Tonight is Taco Tuesday, but none of your friends extended an invite this time, since last week you ended up flicking spoonfuls of guac across the bar after a few two-for-ones. So you’re on the couch watching reruns of Law and Order: SVU instead, swiping left, left... and left again, through all the unimpressive Tinder profiles of singles within your 20-mile radius.
Then, BAM, a diamond in the rough pops up, complete with a puppy, great hair, and a perfectly symmetrical face. Right swipe... it’s a match! And fast-forward to the phone number exchange after agreeing to "meet up" this Friday night. Now what?
Tinder first dates end up either like a page out of a Nicholas Sparks novel or out of a Steven King one. Here are ten of the best places in South Florida to find out which scene yours will be.
For the Chill Type —
LauderAle Brewery and Tasting Room
The 1,500-square-foot converted warehouse space just outside of Port Everglades is commonly filled with equal parts dog and human. Everything on tap tastes good, and the beer is inexpensive, which means you can treat your potential bae without breaking the bank. There’s also a Ping-Pong table in the back corner if you want to show off your sporty side or picnic tables where you can post up if conversation is more your forte. It's open only Tuesday nights and Thursday through Sunday, so don’t make Monday or Wednesday plans or you’ll end up looking pretty stupid.
Food Trucks at Arts Park
If you’re allergic to alcohol or just feel more comfortable meeting a complete stranger in a crowded, public setting, a Monday date night at Young Circle is the way to go. Every Monday night from 5:30 to 9:30, more food trucks than you’ve probably ever seen in your life congregate at Arts Park in Hollywood to serve their delicacies. This is a great setting to find out if your date is capable of making executive decisions or not, because choosing whether to get a baked potato, pulled-pork sandwich, mac 'n' cheese, or teriyaki chicken is going to be tough. There’s also lots of open space to run away if your date turns out to be a psycho.
For the Shallow Type —
The locals-only, old-town feel of the pier is a great, nonthreatening place to strip down in front of a stranger for the first time. I suggest starting on the beach to get a glimpse of their body and what you’re working with. Then walk up along the pier and chit-chat about why there are so many people with fishing poles and no fish. Afterward, grab a beer and some ice cream at the nearby shops, or rent some poles and bait and try to catch a snack yourself. Watching your date cast that fishing line will give you a hint as to the level of his or her outdoor survival skills. These qualities are important to consider when choosing a mate, just in case the Zombie Apocalypse actually happens.
JB’s on the Beach
JB’s is a great restaurant for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, right before hitting the beach. Everyone loves breakfast foods, so you don’t have to worry about them not liking something on the menu. You can trade them a piece of your French toast for some of their omelet, while mimosas and the view will keep things light and airy.
For the Adventurous Type —
Xtreme Action Park
Go-karts will get the adrenaline pumping and will also tell you if they are a horrible driver or not — or if they won’t be OK with your lead foot. The karts can go up to 45 mph, and all that speed is likely to produce some feel-good endorphins to keep the laughs flowing when you start to make terrible jokes out of nervousness. There’s a full bar for when you’re done and want to start asking each other those "first-date questions" over a beer or a few shots, whatever your style. The staff here is mostly young, plus there’s an arcade, so it gives the night that high-school-date feel, which your Tinderella will find either creepy or cute.
Museum of Discovery and Science
Here, there are plenty of dioramas and activities to keep conversation going, just in case your date turns out to be boring. If things end up going well and you want to extend your time with them, there’s the IMAX theater next door, where you can snuggle up behind the big screen and feed each other popcorn. See what they look like with their hair all messed up after putting them through the hurricane simulator, and then find out if they’re the kind of person who gets excited about rocks in the dig pit. It’s only $15 for a ticket, and if you’re date shows up looking unlike their picture (not in a good way), then you can just stare at the adorable otters instead.