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Dive bars, chill arcades, fancy romance or quirky artist built games: there’s something here for every kind of first date
Lucy Hawthorne/Eater Twin Cities

Seven First Date Spots in the Twin Cities Perfect for Every Kind of Dater

Locations sure to alleviate all awkwardness for every kind of date

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Dive bars, chill arcades, fancy romance or quirky artist built games: there’s something here for every kind of first date
| Lucy Hawthorne/Eater Twin Cities

The first date can be exciting, nerve-wracking, but more often than not, painfully awkward. In between bites of food you can find yourself trapped in forced conversations or even worse, no conversation at all. To avoid this dreaded scenario, check out these first date night spots that offer a second form of entertainment, just in case you didn’t get to know each other well enough at dinner.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Surly Brewing Co.

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520 Malcolm Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(763) 999-4040
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Grab the first two open seats you can find at this monstrous, 50,000 square-foot dining and drinking hall. Tucked away on two acres of land, this is where locals and visitors come to sip on some of Minnesota’s finest IPA’s while scarfing classic comfort food. Downstairs has plenty of hearty pub fare and upstairs is a New Haven-style pizza restaurant. If the date is going well: Head out back to play a game of Bags or Cornhole (depending on where you’re from), and warm up by one of the many bonfire pits that seem to be built for Paul Bunyan.

Photo by Joy Summers
This place is popular
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

2. Café and Bar Lurcat

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1624 Harmon Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 486-5500
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Floor to ceiling windows let in the golden-hour sunlight, with a panoramic view of Loring Park from the northwest corner. Small plates and appetizers are a good route with a wider range of flavors from the menu. Date night specials on Sunday evenings for visiting this romantic restaurant on a budget. If the date is going well: Take a stroll through the serene Loring Park, while holding hands (maybe?) Or cross the bridge over Hennepin Avenue into the iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to see Minnesota’s most photographed spots: Cherry and Spoon.

3. Esker Grove

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723 Vineland Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 375-7542
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This restaurant inside the Walker Art Center is dishing out some serious food served by a high-end staff in a moody, yet striking ambiance. Add to that a menu designed by one of the best chef’s in the nation, Doug Flicker, and it’s the perfect recipe for a successful happy hour, brunch, or dinner. If the date is going well: Head upstairs to enjoy the epic views of the Minneapolis skyline over some artist-built mini golf during sundown (just check the hours before planning on putt-putt).

Fantastic patio overlooking the sculpture garden
Esker Grove/Facebook

4. CC Club

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2600 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 874-7226
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This longtime holder of late nights and whiskey on the rocks is everything a dive bar should be - grungy vibes, eclectic crowds, above average bar food, and most importantly - cheap drinks. Order the perfect, classic reuben with waffle fries. If the date is going well: Pick up a game of pool or test your date’s taste in music on the jukebox - if they play Nickleback, a second date may be something to reconsider.

An iconic Minneapolis spot
Katie Cannon / Eater Twin Cities

5. Ox Cart Arcade & Rooftop

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255 6th St E
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 528-6171
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Now an oasis for nostalgic 80’s and 90’s babies. Justin Sutherland has revamped this place into what is a bar and arcade. The menu is filled with ideal first date night, finger food like pizza rolls, mini corn dogs, and an updated Pop-Tart dessert. Then wash  that down with a boozy snow cone or a Tang cocktail. If the date is going well:  Challenge your date to vintage arcade games, like video bowling or classic Pac Man. This venue is perfectly situated kiddy-corner from CHS field, it’d be a great spot to get to know each other before catching a Saint’s game.

Open rooftop bar with a yellow awning and outdoor seats are all under a rainbow just after a storm
Smash some pinball and crush munchies to appease your inner teen
OxCart Alehouse [Official]

6. The Nook

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492 Hamline Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
(651) 698-4347
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Bowling, burgers, and beers, the Nook has mastered the art of cheese stuffed burgers, fresh cut fries, and a long list of cold beers. If the date is going well: Grab a bowling ball, pencil, and a score sheet and hit the lanes downstairs. Prepare to keep score, because this old-school joint makes you keep track yourself. It’s a good way to test your date’s math skills.

Burgers and Bowling
The Nook [Official]

7. Sandcastle

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4955 W Lake Nokomis Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 722-5550
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Offering prime real estate for that summer night or weekend day date, Sandcastle is situated on the beautiful western shore of Lake Nokomis in South Minneapolis. Enjoy scratch cooking on the beach, while indulging in fish tacos, a classic BLT, lavish hotdogs, and one of the city’s greatest pulled pork sandwiches. If the date is going well: Get on the water to keep the conversation flowing, both literally and physically, and rent a pedal boat or canoe and enjoy a colorful Minnesota sunset.

sandcastle mpls
Enjoy a beer or glass of wine before heading out on the lake
Katie Cannon/Eater Twin Cities

1. Surly Brewing Co.

520 Malcolm Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Photo by Joy Summers
This place is popular
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Grab the first two open seats you can find at this monstrous, 50,000 square-foot dining and drinking hall. Tucked away on two acres of land, this is where locals and visitors come to sip on some of Minnesota’s finest IPA’s while scarfing classic comfort food. Downstairs has plenty of hearty pub fare and upstairs is a New Haven-style pizza restaurant. If the date is going well: Head out back to play a game of Bags or Cornhole (depending on where you’re from), and warm up by one of the many bonfire pits that seem to be built for Paul Bunyan.

520 Malcolm Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

2. Café and Bar Lurcat

1624 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Floor to ceiling windows let in the golden-hour sunlight, with a panoramic view of Loring Park from the northwest corner. Small plates and appetizers are a good route with a wider range of flavors from the menu. Date night specials on Sunday evenings for visiting this romantic restaurant on a budget. If the date is going well: Take a stroll through the serene Loring Park, while holding hands (maybe?) Or cross the bridge over Hennepin Avenue into the iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to see Minnesota’s most photographed spots: Cherry and Spoon.

1624 Harmon Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403

3. Esker Grove

723 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Fantastic patio overlooking the sculpture garden
Esker Grove/Facebook

This restaurant inside the Walker Art Center is dishing out some serious food served by a high-end staff in a moody, yet striking ambiance. Add to that a menu designed by one of the best chef’s in the nation, Doug Flicker, and it’s the perfect recipe for a successful happy hour, brunch, or dinner. If the date is going well: Head upstairs to enjoy the epic views of the Minneapolis skyline over some artist-built mini golf during sundown (just check the hours before planning on putt-putt).

723 Vineland Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403

4. CC Club

2600 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
An iconic Minneapolis spot
Katie Cannon / Eater Twin Cities

This longtime holder of late nights and whiskey on the rocks is everything a dive bar should be - grungy vibes, eclectic crowds, above average bar food, and most importantly - cheap drinks. Order the perfect, classic reuben with waffle fries. If the date is going well: Pick up a game of pool or test your date’s taste in music on the jukebox - if they play Nickleback, a second date may be something to reconsider.

2600 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

5. Ox Cart Arcade & Rooftop

255 6th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
Open rooftop bar with a yellow awning and outdoor seats are all under a rainbow just after a storm
Smash some pinball and crush munchies to appease your inner teen
OxCart Alehouse [Official]

Now an oasis for nostalgic 80’s and 90’s babies. Justin Sutherland has revamped this place into what is a bar and arcade. The menu is filled with ideal first date night, finger food like pizza rolls, mini corn dogs, and an updated Pop-Tart dessert. Then wash  that down with a boozy snow cone or a Tang cocktail. If the date is going well:  Challenge your date to vintage arcade games, like video bowling or classic Pac Man. This venue is perfectly situated kiddy-corner from CHS field, it’d be a great spot to get to know each other before catching a Saint’s game.

255 6th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

6. The Nook

492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
Burgers and Bowling
The Nook [Official]

Bowling, burgers, and beers, the Nook has mastered the art of cheese stuffed burgers, fresh cut fries, and a long list of cold beers. If the date is going well: Grab a bowling ball, pencil, and a score sheet and hit the lanes downstairs. Prepare to keep score, because this old-school joint makes you keep track yourself. It’s a good way to test your date’s math skills.

492 Hamline Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116

7. Sandcastle

4955 W Lake Nokomis Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55417
sandcastle mpls
Enjoy a beer or glass of wine before heading out on the lake
Katie Cannon/Eater Twin Cities

Offering prime real estate for that summer night or weekend day date, Sandcastle is situated on the beautiful western shore of Lake Nokomis in South Minneapolis. Enjoy scratch cooking on the beach, while indulging in fish tacos, a classic BLT, lavish hotdogs, and one of the city’s greatest pulled pork sandwiches. If the date is going well: Get on the water to keep the conversation flowing, both literally and physically, and rent a pedal boat or canoe and enjoy a colorful Minnesota sunset.

4955 W Lake Nokomis Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55417

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