we should be doing regularly!

If the person you’re going on a date with can be convinced, hitting up the driving range (the crazy driving range) would be an immaculate shout. It’s gas, it’s funny, it’s bound to have you both doubled over with laughter at some point.

It’ll also reveal whether your date is the competitive type or not… and whether you’re into that is up to you.

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