Best Austin Date Night Guide: Restaurants, Bars, Activities

I’ve had my fare share of dates from dating apps which is unfortunate (?) or maybe exciting by the way you look at it. I’ve gotten to see my city through other people’s eyes which is super thrilling since I plan a lot for my friends.

Dating can be tough, but I think the most successful dates are those that entail a physical activity to get people moving and laughing instead of just staring at each other across the dinner or bar table like an interview. Although, dating is basically interviewing, here some fun dates I’ve experienced, and I’ve also included some fun bars/restaurant happy hours should you not want to do something as active.

  1. See Improv at ColdTowne Theater – Thursday nights are $8 tickets that you can purchase online in advance plus BYOB (don’t forget cups).
  2. Watch a Comedy Sketch at Fallout Comedy– The sketches here are planned and can have some eye rollers but it’s still fun! Also BYOB. $5 online/$7 at door.
  3. Play Ping Pong at Lou’s Bodega – Chill outdoor neighborhood corner spot with a full bar, rotisserie chicken, snacks, and plenty of ping pong tables to use for free!
  4. Dip into Barton Springs Late Night – The all-natural pool is free from 9 p.m.- 10 p.m. It’s a thrilling date idea when you think about being sober, in a swim suit, and freezing all at the same time. Seriously though, head earlier to catch the sunset and enjoy! 
  5. Mezcal Pours at Suerte – It’s fun to learn about booze together when you aren’t an expert. 50% off all night Monday or 25% off 3 ounce pours daily from 5-6 p.m.
  6. Jeffrey’s Monday Night Happy Hour – The fanciest institution in Clarksville that you’d never want to pay for a first date that could be a miss. However, go on Monday night with 1/2 off the whole bar menu for cocktails and good food in a sexy blue velvet room.
  7. Drinks at Hotel San José Lounge – It’s a nice cactus induced area that has live music, DJ’s, and local craft markets sporadically year round.
  8. Watertrade at The South Congress Hotel – Not many people know about this specialty Japanese Whiskey + Sake bar tucked upstairs next to Otoko. While it’s meant as a waiting area for guests dining in the omakase restaurant, it’s open to the public.
  9. Make Limoncello at Il Brutto– On Monday nights from 5-7 p.m., the bar crew teaches you how to peel lemons and make a batch of the boozy Italian drink. Then they call you in a couple months to pick up the finished product. This might be on hold from COVID, so check out Jazz on the patio every Thursday night instead from 7- 9 p.m. or check out their rotating martini specials Tuesday nights.
  10. Duck into Speakeasy, Milonga Room – Make that special someone feel swanky with a reservation at the speakeasy behind Buenos Aires Cafe where you need a code to get in.
  11. Dinner at Justine’s – Open late and has the best people watching. Split steak tartare or cured salmon at the bar.
  12. Hang at Domo Alley-Gato – I just love this courtyard bar next to Ramen Tatsuya with its Japanese lanterns, sake, highballs, and a curry food truck.
  13. Peter Pan Mini Golf – Open since 1948, this silly 18-hole golf park is a good way to create some movement and flirty touching if the feeling is there! Cash-only $7.
  14. Champong at The Four Seasons – If you bougie, this is obviously for you.
  15. Karaoke at Ego’s – I mean I definitely wouldn’t sing on the stage on a first date, but I’d happily giggle and swoon over all the good songs chosen in the audience!
  16. Dance to 80’s Band Spazmatics – This ridiculous group is one of my favorite past times from college and I’m shocked how packed Cedar Street bar is packed every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. when they perform. Hype up and drink my favorite espresso martini before at Truluck’s.
  17. Darts at Las Perlas – This game takes up a lot of time and can get competitive. The margaritas and Asador tacos make it even spicier!
  18. Tasting Room at Desert Door Sotol – Chances are you don’t drink sotol on the reg, so take your date out to the distillery to learn about this plant that creates a tequila-like finish and try something new! Open until 8 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m. Sunday.
  19. Jester King BreweryIt’s not that expensive of an Uber, and nice for a weekend date.
  20. Live music at Mohawk, C-Boys, ACL Live at The Moody Theater, ABGB – You don’t have to talk during an entire date, but if you live in Austin, you do have to enjoy going to shows and checking out some of the best music clubs in town. If tickets are sold out at ACL Live, just grab a pizza and hear some tunes at ABGB.
  21. Bluegrass Night at Radio Coffee and Beer – Seems casual to drink some post-work coffee (or a margarita) with food truck availability. You got this. Mondays from 7- 11 p.m.
  22. Free Admission to Blanton Museum of Art  every Thursday – The best art museum Austin has to offer. Open late until 9 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. Don’t miss Ellsworth Kelly and you can walk around the UT campus.
  23. Free Admission to Laguna Gloria Thursday (6-9 p.m.) – Walk around the 14-acre sculpture park up north and then grab a beer at cash-only Dry Creek.
  24. Hike Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve – It’s about a 2.5 mile hike and that actually ascends so you can see a pretty view of the hill country at the top. It’s a full circle and just on the other side of Mopac. If you have a dog, try Turtle Creek Trail.
  25. Austin Bouldering Project – So I haven’t been on a date here, but I love this place and think it would be fun to climb and then grab Austin East Siders tasting room next door.
  26. Donn’s Depot – An old Austin classic that everyone should experience, and if neither of you have ever been, you’ll have this memory forever watching the elders dance, boogie, and play.
  27. Shoot Pool at Deep Eddy Cabaret – Another Austin dive bar in Tarrytown you can’t miss. All characters and ages welcome. If you want more upscale cocktails, head downstairs to Pool Burger.
  28. Burgers and Martinis at Clark’s Oyster Bar Happy Hour – Monday – Friday 1/2 off burgers and $5 martinis. This is my favorite “high-end” burger in town.
  29. Nickel City – Lots of things happen at Nickel City. This is my favorite bar in town AND it has the best tater tots, aperol spritz on tap (with crushed ice), and frozen Irish coffee. Apparently all the dates I’ve gone on agree as I’ve been here many times and every time has been memorable: 1.) Ran into a co-worker who bought my date and I whiskey shots and forced us to drink them 2.) Ran into the same date while I was on another date 6 months later 3.) Held onto my dates golden retriever while he was in the bathroom and there was a line of people talking to me when he came back out 4.) Heck, I even spent New Year’s Eve here last year!
  30. @WhenWhereWhatAustin always posts free and updated ideas each day on their stories.