Love season’s fix – in case you somehow haven’t noticed it’s all heart-shaped inside everywhere from the corner gas station to the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Just like Santa Claus, Cupid comes out of hibernation early and early every year, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if you picked up a few Valentine’s Day-themed boxes of chocolates on the same day you grabbed your Thanksgiving turkey. But as anyone who shares a bed, living expenses, and garbage-taking duties with another human knows, love can’t happen without the help of greeting card companies and florists looking to make their yearly income in one month.
Of course, a memorable first date can make all the difference between happily ever after and happily ever after. So we turned to Daphney Poyser, matchmaker and CEO of Fern Connections, Date and Relationship Coach, and all-in-one Wing Woman for anyone looking for love in all the wrong places.
Poyser specializes in matching people who may have difficulty finding love in mainstream society because of their race or sexual orientation. However, although her focus is on the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies, her insights can help anyone with a pulse looking for someone to spend their life with.
“In my opinion, the new normal is open for people to set up a date with someone outside of their race, someone of the same gender, someone much younger or older, or even someone with different religious views and beliefs and backgrounds,” he says. “Whatever that is, it’s normal for a person, and we’re here to help create a new social norm for everyone to love anyone however they want.”
So if you’re looking for a fun place for a memorable first date — or 5,000 — Poyser gave us a list of eight favorite spots around Dallas-Fort Worth to get to know someone better. Because who knows, a night of ax thrusting might end with Cupid’s arrow through the heart, too.
Downtown Dallas Since it first opened the doors seven years ago, Café Momentum has been teaching on-the-job skills to young people ages 15-19 who have emerged from the criminal justice system. During a 12-month paid internship, they learn every aspect of the restaurant business, from cooking and other household duties to waiting tables and interacting with guests. The upscale menu features creatively crafted dishes such as braised rabbit noodles, coffee stir-fry steak and smoked fried chicken in a smart-casual setting in the heart of downtown. What does the matchmaker say: “This is dating with a purpose/cause and I love the whole concept of this restaurant.” How to book: Call 214-303-1234 or reserve a table through Resy.
east Dallas-Fort Worth; vine Pat Benatar sings about love being a battlefield, so why not embrace the concept and book a date night that revolves around a deadly weapon? Bad Ax has a nice beer and wine list to get conversation flowing freely and since they bring your own food you can always surprise your date with a nice little picnic of goodies to munch on between throws. At Corky’s, you can extend your date night with an escape room experience, time in the classic arcade, or a full meal of sandwiches, tacos, pizza, and share ads that make you more likely to touch your hands while reaching for that last fried piece. – Cheese bite. What does the matchmaker say: “This is still a fairly new idea of dating and a lot of fun. It’s very interactive and humiliating at the same time, allowing you to see how your date handles different situations. It also allows for some friendly competition.” How to book: Walk in or pre-book trails at Bad axe; Book in advance Corky’s Gaming Bistro.
Downtown Fort Worth Catch a classic movie (a rom-com perhaps for good measure) at the newest location at the Rooftop Cinema Club, located on the terrace in Worthington Rennaissance Fort Worth Hotel. Reserve an Adirondack chair for two, grab some cocktails and food before the show starts, then feed each other popcorn while Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock get into hijinx on the big screen. Best of all, shows after 4:30pm are 18+, so you don’t have to worry about crying babies spoiling the romantic atmosphere. And speaking of romantic vibes, if things really click, you’re just a short elevator ride away from a beautifully appointed hotel room. (You can even bet on a positive outcome by pre-booking a private room package, Cocktail and movie night—But you’ll probably want to wait a few dates before doing so.) What does the matchmaker say: “The outside deck is sensational and you have personal headphones, deck chairs, and great food and drinks.” How to book: Buy advance tickets online.
Plano chocolate. champagne. List names are full of double entenders. There’s no better first-date icebreaker than laughing while you consider whether to share treats including Peanut Butter Perversion, Missionary Crisp, or Caress My Carrot. Cocktails follow a similar fix with Love Potion 69, Minty Moaner and G-Spot among the tantalizing options, along with a nice list of also virgin options. What does the matchmaker say: “This is an exciting date idea and provides an option other than just going out to dinner.” How to book: Reserve a table via ZomatoBook.
Colony Once the necessary jokes involving balls and holes are gone, mini golf remains a top favorite for people of all ages. Plus, with indoor courses, mini golf becomes a year-round, all-weather option. The Buttery also has three bars on site and you can take your drinks with you from one hole to the next. And if all goes well, be sure to grab appetizers, pizza, and another round of drinks. What does the matchmaker say: “This is a fairly new setting and a great first date idea because it’s like throwing an ax, it’s both interactive and insulting, and it gives an insight into the personality of the person you’re with.” How to book: Book a tour online.
Fort Worth Museum District Gather after work on Fridays from 5-7pm to enjoy live music and discounted drinks at one of the most famous museums in Texas. Kimbell’s stays open until 8pm every Friday, too, so even if you spend the full 120 minutes of Happy Hour chatting to him, you’ll still have an hour to explore the gorgeous artwork – perhaps while holding hands. What does the matchmaker say: “This allows daters to spend their time viewing art while casually getting to know each other.” How to book: The Kimbell Collection is free for all and special exhibitions are $18 per non-member adult and can be purchased online.
multiple sites Whether boiling water is a challenge or you have mastered the art of culinary creativity during the long lockdown days of a pandemic, there is nothing like the bond that can develop (or melt quickly) between two people when learning to cook something new. Courses include Souffles, Steak and Lobster Dinner, Sushi & Sake Party, and Cobbles Cook Perfect for Dates lessons. Maybe you don’t destiny and skip the Night Up in Flames option. What does the matchmaker say: “This is a fun, entertaining, and interactive date that allows for creativity and great conversation. You can actually sit down and have dinner with your date afterwards.” How to book: Reserve your locations at your nearest supermarket online.
Plano Make a date with West Texas’ wild past by dining in a tent. Well, not an actual tent where you’re sitting on the ground, but a cozy booth inside an actual tent. Pour over a chef-curated appetizer platter of queso blanco, mini elk tacos, fried green tomatoes, and onion rings before diving into a huge tomahawk steak perfect for sharing, and a chipotle chocolate brownie for dessert. If all goes well, the tent is flung up for complete privacy—while fueling gossip for those seated nearby. What does the matchmaker say: “The tent concept allows for privacy in a unique setting and the food is great.” How to book: Book via The table is open.
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