You’ve got one chance, one opportunity. Make it count with these first date venues.
Ah love, you fickle beast. How can it be that for months your weekends are spent watching Netflix whilst eating pizza in bed. Then out of no where you’re swept off your feet, butterflies filling your belly in anticipation of what is to come. Life is short, so why not puck up the courage and lock in that all important, make-or-break first date. With these first date venues, you’ll be sure to have many more loved-up encounters. You’re welcome.
The Romantic Date
You met at a 90s themed house party, TLC’s Waterfalls was playing in the background. Your eyes meet for the first time across a crowded room and like a bolt of lightening you were struck. You’ve finally met the one. Alternatively you met at a bar where you’d both had a little too much tequila, they offered to buy you a kebab and immediately your heart was sold. Either way, where do you take this dreamboat for your first date?
With panoramic views over Rose Bay, Catalina is perfect for either a long boozy lunch or sunset drinks and dinner. Be sure to make a booking, you definitely don’t want to be turned away for a rookie error when you’re trying to impress someone. Start with some Champagne or an Aperol Spritz and some freshly shucked Sydney Rock Oysters in the bar area. Then either take a seat in the main restaurant, which is beautiful but more expensive. Mains are over $40 but definitely worth it, especially if your date is a foodie. Or if the conversation is flowing and you don’t want to move you can order from the bar menu. Dishes include a seafood antipasto plate, spicy fish tacos and tempura prawns with ponzu. They also have a delicious dessert menu should you have a sweet tooth.
Catalina, Lyne Park, Rose Bay Sydney, 02 93710555, Mon-Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
With the Ester team at the helm of this intimate wine bar, you and your date will be well taken care of on the food and drink fronts. Housed in the Paramount House Hotel, poly shines in the realms of fine wine, exceptional bar snacks and bigger plates, so if you’re date is a foodie – you’ve automatically received big props. Start things off with an organic vino and some appetite whetting bar snacks (hello freshly shucked oysters!). If the date is going well, settle into the larger food items and keep the quality wine flowing.
poly, 74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
The Potting Shed
The Grounds of Alexandria´s boozy brother, The Potting Shed, is like a fairytale garden, perfect for romance and an ideal first date location. Wind your way through the hanging pot plants to the wheelbarrow fire where you can toast marshmallows, sip on a cocktail, and snuggle under blankets. Or curl up on the swinging bench chair as you get to know each other. The food provides ideal options for either casual sharing or going all out and ordering three full courses. Like The Grounds, most of the produce used is fresh and sourced from their extensive garden. Let romance blossom under the fairylight filled fantasy garden and create a first date that is truly memorable. Make sure to book ahead as The Potting Shed frequently draws a crowd.
The Potting Shed 41 Burke Rd Alexandria, 9699 2225
Surry Hill’s Japanese gem Toko Sydney exudes contemporary romance with its sleek fit out, warm lighting and intimate dining tables. Start your meal with an Ama Mizu cocktail. Made with fresh watermelon, aylesbury duck, shiro shochu and rose buds, it’s bound to get evoke plenty of flirty glances across the table. If you’re looking to take the guess work out of ordering, opt for one of Toko’s delicious tasting menus. You’ll feast on all the classically Japanese delights, including Tataki, tempura, nigiri and more. End your evening on a particularly sweet note, with an oozy dark chocolate and hazelnut fondant and milk ice cream. This dessert is almost too good for sharing, so if your date leaves you the last mouthful, you’ll know they’re interested.
Toko Sydney, 490 Crown Street Surry Hills, 9357 6100
Continental Bar and Deli
Having received the 2016 Good Food Guide award for “Best Bar”, Continental Bar and Deli is the perfect hot spot to take your date for the first time. By day the deli is your perfect lunch spot, with a selection of cold cuts and fine cheeses available. Paired with a nice glass of wine, it’s sure to impress. By night the bistro steps it up a notch with its shared-style, Mediterranean influenced menu, available from 6pm. They also happen to have a delectable cocktail list to wet your whistle.
Continental Bar and Deli, 210 Australia St, Newtown Sydney, 02 86243131, Mon-Fri 11am-late, Sat-Sun 10am-late
The Active Date
There’s nothing like finding a person who isn’t afraid of a little rough and tumble and enjoys getting their hands dirty. For those who’d rather be rock climbing than inside watching a movie, picking a perfect first date venue can be a little tricky.
South Head Heritage Walk
Starting at Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, this one hour walk will send you and your date along an 1870s cobblestone road. Passing Lady Bay Beach, you’ll reach the historic red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse. With spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the expansive Pacific Ocean, this trail is a great first date pick. Be sure keep your eyes open if you’re there during whale watching season (May-November).
South Head Heritage Walk, Sydney Harbour National Park, More info here
They say the most fundamental part of any relationship is working together so why not put this to the test on a rock climbing date? The perfect wet-weather date, it’s also a good way to bring out some friendly competition, but also to have a bit of a laugh. Let’s face it those harnesses aren’t the most flattering thing on your derrière and they can be kind of awkward around the nether regions of a man, but they’re sure to make you giggle. Whether or not you’re into fitness, or just looking to have some fun and try something new, rock-climbing will certainly take your date to new heights and ensure you a rocking time.
Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, Unit 4C/107 Unwins Bridge Rd, St Peters, 02 95193325, Open Mon – Wed & Fri 9:30am – 10pm, Thurs 9:30am – 11pm, Sat & Sun 9:30am – 9pm
The Blind Date
You’re taking a gamble and hoping your friends got it right, but just in case they are a little off the mark it’s a good idea to meet somewhere you can both feel comfortable and provides a few talking points. It’s also good to line up a place not too far from public transport. That way if things don’t go to plan you can make for a quick getaway.
Uncle Mings is one of the darkest bars in all of Sydney. So if you’re going on a blind first date this bar is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you’re having a bad hair day or not feeling your best the soft hues of candlelight will soften your look and surely make you look far more attractive. Great for first impressions. Secondly, if your blind date walks in and is completely different from their Tinder/Happn/Bumble picture you can try and sneak out without them noticing (a very rude idea that we don’t encourage). Thirdly, should your date go really well, sparks start flying and your flirting turns to extreme making out it’s dark enough not to turn too many heads. And finally, they have great drinks and really tasty Chinese five spice dumplings. If you start hitting the whiskies be sure to eat as you go, you might not find the stairs to get out of there otherwise.
Uncle Mings, lower Ground 55 York St, Open Mon – Fri 12 to midnight, Sat 4pm to midnight
This late night bar and pizza joint also wins points for its low lighting, softening the mood and hence making it ideal for a blind date. The beauty of Frankies (amongst many things) is that there’s plenty of conversation starters. Take the neon pinball machines, or the live rock bands that play weekly. If things are going well, drink your way through their extensive tap beer offering, perfectly paired with a slice of their signature pizza!
Frankie’s Pizza, 50 Hunter Street, Sydney, Open 7 Days 4pm-3am.
Sydney Comedy Store
This one should definitely be on your list for first date venues. With shows on most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Going to a comedy show is a great way to suss out your dates sense of humour, and if things aren’t going well you can focus on the show instead of your date. Plus, you can make for a quick get away after the show if you need to as Moore Park is pretty central to everything.
The Double Date
Your best friend is finally going on a date with a guy she’s been obsessed with for weeks, but she’s dragging you along for the ride too. Worst of all, you’ve got a surprise blind date who happens to be the best mate of your friend’s crush. So where should a couple of new found love affairs go?
The Standard Bowl
Enjoy some healthy competition on one of the Standard Bowl’s four miniature bowling lanes. For a little more fun, you can head upstairs to the mezzanine for pool, pin-ball machines and a sweeping view of the dance floor and stage below. If you are feeling peckish Johnny Wong’s are just below. Kick it old school at this great double date destination. And if things are going really well and you stay well into the night check out our 10 Best Sydney Late Night Kitchens story.
The Standard Bowl, Level 3/383 Bourke St, Darlinghurst, 02 9331 3100, Fri-Sat 9pm-3am
Downstairs at Darlo Bar is a one of our favourites for first date venues in Sydney. Sporting an old funky rumpus room with deep couches, it’s great for lazying back and giving your date a more relaxed vibe. There’s also a bunch of arcade games and pinball machines. Plus they’ve got a pool table too so you could have a friendly doubles pool game.
Darlo Bar, 306 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst, 02 93313672, Mon-Sat 10am-12am, Sun 12pm-12am
The Coffee Date
This is important even if you’re not a massive coffee drinker. A coffee date is non-intimidating, quick and easy way to catch up with someone who you’re not 100% sure about yet. It’s also a great way to learn their coffee order so you can impress them next time you see them.
The Nine in Bondi is a casual cafe located on Glenayr avenue specialising in organic and artisan fare. From their delicious brunch menu and fresh kombucha, muffins and daily treats to their coffee. They ground and get their beans from local micro roaster Coffee Bondi Beach. They also have a great selection of organic teas and a delectable sticky tea. We like this place for a coffee date because of it’s relaxed vibe. You’ve also got options. The date goes badly – jump on the 389 and get the hell out of there. The date goes well- stick around, order some lunch, get another coffee, walk down to the beach for a nice long, romantic walk.
The Nine, 163 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi Beach 2026, Open Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm, Sat -Sun 8am- 4pm
Now that you’ve found the perfect first date venue, it’s time to get in mood with this John Paul Young classic. You’re welcome.