First dates can be nerve-wracking; this is something we’ve all experienced. Under the pretense of a first date, your insecurities are magnified a hundred times. Suddenly you’re thinking about the way your hair looks, how you smell, if your jokes are actually funny, and most importantly, you become all too aware of that chunk of cilantro stuck in your teeth from the baja fish tacos you had for lunch. And to add to your worries, you have to decide on a spot that needs to be engaging, fun, and memorable for you both. The movies may be the first thing that comes to mind, but they’re not the best way to get to know each other. If you are in need of a little inspiration, here are a couple of places in Toronto that are perfect for a first night out.
Beer, snacks, and ping pong: three wonderful things on their own, a triumvirate of power when combined. This King St. West ping pong bar is sure to get your heart pumping. With a wide range of draughts and lots of tasty snacks to nibble on between rounds, its spacious room and multitude of tables makes for an exciting night. You probably won’t be playing like an Olympian, but you and your date will be having too much fun to care. Making conversation, especially smack talk, comes naturally between pinging and ponging. You may go in nervous, but you’ll find yourself forgetting all about your anxiety once the volleys start.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
As children, there were few things that were cooler than having a trampoline. Now that we’re a little older (and maybe more mature), bouncing around on a trampoline is a little less cool (not really). If you and your date aren’t afraid of a little sweat, then the thrill of bouncing around trampoline lined floors and walls makes this the perfect spot to shake off any first date jitters. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, you and your date can try out trampoline dodgeball, the massive foam pit, and a launch pad for NBA Jam style dunks. Just don’t drill your date in the face with a dodgeball.
Snakes and Lattes College
Ever since the first Snakes and Lattes opened in 2010, the city has been caught up in a love affair with board game cafes. Many like-minded businesses sprung up around downtown Toronto, but arguably no one does it better than the originator of the Toronto board game café scene. The second Snakes and Lattes is perfect for a fantastic post-dinner showdown, especially if you aren’t feeling up to physical activity after one too many orders of chicken chow mein from a nearby Chinatown joint. Occupying what was formerly Andy Poolhall, this well-lit and spacious café sports is a cornucopia of games to get your brains revving. And your choice of drink isn’t limited to lattes and cappuccinos; this location sports over a dozen draught beers, even more canned beers, and a cocktail and wine menu to help conversation flow in between games of Scrabble.
Real Escape Game
The wildly popular escape rooms that have taken East Asia by storm have found plenty of success in Toronto, but this may be the best of the bunch. With highly creative scenarios, you and your date will have your skills tested as costumed actors bear down on you. Time is of the essence, and what better way to test your compatibility than with a bit of pulse-pounding timed riddle solving? And the satisfaction of solving an escape room is best shared with others (i.e., your date).
Dundas Video is the smallest of all the locations mentioned above, and as a result it may also be the most low-key. Its menu of beer may be small, and some lights may need changing, but the real draw is the wide range of video game consoles littered around the bar, from Playstation and N64 and back, each attached to their own television monitor. Relationships are built on communication, and Dundas Video offers an unpretentious environment to see some sparks fly over a game of Mario Kart.