How To Have The Best Tinder Date Ever

Despite its original purpose, Tinder has surprisingly started to function as a legitimate way to find a date. Whether you’re the one doing the asking or the one being messaged, "Idk do u hve a place in mind?," it’s essential to suggest a spot that has the right ambience for your first meet up.

You don’t want to offer up somewhere that’s too noisy or too hard to find a place to sit, but you also can’t risk choosing somewhere basic. Fortunately, San Francisco provides a wide variety of hip, date night-worthy places to avoid this conundrum. From chill breweries to chocolate havens to bars strictly for nihilists, here are 19 rad places to take a future prospect.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bottom Of The Hill.
Bottom of the Hill

If you two initially connected over music, not only does this tiny, intimate venue give you the ability to watch local artists close-up, but a wall plastered with past performers features now-greats such as The Strokes, Modest Mouse, and Queens of the Stone Age, to name a few. If it ends up panning out, you two could potentially have seen a band "before they were famous" on your first date — not too shabby. And, with its $10 cover, the price can’t be beat, either.

Bottom of the Hill
, 1233 17th Street (between Mariposa and 17th streets); 415-626-4455.
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Farmer’s Market at Fort Mason

As a cute and less typical date, the Farmer’s Market at Fort Mason provides the perfect relaxed setting for that first awkward, IRL meeting. You can have a leisurely Sunday morning stroll through fresh goods and flowers, grab lunch at one of the food trucks, and catch a beautiful view of the Golden Gate in the background while you eat. If you’re feeling confident, you can use this occasion to gather ingredients to make an evening meal at your house or theirs.

Farmer's Market at Fort Mason
, Fort Mason at Marina Blvd; 925-465-4690.
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Photo: Courtesy of KALW/Louise Codd.
Duboce (Dog) Park

Did he or she have a puppy in their profile? Then this chill date idea will be an easy sell. Duboce Park is well-known among S.F. dog lovers as the place for pups to hang out. Grab some wine or beer to share, then settle in a corner of the park to fawn over other people’s dogs.

Duboce (Dog) Park, Duboce Street (between Scott and Steiner streets); 415-717-2872.
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Photo: Courtesy of KitTea.
KitTea Cafe

On the other end of the spectrum, this being S.F., there’s also a place for feline lovers to unite over their mutual interest in those other fuzzy four-legged creatures. The recently-opened KitTea Cafe will have cat fans delighting in (and definitely squealing over) roaming kitties throughout the venue. It also makes for an ideal date spot, as playing with the cats will offer an easy distraction if you’re feeling nervous, and you’ll be able to warm up to conversation over a cup of tea.

KitTea Cafe, 96 Gough Street (between Page and Rose streets); 415-658-7888.
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Photo: Courtesy of @saintfrankcoffee.
Saint Frank Coffee

Starbucks may be the number one first date spot in the country, but this isn't the case for S.F. We like our coffee fancy and our shops design-centric — hence, why spots like Saint Frank thrive here. But that’s not the reason why this cafe makes a fantastic first date. For coffee lovers, Saint Frank ups the ante by offering a set of experimental coffee concoctions, such as their orange julius latte and carbonated espresso (yes, you read that right). It also offers coffee flights — perfect to share and start the conversation.

Saint Frank Coffee
, 2340 Polk Street (between Union and Green streets); 415-775-1619.
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Off the Grid Twilight at the Presidio

Off the Grid has elevated the whole food truck experience to a full-blown date night-worthy event. Twilight at the Presidio, which takes place every Thursday evening, boasts enough food trucks to fulfill you and your date to your hearts’ content. The eats run the gamut of deliciousness from lobster rolls to bacon burritos. Cocktails are also available, and a stretch of grass with empty chairs placed around roaring fires and adorable little cabanas are prime places to eat, drink, chat, and get toasty.

Off the Grid Twilight at the Presidio, Main Post Lawn (between Montgomery Street and Anza Avenue); 415-339-5888.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ken Ken Ramen.
Ken Ken Ramen

If you’re going to do a ramen date, the vibe at Ken Ken Ramen is unbeatable. This cozy space features eye-catching floating paper lanterns lining the ceiling when you walk in, as well as a bar at the entrance to provide a first round of drinks while you wait for a table. And the special Tonkotsu ramen (the thickest and most delicious of the broths) is only served on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Ken Ken Ramen
, 3378 18th Street (between Mission and Capp streets); 415-967-2636.
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Photo: Courtesy of Smokestack At Magnolia Brewing.
Smokestack/Magnolia Brewery

In true S.F. fashion, this combination restaurant-brewery serves an upscale version of the beer-and-BBQ combo. With options of ribs and briskets on one side and selections on tap from local brew masters on the other, the new Smokestack/Magnolia Brewery will be a hit for any date that mentioned being both a carnivore and a beer drinker. You’ll get points for introducing your date to this modern, industrial-style space that’s a little off-the-beaten path, then get the chance to feast together.

Smokestack/Magnolia Brewery, 2505 3rd Street (between 22nd and 23rd streets); 415-864-7468.
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Photo: Courtesy of Crêpe La Vie.
Crêpe La Vie

This spot is hidden at the end of a little corridor of a small market of shops, but don’t let its unassuming placement fool you. There’s a cozy vibe to this creperie in the Haight run by real-deal French people, who serve a mix of unusual and classic crepes — from savory crepes featuring a wheat base to sweet ones with grand marnier and homemade Nutella. Perfect for a quick, casual Tinder date, featuring plenty of enticing options to try out and split.

Crêpe La Vie, 1727 Haight Street (between Shrader and Cole streets); 415-316-8647.
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Photo: Courtesy of @leysseric.
Alta Plaza Park

Alta Plaza Park qualifies as a good date spot for a few reasons. For starters, it gets significantly less traffic than somewhere like Dolores, yet still has a spectacular view of the city from a less familiar angle. It also has tons of benches scattered throughout to cozy up on, and a stunning view of the sunset that we might describe as, dare we say — romantic. Bring a blanket and BYOB, then snuggle up and watch as the city lights up.

Alta Plaza Park, 2700 Clay Street (between Scott and Steiner); 415-831-5500.
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Photo: Courtesy of The View.
The View

Speaking of spectacular views, we would be remiss not to mention this bar featuring panoramic ones of the city. Located atop a Marriott Hotel downtown, The View bar has that upscale, lounge-y vibe ideal for a post-work meet up. Get here early to snag a seat by the window, then impress the hell out of your date with the expansive city scenes.

The View, 39, 780 Mission Street (between 3rd and 4th streets); 415-896-1600.
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Photo: Courtesy of Southern Pacific Brewing.
Southern Pacific Brewing

For a date with a chill vibe, this laid-back brewery is a top choice. Located in a warehouse in the Mission, Southern Pacific features an excellent selection on tap and cocktails if your date is not particularly a beer drinker. Open seating and lots of space make for an easygoing, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for light conversation. Plus, their appetizer menu includes excellent, can’t-miss truffle fries to split.

Southern Pacific Brewing
, 620 Treat Avenue (between 19th and 20th streets); 415-341-0152
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Talk at City Lights

Literary types will be down for one of the regular talks by up-and-coming/controversial authors hosted at City Lights, the quintessential bookstore of the Beat generation. Browse through the different sections prior to the chat for instant conversation topics, then head outside to deconstruct over dinner afterward at one of the cozy Italian restaurants nearby.

Talk at City Lights
, 261 Columbus Ave (between Broadway and Kearny streets); 415-362-8193.
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Photo: Courtesy of @75centralphotography.
Hike to Coit Tower

It’s a famous fixture in the S.F. skyline, but most city dwellers have never actually hiked up to it. This one’s great for those who clearly seem very active in their profiles, as the trek is about a mile uphill. You can acknowledge that this suggestion may seem super tourist-y at first, then watch as they’re awestruck by a stunning view of the bridges and sea.

Coit Tower, 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard; (415) 249-0995.
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Photo: Courtesy of Foreign Cinema.
Foreign Cinema

Is your date a cinephile, quoting classic films in their profile? Say no more. Take them to beloved Mission spot Foreign Cinema, where movies are projected on the back wall of an outdoor patio and dinner is served under pretty rows of string lights. Order the oysters and/or fried chicken, then catch cinematic scenes.

Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission Street (between 21st and 22nd streets); 415-648-7600.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dandelion Chocolate.
Dandelion Chocolate

Any date who mentioned having a sweet tooth while you messaged will revel in the sugary flights of fancy served up here — such as the the frozen hot chocolate or the Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies. Pick and choose several to sample, then go to town and discuss tasting notes together (if you can pace yourself, that is).

Dandelion Chocolate
, 740 Valencia Street (between 18th and 19th streets); 415-349-0942
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Photo: Courtesy of Soda Popinski's.
Soda Popinski’s

If you and your date are nihilists that clearly matched due to cynical senses of humor in your profiles, rejoice! There is also an option for you two. Where else but at a Russian bar would you find a Wheel of Misfortunate? Laugh at each other’s misery as you land on any of the awful selections — a pickleback, a PBR, a cement mixer — and gloat when you manage to score the few coveted choices, such as a bottle of champagne. Then, head back to the N64 set up with Mario Cart for some drunk Tinder gaming.

Soda Popinski’s, 1548 California Street (between Polk and Larkin streets); 415-857-1548.
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NightLife at the California Academy of the Sciences

If you nerds had Bill Nye as a mutual interest, look no further. Every Thursday night, the Academy of the Sciences puts on an adults-only evening where cocktails are served and people dress fancy to get their science on. Hang out with the penguins or walk through the aquarium tunnel while sipping your drink, or head to one of the evening’s themed talks on a feature topic. There’ll be lots of great conversation starters and fun things to look at throughout the night, and it ends early enough to move on to local bars nearby.

NightLife at the California Academy of the Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive; (415) 379-8000.
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Photo: Courtesy of Allison Webber.
Smuggler’s Cove

If your date happened to quote Jack Sparrow or "liked" Dress like a Pirate Day, then they’ll fall hard for this little pirate-themed gem tucked behind an unassuming exterior. Featuring an extended menu of rum-based drinks, there’s lots of tropical fun to be had here. You two can sit by a waterfall and enjoy some of the most complicated libations you will ever witness being made.

Smuggler's Cove, 650 Gough Street (between McAllister and Fulton streets); 415-869-1900.