13 Ways To Have The Perfect First Date In L.A.

Let's be honest: A first date has the potential to be more uncomfortable than a bikini wax. In fact, you’ve probably had less awkward conversations while splayed out naked in front of a stranger than you've had on certain dates. But we all keep doing it, because there's always the chance that the next date will be one of the good ones. Luckily, those odds get exponentially better when you set the tone of the date correctly by choosing the best possible spot.

What exactly is the perfect first-date spot? One that, like the date itself, has the potential to lead somewhere. For example, drinks that might turn into a walk on the beach, or a late lunch that gives way to browsing museum galleries. After all, you want options when the night is going well, but you still want to start somewhere that permits a speedy exit, should you need to escape.

Not to worry, because we're here to help. We’ve searched high and low for lucky meeting spots. Ahead, 13 of the best date locations that make it easy to keep your blossoming romance, and the night, alive. Plus, since we’ve done the heavy lifting, we’re leaving you time to worry about everything else: Like what on Earth are you going to wear?
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Photo: Courtesy of Katie Boink Photography/The Normandie Club.
The Normandie Club
The Normandie Club in Koreatown is dark, stylish, and feels like a true neighborhood haunt, making it a relaxed atmosphere to have a first date in. Plus, they serve a stiff drink. (Goodbye, nerves!)

Going well? Plan in advance and you can impress your date by taking them to The Walker Inn, a secret bar that is only accessible through the back of The Normandie Club (you'll need a reservation).

The Normandie Club, 3612 West 6th Street (at South Normandie Avenue); 213-263-2709.
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Photo: Courtesy of Blue Plate Oysterette.
Blue Plate Oysterette
It’s no secret that oysters are said to be an aphrodisiac, but even the lobster roll at Blue Plate in Santa Monica will get the blood flowing (it's that good). We suggest you order a glass of muscadet and sit on the patio at this Cape Cod-inspired resto to people-watch and chat.

Going well? Grab some cash and hit up Sea Mist Rentals at the pier for a $7/hour bike rental.

Blue Plate Oysterette, 1355 Ocean Avenue (at Santa Monica Boulevard); 310-576-3474.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Springs.
The Springs
If you and your date share a love of all things healthy (this is L.A., after all), The Springs in Downtown L.A.’s Arts District offers up more than you could possibly want. Meet for a juice in the beautifully lit space to see whether you're green- or fruit-juice people.

Going well? Kick off your shoes and wander into their yoga studio. Drop-in classes are only $15, and we hear that the couple that sweats together stays together.

The Springs, 608 Mateo Street (near East 6th Street); 213-223-6226.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Pie Hole.
The Pie Hole
Sure, coffee is nice, but why not meet for espresso with a slice of pie on the side? It's oh-so-fast and just the right amount of quirky for a first date that stands out. Whether you're into sweet, savory, or a little bit of both, The Pie Hole in Downtown Los Angeles is perhaps the best place to indulge with a date.

Going well? Walk off your dessert by heading down the street to the Angel City Brewery to grab a beer and continue your convo.

The Pie Hole; multiple locations.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Line.
Commissary At The Line Hotel
The Commissary at The Line Hotel in Koreatown looks like a dreamy greenhouse, and, with a menu that’s as diverse as the 'hood, it's just as exciting. Bond over trying something off the beaten path, or just have a coffee or cocktail.

Going well? You don't even have to leave the hotel to change locations. The pool deck features resident DJs every Monday night (L.A. band Superhumanoids are up for June). Or go to Breakroom 86 for an '80s-themed dance party.

Commissary at The Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Boulevard (near South Normandie); 213-368-3030.
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Photo: Courtesy of Neptune's Net.
Neptune’s Net
This quintessential spot on PCH in Malibu has been a favorite of bikers and surfers for over 50 years. That’s what we call commitment. (Here’s hoping that your first date leads to a relationship that lasts just as long.) Our tip: Order a beer and something fried, then sit outside.

Going well? If you and your new babe are getting along better than fish and chips, head across the road to Zuma Beach and watch the surf.

Neptune's Net, 42505 Pacific Coast Highway (near Yerba Buena Road); 310-457-3095.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Hammer.
Ammo At The Hammer
Slightly off the radar, with a cool-slash-nerdy factor, Ammo at The Hammer is perfect if you want to keep your date in the daylight. Expect dishes like olive oil-fried eggs with chickpeas. And don't worry, they serve liquid courage in the form of mimosas.

Going well? Top off a delicious meal — and, with any luck, stimulating conversation — with a walk upstairs to the free galleries. All The Hammer requires for entrance is a zip code, which is a sneakier way of finding out where your date lives than asking what part of town they’re from.

Ammo at The Hammer, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard (at Westwood Boulevard); 310-443-7037.
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Photo: Courtesy of Night + Market Song.
Night + Market Song
If you’re looking for something spicy, the sister restaurant to West Hollywood establishment Talesai is your best bet. The Thai-fusion eats are delicious enough to fill the entire meal with conversation about the flavors alone.

Going well? Venture down the block to Cliff’s Edge and grab a persimmon margarita. Here’s to Thai-ing the knot. (One day, far, far in the future.)

Night + Market Song, 3322 Sunset Boulevard (near Micheltorena Street); 323-849-0223.
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Photo: Courtesy of Covell.
Los Feliz establishment Covell is intimate without being intimidating. And with 150 wines by the glass, there’s enough vino to calm your jitters — and plenty of knowledgable bartenders to help you pick one. (Read: No wine knowledge needed!)

Going well? Stay for the cheese plate and keep the convo going. Going really well? Covell is under a boutique hotel by the same name, so you can slip through the “secret” bookshelf doors in the back and check in for a first-date staycation. (Hey, we told you we'd give you tons of options, right!?)

Covell, 4628 Hollywood Boulevard (near North Vermont Avenue); 323-660-4400.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little Beast.
Little Beast
Don’t let the name fool you: This restaurant is a shining gem in Eagle Rock. It’s low-key and slightly romantic, plus the eclectic crowd will make you feel at ease. They also have an affordable happy hour. Sit inside for a dimmer, more intimate experience, or ask to be placed on the back patio for a livelier vibe.

Going well? Take an Uber to York Boulevard, grab a drink at Johnny’s Bar, and play a round of darts.

Little Beast, 1496 Colorado Boulevard (near Loleta Avenue); 323-341-5899.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pins and Needles.
Pins And Needles
Pop quiz: What loosens you up during a date even more than a cocktail? Playing games, which leads to laughing, which leads to fun. Which is why Pins and Needles in Echo Park is a perfect date spot. Expect both new and vintage pinball games to get your game on. Plus, it's BYOB. So pack a spiked-punch picnic and praise Pac-Man.

Going well? Rest your sore thumbs at El Prado wine bar, a few blocks up on Sunset, for snacks and a cold beer.

Pins and Needles, 1623 Allesandro Street (near North Glendale Boulevard); 323-313-9449.
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Photo: Courtesy of El Condór.
El Cóndor
We admit that tequila is a bit of a risk on a first date. It can lead to either a rowdy good time and late-night dancing, or a lonely cab ride home feeling all the feelings. If you’re up for the challenge, meet for a margarita at El Cóndor. This Mexican restaurant has low ceilings and a chill vibe.

Going well? Order tacos and another margarita for good measure, then walk over to 4100 Bar to get wild.

El Cóndor, 3701 Sunset Boulevard (near Edgecliff Drive); 323-660-4500.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Tasting Kitchen.
The Tasting Kitchen
Since a first date is a little taste of someone’s personality, The Tasting Kitchen on Abbott Kinney in Venice is a great spot to test out the Cupid vibes. (Here's hoping your date is as exciting as the diverse menu!)

Going well? Not only is it a beautiful spot for dinner, but if all goes as planned, you can walk to the beach afterwards and wave hello to the ocean.

The Tasting Kitchen, 1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (near South Venice Boulevard); 310-392-6644.

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