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600t is an ideal underground bar fit for a first date.
Rey Lopez/Under A Bushel

Where to Have a Hot First Date in D.C.

These eight bars and restaurants can help lessen the awkwardness

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600t is an ideal underground bar fit for a first date.
| Rey Lopez/Under A Bushel

Where to take him or her on a first date in D.C. is an age-old conundrum, and with so many new eating and drinking destinations to choose from, that problem is now tenfold.

Sometimes the best ingredients for a first date spot include a sexy (read: dark) setting and non-committal elements like minimal food service and expiring happy hour specials. Others are slam dunks for their central location and ability to bounce around if the night’s going well. And, of course, alcohol always helps.

Here are eight options to type into a Bumble or Tinder response right now.

Note: The featured bars and restaurants are not ranked. The map is arranged geographically from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Jug & Table

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This Adams Morgan wine bar is consistently popular for inaugural meet-ups. Sharable snacks include charcuterie, blistered shishito peppers, and marinated olives. Happy hour runs 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays ($5 wine, $3 local draft beers, and $5 rail spirits). If date night falls on a Wednesday, select wine bottles and its huge 64-ounce jugs are half off.

Wine director Ezra Rosenberg’s curated selection at Jug & Table.
Karlin Villondo/Karlin Villondo Photography

Not many people know about — or can spot — this hidden drinking lair (heck, it technically doesn’t even have a name), so going incognito is encouraged. And if the conversation isn’t flowing, count on one of the bartenders to interject with suggestions of what to order (the simple Sake is a top choice). Extra points for the classy jazz music playing.

600t feels like a warm wood cabin.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel

Calabash Teahouse & Cafe

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This expanding zen destination alleviates a potentially awkward (and sober) first date, where coffee, kombucha, herbal lattes, and nearly 100 other beverages can be ordered. If the date is going well, open a tab and snuggle up to a couch. And if one’s looking for an out, tea can easily be taken to go.

The cozy setting at Calabash Teahouse in Shaw.
Calabash [Facebook]

McClellan's Retreat

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This tried-and-true meeting ground has become a word-of-mouth mecca for first dates. Some reasons why include the fact it’s very dark, the cocktails won’t break the bank, and food is minimal (so lingering isn’t likely). And it’s super central, so hopping to another Dupont bar is easy. Bloomingdale sister bar Truxton Inn is also another Tinder date magnet.

Dates can work up talking points based off the history behind McClellan’s Retreat.
McClellan’s Retreat [Facebook]

Ladurée - Georgetown

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The Georgetown macaron maker transports guests to a romantic getaway in Paris and is impeccably dressed to impress a first date — especially now that champagne, wine, and cocktails are also in the mix.

The interior of Ladurée Georgetown.
Ladurée in Georgetown.
Ladurée [official photo]

Taco Bamba Lunch Counter

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“It’s just lunch” is a low-stress way to go about a first date, since “I gotta get back to work” is a valid out. That’s why Taco Bamba’s centrally located, lunch-only counter at Del Campo is a great bet.

Grab-and-go guacamole at Taco Bamba.
Taco Bamba [Facebook]

Dirty Habit

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A good place to start or end the night is this Kimpton hotel bar, where executive chef Kyoo Eom’s global plates can be shared during happy hour and late at night. And head bartender Sarah Ruiz’s got a lineup of communal cocktails served out of interesting conversation-sparking glassware. And if the date goes MIA for a while, don’t worry they left (the ornate bathroom is a top Instagram selfie spot).

Dirty Habit DC bar
Dirty Habit’s plates are designed for sharing.
Dirty Habit [official]

Whiskey Charlie

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Before catching a show at The Anthem, make a night out of it by visiting this scenic spot beforehand. The Canopy hotel’s 10th floor bar features two areas to perch, from its intimate rooftop deck or indoor lounge.

A cocktail at Whiskey Charlie.
Whiskey Charlie [official photo]

Jug & Table

Wine director Ezra Rosenberg’s curated selection at Jug & Table.
Karlin Villondo/Karlin Villondo Photography

This Adams Morgan wine bar is consistently popular for inaugural meet-ups. Sharable snacks include charcuterie, blistered shishito peppers, and marinated olives. Happy hour runs 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays ($5 wine, $3 local draft beers, and $5 rail spirits). If date night falls on a Wednesday, select wine bottles and its huge 64-ounce jugs are half off.

Wine director Ezra Rosenberg’s curated selection at Jug & Table.
Karlin Villondo/Karlin Villondo Photography

600t

600t feels like a warm wood cabin.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel

Not many people know about — or can spot — this hidden drinking lair (heck, it technically doesn’t even have a name), so going incognito is encouraged. And if the conversation isn’t flowing, count on one of the bartenders to interject with suggestions of what to order (the simple Sake is a top choice). Extra points for the classy jazz music playing.

600t feels like a warm wood cabin.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel

Calabash Teahouse & Cafe

The cozy setting at Calabash Teahouse in Shaw.
Calabash [Facebook]

This expanding zen destination alleviates a potentially awkward (and sober) first date, where coffee, kombucha, herbal lattes, and nearly 100 other beverages can be ordered. If the date is going well, open a tab and snuggle up to a couch. And if one’s looking for an out, tea can easily be taken to go.

The cozy setting at Calabash Teahouse in Shaw.
Calabash [Facebook]

McClellan's Retreat

Dates can work up talking points based off the history behind McClellan’s Retreat.
McClellan’s Retreat [Facebook]

This tried-and-true meeting ground has become a word-of-mouth mecca for first dates. Some reasons why include the fact it’s very dark, the cocktails won’t break the bank, and food is minimal (so lingering isn’t likely). And it’s super central, so hopping to another Dupont bar is easy. Bloomingdale sister bar Truxton Inn is also another Tinder date magnet.

Dates can work up talking points based off the history behind McClellan’s Retreat.
McClellan’s Retreat [Facebook]

Ladurée - Georgetown

The interior of Ladurée Georgetown.
Ladurée in Georgetown.
Ladurée [official photo]

The Georgetown macaron maker transports guests to a romantic getaway in Paris and is impeccably dressed to impress a first date — especially now that champagne, wine, and cocktails are also in the mix.

The interior of Ladurée Georgetown.
Ladurée in Georgetown.
Ladurée [official photo]

Taco Bamba Lunch Counter

Grab-and-go guacamole at Taco Bamba.
Taco Bamba [Facebook]

“It’s just lunch” is a low-stress way to go about a first date, since “I gotta get back to work” is a valid out. That’s why Taco Bamba’s centrally located, lunch-only counter at Del Campo is a great bet.

Grab-and-go guacamole at Taco Bamba.
Taco Bamba [Facebook]

Dirty Habit

Dirty Habit DC bar
Dirty Habit’s plates are designed for sharing.
Dirty Habit [official]

A good place to start or end the night is this Kimpton hotel bar, where executive chef Kyoo Eom’s global plates can be shared during happy hour and late at night. And head bartender Sarah Ruiz’s got a lineup of communal cocktails served out of interesting conversation-sparking glassware. And if the date goes MIA for a while, don’t worry they left (the ornate bathroom is a top Instagram selfie spot).

Dirty Habit DC bar
Dirty Habit’s plates are designed for sharing.
Dirty Habit [official]

Whiskey Charlie

A cocktail at Whiskey Charlie.
Whiskey Charlie [official photo]

Before catching a show at The Anthem, make a night out of it by visiting this scenic spot beforehand. The Canopy hotel’s 10th floor bar features two areas to perch, from its intimate rooftop deck or indoor lounge.

A cocktail at Whiskey Charlie.
Whiskey Charlie [official photo]

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