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The bar at Redbird
The bar at Redbird
Jenn Emerling

Where to Go for First Date Drinks in Los Angeles

The first date shouldn't be too stressful

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The bar at Redbird
| Jenn Emerling

It's time to take your Tinder or eHarmony chats off line. Where's the best place to meet IRL? After all you don't want to go to just any ol' bar especially when this could be the future Mr. or Mrs. Right. The ideal first date venue will possess that rare combination of great vibe, well-made cocktails, conversation-friendly acoustics, and, if things go well, tasty food options.

To help you out, Eater has curated a list of perfect first date drink spots, ranging from low-key "Taco Tuesday" margaritas to fancy-pants martinis. But if you're feeling confident about actually sitting through dinner with your intended, we've got a restaurant list for first dates, too.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1886 Bar at The Raymond

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There are all kinds of romantic seating in this Craftsman bungalow bar/restaurant. Get to know each other while sitting at one of the fireside tables out on the patio, trade come-hither looks on the low leather banquet in the bar area, or take in the evening air while lounging out on the wisteria-covered patio. All while sipping craft cocktails like the suggestively named "Netflix and Chill" hot toddy variation.

71Above

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This downtown restaurant and lounge probably sets the bar really high, like, 71 stories high from the get-go, but it's where you go if you want to take your date's breath away. Sip on bartender Darwin Manahan's LA-inspired cocktails while looking out at the best views of L.A.

accomplice bar

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For a chill spot for cocktails, claim a couple of seats at the bar in Accomplice. Low lights and great acoustics only help the date. And if things go really well, you can transition from bar bites to shareable plates from Chef David Kuo's Taiwanese comfort food restaurant Little Fatty next door.

Belcampo Meat Co.

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Meat lovers unite at the Santa Monica outpost of Belcampo Meat Co. Bond over beef tartare and the BBQ Old Fashioned (bourbon, brown sugar, smoked BBQ bitters, and housemade jerky). The cocktails here are some of the best ever made by renown barman Josh Goldman.

Big Bar

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Want to meet up for coffee first with the option of transitioning to cocktails later? Plan for drinks at Big Bar, which not only has a slew of coffee offerings but is perfect for day drinking. The bar starts serving cocktails at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m on the weekends.

If you fear awkward silences during that first date, Birch bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk's cocktails are the perfect conversation starters. Bond over cocktails served out of Chinese takeout containers and culinary variations on classics. And if the date is going extremely well, split the ultimate date dish: Chef Brendan Collins' pork shank. Nothing sexier than wrapping up meat in za’atar bread.

Button Mash

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Want to do something other than sitting around and drinking on your date? Knock back beer and get your game on at Button Mash, which not only features a selection of craft brews but 30 years' worth of arcade games. Starry Kitchen food is on hand if you're feeling peckish.

Citizen

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Sure, its nearness to Spago will make it obvious that you're not there (as in, fancy pants dining) in your relationship yet, but it'll give you something to aspire to. For now enjoy barman Josh Goldman's well-crafted 1960s-inspired cocktails while lounging on the patio and watching celebrities pull into Spago's valet. Order up kumamoto oysters with your ice-cold martinis if things look promising.

Cliff's Edge

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Cliff's Edge may be one of the best spots to have a wedding with one of the most romantic patios in L.A. but pump the brakes and first start at the bar for bar bites by Chef Michael Bryant, wine by the glass and cocktails. On Thursday nights, it's $1 oysters all night at the bar and 6-8pm on the patio.

E.P & L.P.

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Take in a view of the Hollywood Hills and the beautiful people (but not as beautiful as your date of course) at LP rooftop bar. Boba cocktails, like the Tiki-esque Californication (Panamanian rum, Campari, pineapple, lime, toasted coconut syrup, passionfruit boba pearls, dark rum float) help keep things fun and light because you can't be serious sucking down bursting balls. For just a nibble split a couple of baos. Or, for something more substantial, head downstairs to EP restaurant for Chef Louis Tikaram's Southeast-Asian dishes like Chiang Mai larb and green papaya salad. Just maybe stay away from the finger-lickin' sticky spare ribs this time around.

Faith & Flower

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If you and your date are into vintage attire, you'll both look extra stunning sitting at the mirrored bar in this gorgeous downtown restaurant which is reminiscent of a 1930s European film. Toast your stylishness with the famed English Milk Punch, or really any of the cocktails by bartenders Darwin Pornel and Ryan Wainwright.

Gwen's cocktails aren't just unique variations of classics, like a passion fruit daiquiri or a Pina Colada-inspired Old Fashioned, but also serve as the perfect accessory. You'll feel pretty damn sexy just in proximity to the vintage-inspired glassware and gorgeous ice. The seating is limited at Gwen's bar but if you can't grab two stools in front of the bartender there's the option of enjoying cocktails and table service on the patio off Sunset Boulevard.

Here's Looking at You

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The seating at the bar in Here's Looking at You can be a little tight, especially if you're sitting along the window. But on the positive side you get to rub elbows with your date. You don't have to order dinner when sitting at the bar, in fact sticking to cocktails and the housemade pie, which is only available at the bar, is definitely the way to go on a first date.

If your date has a penchant for tatted celebrity chefs, culinary-inspired cocktails, and beautiful-people watching with the occasional celebrity sighting, you'll immediately raise your game by suggesting drinks at Chef Michael Voltaggio's Ink. The bar is also a great go-to for those with an aversion to making dinner reservations.

Lost Property

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A sexy signless bar just steps away from Hollywood's most famous intersection, Hollywood & Vine. Settle in with classic cocktail variations expertly made by barman Jeremy Lake (Crossroads, Rivera) or choose from his whiskey selection. At the end of the night, you may even take home, not just your date, but a found item off the wall.

Petty Cash Taqueria

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Taco Tuesdays at Petty Cash is affectionately called "Tinder Tuesdays" by the staff for the number of first dates that show up to the restaurant. But what better way to get to know each other than over margaritas and carne asada tacos? That's a no-pressure, friend-zone activity. But if things are looking promising and you two are feeling adventurous, go in on a tequila or mezcal flight.

Redbird

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Thrive on the energy of a bustling restaurant? Sit at the bar in Redbird's buzzing and gorgeous open-air (depending on the weather) dining room. Plus the comforting din of diners helps make those awkward silences seem less profound. And for those who actually prefer more intimate conversations, the lounge, tucked away from the dining room, has plush sofas and a quieter space that's more conducive to sexy talk. Toast to each other with bartender Tobin Shea's beautiful classic-inspired cocktails or a variety of wine by the glass.

Rose Café-Restaurant

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A lovely way to end a sunset walk along the beach: craft cocktails at Rose Cafe's bohemian bar or outdoor patio. Chef Jason Neroni's spot, which took over a 30-year Venice neighborhood institution, still has got that relaxed vibe of the original with a little more polish to make it a legit first-date option.

The Spare Room

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Why waste the first date doing boring, ol' standby "dinner and a movie" when there are funner ways of getting to know someone, like over a competitive game of Scrabble at L.A.'s stylish game parlour/cocktail lounge? Or if you feel like splurging, rent a bowling lane for $100 an hour. Either way, the delicious and fun cocktails here will instantly turn any sore loser into a gracious one. Feeling cozy? Share the Rumluck cocktail which comes with two straws.

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1886 Bar at The Raymond

There are all kinds of romantic seating in this Craftsman bungalow bar/restaurant. Get to know each other while sitting at one of the fireside tables out on the patio, trade come-hither looks on the low leather banquet in the bar area, or take in the evening air while lounging out on the wisteria-covered patio. All while sipping craft cocktails like the suggestively named "Netflix and Chill" hot toddy variation.

71Above

This downtown restaurant and lounge probably sets the bar really high, like, 71 stories high from the get-go, but it's where you go if you want to take your date's breath away. Sip on bartender Darwin Manahan's LA-inspired cocktails while looking out at the best views of L.A.

accomplice bar

For a chill spot for cocktails, claim a couple of seats at the bar in Accomplice. Low lights and great acoustics only help the date. And if things go really well, you can transition from bar bites to shareable plates from Chef David Kuo's Taiwanese comfort food restaurant Little Fatty next door.

Belcampo Meat Co.

Meat lovers unite at the Santa Monica outpost of Belcampo Meat Co. Bond over beef tartare and the BBQ Old Fashioned (bourbon, brown sugar, smoked BBQ bitters, and housemade jerky). The cocktails here are some of the best ever made by renown barman Josh Goldman.

Big Bar

Want to meet up for coffee first with the option of transitioning to cocktails later? Plan for drinks at Big Bar, which not only has a slew of coffee offerings but is perfect for day drinking. The bar starts serving cocktails at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m on the weekends.

Birch

If you fear awkward silences during that first date, Birch bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk's cocktails are the perfect conversation starters. Bond over cocktails served out of Chinese takeout containers and culinary variations on classics. And if the date is going extremely well, split the ultimate date dish: Chef Brendan Collins' pork shank. Nothing sexier than wrapping up meat in za’atar bread.

Button Mash

Want to do something other than sitting around and drinking on your date? Knock back beer and get your game on at Button Mash, which not only features a selection of craft brews but 30 years' worth of arcade games. Starry Kitchen food is on hand if you're feeling peckish.

Citizen

Sure, its nearness to Spago will make it obvious that you're not there (as in, fancy pants dining) in your relationship yet, but it'll give you something to aspire to. For now enjoy barman Josh Goldman's well-crafted 1960s-inspired cocktails while lounging on the patio and watching celebrities pull into Spago's valet. Order up kumamoto oysters with your ice-cold martinis if things look promising.

Cliff's Edge

Cliff's Edge may be one of the best spots to have a wedding with one of the most romantic patios in L.A. but pump the brakes and first start at the bar for bar bites by Chef Michael Bryant, wine by the glass and cocktails. On Thursday nights, it's $1 oysters all night at the bar and 6-8pm on the patio.

E.P & L.P.