There are several bars in the greater New York area than I can’t go in anymore. In some cases, it’s court sanctioned. I’m prohibited from getting into details, but I will say that the law takes a far dimmer view of the Wet Willy than you might imagine. For the most part however, I’ve simply worn the bar out. When I find a place that fits my dating criteria, I tend to hit it up fairly often. And by fairly often, I mean constantly. Which can get awkward. The last time I went to my regular place they asked if I could grab the garbage on my way out. Didn’t seem right, you know? Buuuuut seriously people, the perfect Internet date bar can be hard to find, and if you make a mistake and pick the wrong spot, you can ruin an evening before it even starts. Here’s what you’re looking for.
1) No Live Music
Do you really want to say the words “…so, you grew up Harrisburg?” while some dick airs out his soulful acoustic cover of “Bad Romance” in the corner? No, you do not. Live music is loud, distracting, and frequently terrible, so avoid band bars at all costs. The same goes for intrusive jukeboxes. I went on a date once where their music rotation seemed stuck on “Jammin” by Bob Marley at a near-deafening volume. The resulting evening, I assure you, was far from jammin.
Do I have to say no karaoke? We’re all adults here. We know there’s no karaoke, right?!
2) Reasonable Prices
And now is the moment when every woman in the world sighs and gives me the “see, THIS is why you are single” look. But when I was going on several dates a week, always obeying my two drink rule, I often found myself dropping over $100 a week on drinks. I always pay on the first date, unless things go preposterously badly (like, say, she’s a big fan of Bob Marley’s “Jammin”), and that can get pricey fast. A place with a happy hour or great draft beers is a good choice, or somewhere that makes it illegal for people to order top shelf Long Island Iced Teas. Yes, that happened. Do you still need to ask?
3) Easily Accessible
Wait, maybe this is the moment where you look at me and say this is why I am single? Look, the vast majority of Internet dates stink. Would you rather end one and say, “well, at least I’ll be home in 20 minutes,” or do you prefer “I transferred to three different trains for that bullshit?” You tell me.
4) Unattractive Staff
One of my favorite former bars had weirdly hot waitresses. Not at all my type, but each one seemed to be skinnier, bustier, and with more died Russian blonde hair than the next. They looked like the sort of women that would be freed from the back of a shipping container in the first five minutes of Law & Order. But talking/relating/thinking did not seem to be their strong suit, so they did little for me.
I noticed after a while however that most of my dates remarked snidely on their appearance. “Right, like those are real” was common, as was a “I think she’s high” now and again. And frankly, I don’t blame my dates one bit. Men who are handsome in a clichéd way annoy me too (eat it, Brad Pitt!), but I found over time that my dates seemed to be judging me for picking a place with such a staff. Apparently you can’t really go to a bar with exclusively hot waitresses and not have your date eventually wonder if you’re just there for the eye candy. And saying “no, I’m here because it’s close to the subway!” isn’t much of a defense.
4) The Bar Does Not Have a Day of the Week in its Name
Ruby Tuesday’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Throw Up All Over the Place Wednesday’s – none of these establishments are acceptable. In fact, if the bar is a member of a chain or serves anything in mudslide form – I’d look elsewhere.
5) Forgetful Staff
Here’s what you don’t want to happen: a waiter walks up and asks what your date would like to drink. She orders a glass of wine, and before you can speak he says, “Oh, don’t worry. I got you.” Then he turns to your date and says, “He’s here all the time.” It’s tough to explain that one, even though being really motivated to find a great girl is entirely justifiable in my book. If you date often, you are a cad.
Nor do you particularly want that same waiter to walk up to you later, while your date is in the bathroom, and say “so, what do you think of this one? Is she a keeper?” Even if you are not, plainly, an aforementioned cad, you’re going to feel like one. It’s just kinda embarrassing. Being remembered at your neighborhood spot is great, at your go-to date bar is not.
I would actually be highly amused by a restaurant full of women who came off of container ships … although I understand your point. Move that to date 3 or 4 to see if she’s long term material :)
THIS is an awesome post. you had me at wet willy (which i am reminded by my brother NOT to teach my niece and nephew about wet willy … ha!). love(!) this post – cheeky, informative, and fun perspective all around.
so here is something i have done (on more than one occasion) – i’d go on some dates (usually by date #2 or #3) to a restaurant where my gay-gal-pal buddy, todd, worked as a server (and/or occasional bartender), somewhat reasonably priced, some eye-candy for gay guys (i used to live near the hillcrest area of san diego), and fits all your other rules. why to todd’s place? so i could streamline telling todd how my date went. in other words, todd kinda-sorta went on the date with me, right?! AND a gal definitely can benefit from the snark and love of her gal pal, right?! he (and i) nearly doubled-over, peeing in our pants when “linen, salmon-colored suit man in huaraches” walked through the door. streamlined THAT story in an instant.
by the way, i was roped into trying the “it’s just lunch” dating service, where they choose the venue – and do the matchmaking. (don’t get me started!) at least i wrote a fun little, fiction(ish) short story called it’s just a numbers game and amused myself. wonder what IJL’s criteria is for selecting venues? ‘cuz i knows they gots no real criteria for choosing dates.
Hmmm, bringing your dates to a bar your pal works in might make it more fun for you, but I doubt your dates enjoy it very much. People have a way of knowing they’re being observed…
And how comfortable and relaxed can you be knowing your friend is watching every move. I know I prefer to handle Internet dates all alone.
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