Surprisingly, This Is The Most Popular Place For A First Date

Photographed By Tom Corbett.
First dates are often nerve-wracking, especially when they're the first time we lay eyes on a romantic prospect. We carefully select the venue, making sure it's reassuringly busy, but not so loud that conversation is difficult. It has to be charming, but not break-the-bank expensive. Finally, it has to offer an easy escape route, should one become necessary. So, which spots do Americans feel fit that bill? Dating app Clover parsed data from 200,000 users to create a list of the 30 most popular first-date destinations and found that the number-one location is — drumroll please — Starbucks. In the (misheard) words of Taylor Swift, maybe all those Starbucks lovers aren't so lonely after all. (No word on whether the chain's #racetogether campaign ensnared any would-be couples in date-derailing conversations.)

Women are more enthusiastic than men about meeting over a grande macchiato: 52% of women prefer to meet at a coffee shop on a first date, while 51% of men prefer to meet at a restaurant. A relatively slim 13% of women and 18% of men pinpoint a bar as the ideal first-date setting. Keep in mind that this survey only considered chains — Chipotle, Panera, The Cheesecake Factory, and Texas Roadhouse join Starbucks among the top five first-date locations. But, "fast-casual" appears to hold its own appeal: "We were surprised to see most people choosing to meet at coffee shops and casual restaurants for their first date,” Isaac Raichyk, Clover's CEO, observed. “We expected fine dining, bars and nightclubs to rank much higher, but clearly people want to meet in a relaxed environment." As for the differing preferences between men and women, Raichyk posits that women "prefer being able to screen dates quickly over coffee."

Of course, the locations in Clover's top 30 may not work their magic on everyone. Let's just say that there was no second date with the Tinder match who took me to Panera the first time we met. That may have had something to do with having to pay for my own lemonade, or maybe I'm just old-fashioned (which, incidentally, is exactly what I would have preferred to be drinking — count me among the 13% of women who like their first-date butterflies with a buzz). For the full story of who likes to screen their suitors where, check Clover's infographic below.
Image: Courtesy Of Clover.
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