Yes, we’re talking about blind dates here. But no one says that anymore, and in the age of swiping right and sliding into DMs, going on a date with someone you’ve never actually met before is no longer a novelty. It’s just called dating. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a right way to do it. You need places that are comfortable, with good (strong) drinks, and an easy out if things go awry. Also, good food if things go well. Here are 11 spots that get the job done.
The Edmon is a place that everybody forgets about. But this ground floor bar/restaurant inside the Hollywood Historic Hotel is a great spot to have a well-made cocktail and figure out how many of your date’s profile photos are actually retouched headshots. The big, art deco-designed space feels like you’re drinking in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mansion, and its quieter (but not dull) atmosphere will ensure you hear everything they have to say about why it’s so hard to break into voiceover.
Located in the heart of Playa Del Rey, The Tripel is one of our favorite restaurants on the Westside. The tiny beer and burger bar works for any situation, and that includes a date with a person who messaged you on LinkedIn. The place is small, with only five or so tables and a row of stools at the bar, but since you’re coming in midweek (no one gives up weekend real estate for a blind date), you should be able to find a seat. Their craft beer list is stocked, and if you do get hungry, the Tripel burger will ease the pain of him asking you to proofread his resume.
So far the only tangible common ground you and this person have is a love for queso, so you might as well lean into it. This casual Tex-Mex spot downtown has been around for a few years, but is still a great spot to grab some cocktails and eat the best queso in Los Angeles. The modern space gets crowded, so make a reservation. You don’t want to get stuck hovering around the bar with a guy who won’t stop combing his hair anyways. Order the off-menu puffy tacos as well.
You know damn well it’s a red flag that this person has their dog in all of their photos, but you don’t care. The dog is cute, and you want to meet it. Pull the “day dates are better than night dates” card, and meet them at The Morrison. The neighborhood restaurant and bar in Atwater Village has a great front patio, as well as an actual dog menu that involves bones being served on a silver platter. As for you and your date, the burger is the way to go. But who’s really your date here?
It’s unclear at this point whether this person wants to date you or work for your company or both. Petty Cash is the perfect place to find out the answer. The modern taqueria on Beverly doesn’t have the best Mexican food in town, but its colorful space and party-like atmosphere makes it an ideal place to go when you aren’t totally sure why the other person is even here. Focus on the ceviches, the spicy margarita, and their cauliflower nachos.
This person looks entirely different in every one of their profile photos, and you frankly have no idea which version is going to show up. Keep it to a Happy Hour. Like the one at Saint & Second in Long Beach. Located in Belmont Shore, Saint & Second’s Happy Hour runs weekdays from 3-6pm and with deals on beer, cocktails, and wine, along with a $12 charcuterie board you should get involved with. Skip the downstairs dining room and head to the second-floor patio instead, where a full food menu is also available in case you are into the version they showed up as.
Checker Hall is a massive restaurant/bar on the second floor of an old Masonic Lodge in Highland Park. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, we’ll make it quite clear - Checker Hall is fantastic. The crowd is local and probably listens to better music than you, the cocktails are tremendous (get the Carmen #Six), and there’s also a full Mediterranean-leaning food menu. Which is good news for you, because your date’s been in the bathroom for 20 minutes, and you wanted your own hummus appetizer anyways.
Accomplice is one of the more underrated bars on the Westside, and its Mar Vista location is an ideal middle ground when neither of you really want drive more than 15 minutes outside Venice and Santa Monica for this. The cocktails at this modern bar are great, and when you get hungry, you can order from Little Fatty, the solid Taiwanese spot next door. They’ll serve you right at the bar.
Is it weird taking someone you direct messaged on Instagram to a dive bar? Probably not any weirder than any other bar. But when you simply want to make things more comfortable, go to Crawfords. The tiny dive in Historic Filipino has been around for a few years, and has become one of the most reliable bars in the city. You always know what you’re going to get here - good beer, affordable prices, a few games of Buck Hunter in the corner, and a hot chicken sandwich you’re absolutely finishing in front of your date.
Plan + Check is one of LA’s ultimate first date spots, for several reasons - starting with the food. Their pickle plate gets you four different housemade pickles for $7, and if you’re looking for an ice breaker because the other person hasn’t talked yet, ordering a pickle plate out loud with confidence will likely do the trick. Also, they have one of our favorite burgers in the city. Couple that with good drinks and a modern space right on Ocean Avenue, and you’ll have a nice solo stroll down Palisades Park afterwards.