A List of Date Spots I’ve Sent People on for #MeetMarket Dates
Before I run this list, a disclaimer for my long time readers:
I know I have been posting about job-related things a lot more recently, but I don’t want you to think this is what the blog is going to be about on a regular basis. I am just trying to flip the following I have here into a following over at the 9-to-5. After all, this blog is part of the reason I was hired to handle the blind date column at The New York Post.
Now that I got that out of the way, I want to share with everyone a comprehensive list of all the places where I’ve sent my dates for the column. As I have explained time and time again, these dates are all FREE. Most of them consist of a nice dinner, and of course, the participants are required to tip their service, but outside of that one expense, the meal and their drinks are on the house.
While the most challenging part of my job remains finding people to participate in Meet Market (you can sign up here or email me at email@example.com), the other challenge is figuring out where to send people.
Dinner is the quickest and easiest solution, because who doesn’t like free food? All I need to do is find a good restaurant that I think both people would enjoy. For those who have seen the questionnaire I give to each of the participants, there’s a couple of questions about their favorite food and food allergies, so I usually use those to help me get a better idea of where to send them. For instance, on the list there is a restaurant called Casa Nonna. That place was chosen because they have a gluten-free menu, and the woman who was going on the date was allergic to gluten. If people are vegetarians or don’t eat meat, I would never send them to a steakhouse either, so I have to pay attention.
Then there are a couple of activity dates, which are always my preference to set up. Whether it’s cocktails while learning how to paint at Paint Nite NYC or a Brooklyn Nets game, activity dates work well because they are a more casual way for two strangers to meet for the first time. Unfortunately, they’re not always as great of an idea in real life as they are in my head. The two people I set up on the cooking class date at Sur La Table loved their experience, but had to pay close attention during the class so they really weren’t able to get to know each other as much.
People always ask me if I’ve successfully made matches out of the dates I set up. Considering I started this job on June 4, 2012, of course there have been some people who went out on second and third dates, but that’s their call not mine. What I’m more concerned about is setting up two strangers to have a good night, to make some good memories for both of them. THAT is my, and I must say I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Here is the list of dates, in no particular order. For more information click on the name of each restaurant to be taken to their website. Also, for non-dinner dates, I’ve offered a description of the date.
Sugartooth Dessert Tour
The daters went on a tour of six different dessert places in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
Daters received a free, two-hour rock climbing lesson at this popular indoor rock climbing facility in BK. It’s worth noting, the last I heard, they were still dating and this date happened a couple months ago. Obviously rocks bring people together.
David Burke Kitchen
Yes, this is a restaurant, but it wasn’t dinner. The two met up for a brunch date. They ended up hanging out for close to four hours.
The Stand (Comedy Club)
One of NYC’s hot new comedy clubs, the daters were treated to an evening of food, drinks, and front row seats at a show that included Janeane Garofalo and Judah Friedlander of “30 Rock.”
Scratch DJ Academy and Vero
This was the first activity date I set up, a 45-minute DJ class at Scratch Academy (my Miami, Chicago and L.A. readers should check out their locations in your city) followed by dinner at the Midtown location of Vero.
Bowling broke the ice for these two daters, who met at the Union Square location. They also enjoyed appetizers, entrees, and two rounds of drinks on the house. If you’re in Cupertino, Miami, Orange County, or Bethesda, Maryland, consider the Bolwmor locations nearby for a date.
Smoke Jazz and Supper Club
Anyone who knows me, knows I love jazz, so I was really excited to send a guy who was a classical music musician and his date of choice to this Upper West Side haunt. I’ve been here a couple of myself, and it’s intimate, with the musicians on stage within arm reach of a couple of tables. The couple was treated to a great night, but the performances of course made it difficult for them to have a conversation. If you’ve gotten past the stage of a date where you two must get to know each other, go here. And if you’re still in that stage, sit at the bar with your date.
Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center
I loved this one. My daters were given the VIP treatment, where they were given a tour of the facilities, New Era hats to take home, and plush seating in the Calvin Klein Courtside Club.
Sur La Table
As I mentioned before, my daters enjoyed themselves, but as a first-time date spot between two people, it may be too advanced. The classes demand attention on the instructor, not each other. I suggest this for fourth or fifth date privileges.
AOA Bar and Grill
This was another cooking class, but the focus was on making pizza from scratch with AOA’s brick oven.
Paint Nite NYC
This one was recently voted by New York Magazine as the best date for friends. Held all throughout the city (they also them in Boston, by the way) at various bars, participants get to enjoy cocktails while they learn how to paint artwork they can keep by professional artists.
Oh, and one more thing: Thank you to all the publicists, managers, and owners who have so graciously hosted the dates and played crucial roles in making these experiences for everyone so memorable. I’m going to continue to add to this list as the dates keep on coming.
Again if you are interested or know someone who is interested in going out on a FREE blind date and you (or the friend/coworker/family member you’re referring) are over 21 and live in NYC, here’s what you do: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on that big yellow box on the right hand of this site that says “Meet Market” and fill out the information.
I should also mention, if you’re one of those folks who is really into fitness, and doesn’t mind a date that involves a little sweat, I have a couple of fitness related date experiences ready to use. So if that describes you, again, sign up!