The right date venue can influence how the rest of your evening goes. It’s not really about the food — although a good menu does help — but how the ambience of the place helps make her feel at ease. And when she’s relaxed, the easier it is for the two of you to click. Here’s how to plan for that perfect night out.
First of all, do your homework. You could try your luck and hope there are seats available at the restaurant for you and your date, but that’s Murphy’s Law waiting to take effect. Book early so you won’t be disappointed, recommends Terence Tan, founder of online restaurant reservations website, Reservations.sg. If it’s a special date that you have in mind, you can even get the restaurant to help you out. "If it’s your date’s birthday, or it’s your anniversary, leave a comment to ask the restaurant manager to call you back so you can coordinate something special," he suggests.
Tip: Bring Her Somewhere You’re Familiar With
"We’re at our best when we’re comfortable," says Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Psy.D., author of Dating from the Inside Out. For your first date, she suggests going to a place you’ve been before, even if it was with other women. "Something as simple as a terrific burger place can still produce great energy," she assures. In a survey among 380 women, a casual bistro ranked higher than upscale dining when it came to picking their greatest date ever. Besides a fun and casual setting, a day at the beach also fared well. No-nos include lectures and mechanical bull rides.
"Most men don’t do this, but creating and repeating successful date templates is critical," says Eric Ivy, author of The Dating Matrix. Befriend the maitre d’s and bartenders at your favourite hangouts, he recommends. They can hook you up with prime tables and drinks to help you impress.
Just Started Dating
Tip: Switch Locations Half-way
You don’t have to stay at one place for the entire date. Here’s a piece of advice from Marty Savarick, author of 101 Ways to Stop Hating Dating, "Try changing locations midway through. It will energise the mood and create a sense of shared adventure." Set up locations so things flow from casual and fun to romantic and intimate, suggests Christian Hudson, creator of the dating Web site thesocialman.com. No need to mention the second spot when you set up the date — just have it in your back pocket should the situation arise.
Tan suggests warming her up with a fun and casual experience at The Merry Men’s Kitchen + Bar (82 Robertson Quay, #01-02 Robertson Blue) where they have live musical performances twice a week. "Ask for a table literally next to the river, turn both your chairs to face the water and enjoy," he suggests. If you’re hankering for more privacy, you can then invite her to head to Limoncello Pizza & Grill (95 Robertson Quay, #01-19/20 Rivergate) for a more romantic and intimate setting. "It’s located a walk down Robertson Quay away from the rest of the restaurants so it’s quieter and away from the buzz," Terence says.
Tip: Relive Your Best Ever Date
If you’ve been together longer than a year, orchestrate a best-date-ever redux. Bring her back to a location that was special in your relationship — the hangout you used to frequent as university students, perhaps — and order the same food and redo the photo-booth pictures.
Invoking nostalgia by revisiting experiences can create a positive mood and increase her feelings of being loved and protected, according to a study co-authored by Clay Routledge, Ph.D., a North Dakota State University psychologist. Pay attention to the details as physical cues can be just as powerful as emotional cues in reliving the dating memories she may have, such as your favourite table or that old jukebox.
Otherwise, if you’re seeking a romantic place with a view, Tan recommends checking out 1-Twentysix (902 East Coast Parkway, #01-26 Playground @ Big Splash). According to him, it gets the most number of reservation requests for anniversary celebrations on Reservations.sg. If you’re lucky enough with your seating, you’ll not only get to enjoy the sunset, but also the cool sea breeze, he says.