You swiped right, the other person swiped right…now what? Once you've got your online dating match —usually on Tinder these days— chat a bit, confirm that your match is a real person, and manage a decent conversation for at least a day, then what? It’s time to go on your first Tinder date. But where? We’ve rounded up five interesting food and drink places to help you impress your Tinder match or get you through the first meeting in a more casual setting.
Alcohol by Volume cocktail and absinthe bar
If you like your romance served with a hint of mystery, ABV is the place for you. This bar will take you right back to Prohibition-era New York, where bars serving alcohol are kept secret. When you reach ABV's antique elevator, the maitre d' will ask "What floor?", your cue to say the password, so you'll be allowed in. The elevator leads straight to the bar. Pick up the password from the bar's website.
Why go? The ambience will score you major points and the whole password thing —although a little silly— lends an air of spy game play. The cocktail menu is created by award-winning mixologist and ABV general manager Kenneth Bandivas, winner of the Around the World Challenge at the Diageo Reserve World Class 2015 Global Finals. The place is open to concocting bespoke cocktails.
Likelihood of a second date: 9 out of 10
ABV, Basement floor, 22 Jupiter street, Makati, tel +632 832 5330, open from 5pm to 4am
It can get noisy and slightly chaotic at this Mexican cantina in Burgos, Makati, but it only gives you and your date reason to hold your heads closer together to carry on a conversation. The dive bar is known for its cheap beer, classic margarita by the pitcher, great street tacos, and possibly the best grilled chicken this side of Makati. If you think the way to your date's heart is through his or her stomach, this is the place to go.
Why go? For a casual night out in an interesting area, but only if you're the no-frills type.
Likelihood of a second date: 7 out of 10. Add more points the more laidback your date is. If he or she doesn't mind eating grilled chicken skewers on the sidewalk (which you might just end up doing if you're there on a busy night), then that person might just be a keeper.
El Chupacabra, 5782 Felipe street, Poblacion, Makati, tel +632 895 1919, open from 11am to 2am
Coffee dates are great for first dates -- they're casual and you can exit quickly if you need to. Steer clear of the usual coffee chains. Show your date how different you are by taking him or her to Commune, an artsy cafe in the same area as El Chupacabra. With a sunny, relaxed space and a menu filled with Filipino comfort food and specialty coffee, this coffee house is a winner.
Why go? Serves good local coffee.
Likelihood of a second date: 7 out of 10. Higher if your date is a coffee person.
Commune, 36 Polaris street, Poblacion, Makati, tel +63933 720 0241, open from 8am to 12am
Chandeliers, draperies, and private nooks lend Cerveseria an air of romance and sexiness. The couch seats set behind a row of fully-stocked bookshelves give you some degree of privacy, so you and your date can get to know each other better over tapas and a glass or two of their signature red or white sangrias.
Why go? The intimate ambience, a variety of wines from Spain, Chile, and Australia, and delicious finger food.
Likelihood of a second date: 9 out of 10. The full 10 if you do your research beforehand and impress your date with your knowledge of wine.
Cerveseria, Level 1, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati, tel +632 757 4791, open from 9am to 11pm
Beer Below Zero
If you're looking for some place casual, to keep things smooth and suave – just what you probably need for a first date – head to Beer Below Zero on Kalayaan Avenue, behind Rockwell Center in Makati. It has a chill vibe with piped in music blaring an anything-goes playlist and serves a wide range of imported and local commercial and craft beers, brought to your table super cold, in about-to-freeze temperature. Ditch the indoor seating, and go for the al fresco seating overlooking the quieter end of Kalayaan Avenue. Order finger food from pizza, nachos to chicken fritters. If you feel like your date's got potential, then go for the mains, such as callos, an ox tripe dish, with rice.
Why go? Best for a casual, no-frills date. The cold, cold beer won't hurt either.
Likelihood of a second date: 8 out of 10. The cold beer might just help loosen you up and get rid of first-date jitters, enough to let the real you shine through.
Beer Below Zero, Kalayaan Avenue corner Algier Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Published January 2015. Updated January 2017