Houston Dating

February 1, 2004 by  
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Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

Tracy Boulware, Suzanne Layton, Chris Ware

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and, really, are we ever ready for it – the day or the devotion? While we are on the topic of love, spending time with a sweetie comes so quickly to mind. What do we enjoy together? What will make him/her feel special? It’s hard to get it right; just look at divorce rates and relationship therapists’ appointment books for a quick reminder. It doesn’t always work out, but who doesn’t want to put that little extra oomph into making it perfect – at least for a night? With such a diverse cultural community, so many job opportunities (at least before the shambles of Enron) and close to four million people in the Houston area, dating in Space City should be a breeze. When you add in the fact that Houston is home to some of the best dining, one of the largest cultural arts centers, a slew of museums and galleries and some pretty fantastic pro sports teams, options for dates in Bayou City abound.

Single City

Who doesn’t hate being single at Valentine’s Day? It’s such a commercially driven holiday, and it feels intended to make those that are alone feel more so. Valentine’s Day reminds parties-of-one that the only hope of getting your socks mixed with another’s is if you go to the laundromat. Which brings us to another question: “Where should I pop by if I am interested in meeting someone?” Isn’t that the answer that all singles are looking for.

1340 W. Gray, (713) 522-5152
Your everyday sports bar mixed with every bar game you could imagine seems to swell with ex-frat boys and girls-next-door. With ping-pong, pool, air hockey, trivia and fabulous pitcher prices, Tavern is a pretty happening little spot that rakes in the midtown/Montrose/downtown dwellers just out to have a little fun after work.

The Social
3730 Washington Ave., (713) 426-5585
A little more swank and a little more posh, yet trying a little harder as well, this South Beach (not the bar, but the Florida hot spot) transplant can fit the bill for the place to be and be seen. You’ll see some cooler clothes, rock-star hair and a bit of that you-should-know-who-I-am attitude, but you’ll also see some pretty people shuffled in with cool kids hanging out on the patio, enjoying Houston’s winter weather and drinking some great cocktails.

Red Door
2416 Brazos, (713) 526-8181
Midtown clubs are on the rise – thanks to the Post Properties and downtown reconstruction – and this is definitely one of the most happening. While it’s not set up for dancing, you can do almost anything you want here. It’s got a downtown/out-on-the-town feel, great view of the skyline, neat-o décor and people on the lookout.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City


First Date Definites

The first time you hang out it should be as casual as possible, and the spot you pick should be conducive to conversation. Picking a comfy spot can prove tricky because you want to impress your date with your superior knowledge of the city and in-the-know way of pulling things off. First dates equal first impressions, and you want them to be good, right?

Last Concert Café
1403 Nance, (713) 226-8563
If you can find a love, you can find this place – they are both a bit difficult, but worth the trouble. Hidden in the warehouse district, this fun spot’ll show your date you have a hippie’s soul. A tiny Mexican food place starts off your journey, but groovy music outside in the sand pit tops off the night. This is the kind of place where you kick off your shoes to hula-hoop, sit and chat while listening to some chill music and sip on super-strong frozen sangrias.

Onion Creek
3106 White Oak, (713) 880-0706
A great place for a day or night date, Onion Creek offers some scrumptious sandwiches, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Sitting outside or in, this place pulls a little Austin into the hang-out feel of the Heights – it’s the perfect combination for titillating conversations.

La Carafe
813 Congress, (713) 229-9399
They knew what they were doing more than a century ago when this future bar was first created. It’s got the ambiance of New Orleans, a juke box that?s killer, an intimate upstairs and wine and beer that can get the conversation flowing. La Carafe is a bit romantic in that historically Cool with a capital “C” kind of way.

The Whole Nine Yards
If your love is the kind that won’t fade, here’s an idea that will impress. Keeping that spark alive can be difficult when schedules and kids and everyday distractions keep lovin’ on the back burner. Communication strengthens the relationship, and thoughtful gestures are endearing; so, put some effort into making this special. Remember that love letters are delightful and can be a fabulous way to invite your lover to spend time with you.

St. Regis
1919 Briar Oaks, (713) 840-7600
Book a room at the St. Regis for an evening without kids, distractions or worries. Staying the night at such a posh place is an easy way to get away from it all without going out of town. Head to the intimate wine cellar dining room for a romantic interlude. Or simply order room service from the ever-amazing Toby Joseph at the Remington, and then unplug the phone and remember why you fell in love.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

In the Groove

OK, so you’ve been dating a little while, you know what each other’s jobs are, but you aren’t going to go naming your children together. Just remember, in the beginning there was attraction, now take a bite of that apple and see where it takes you.

Continental Club
3700 Main, (713) 529-9899
An Austin transplant (not that H-town isn’t cool enough, but if it ain’t broke -), this relaxed concert spot serves beer in the can, boasts shuffleboard and offers bingo with the El Orbits on Mondays. Pick out your favorite old-school, pearl-button western shirt and listen to some up-and-coming blues, country, rockabilly and rock. The back room has pool, a bar, Atari and a little less noise for talking.

The Dog Park
Buffalo Bayou at Waugh
A great way to see if you are compatible is to let your pups meet and see if they can get along. An afternoon at the dog park can be romantic in its own right. There are myriad doggies running amuck, forty Frisbees flying overhead and plenty of antics to get you both a-chuckle. Bring some sandwiches, a blanket and plenty of water, and get to know each other. And don’t commit the ultimate dog park faux “paw” and forget the baggies.

Mad Potter
1963 Gray, (713) 807-8900
They’re all over town, and there’s a reason for it. Combine your creativity with a gift for your date. Decorate anything you wish, a plate, mug, kitty bowl; and get to know each other over your artistic palettes. They say, “It’s the thought that counts,” and painting something for your lover is almost as cool as serenading him/her with an original song.

Dating 101

A primer for dating in the Bayou City

Tom Flynn, Susan Baldwin


Whether you’ve planned a morning date or last night’s events just extended until the morning, brunch is a real winner in the creative date realm. Brunch is also a great way to fit a date into busy schedules, and it can start a full day of togetherness off on the right foot.

250 W. 19th St., (713) 863-7500
Shade has a lovely, yummy, light brunch – as people discover it, they’ll fall in love with it. It’s new, which makes it cool, but the chef has transplanted from everyone’s favorite – Daily Review. The feel is quaint, in that relaxed Heights-y way that ensures days started off here end in happiness. If it really goes well, shop the 19th Street circuit for a couple hours.

Mockingbird Bistro & Wine Bar
1985 Welch, (713) 533-0200
The fried calamari here is superb – really, one of the best in town. Breakfast or lunch, brunch at Mockingbird is a perfect pick for a special date. The feel is a bit medieval, or is that the leftover feel of the building’s old inhabitant, Quasimodo? Richly pamper your love for a reasonable price here.

The double date can be a hard trick to pull off. You don’t want the girls chatting away while the boys watch sports on the tube, you don’t want uncomfortable silences, well, you don’t want a ton of things. What you do want is a fun, relaxing time had by all.

Alabama Ice House
1919 Alabama, (713) 528-6874
This is such a great place to spend the afternoon on a fabulous-weather day. It’s outside and can be a bit sweaty, but the glacial beer will melt away any anxieties, the horseshoes will get everyone involved and the people-watching is fantastic. Bring your dog on a leash and take up residence at one of the many picnic tables.

7620 I-10 West, (713) 263-0303
The whole place can seem a little daunting, but walk in the doors, take a left, go up the stairs and bowl to your heart’s content. The rock’n’bowl atmosphere here takes bowling up a few notches on the cool scale, and the food and beverage bar right behind the lanes will help to catapult it even higher. Bring your kids and let them run wild in the arcades while you bowl strikes with the other pair of ‘rents.

Frisbee Golf
Buffalo Bayou
Is anyone really good at this game? Frisbee golf is a great way to spend a laid-back day. Pack the car with a few of your favorite Frisbees, an ice chest and a blanket for the party. Buffalo Bayou has a Frisbee golf course, but just about any park can be converted into a course with a creative mind.


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