Sarah Been






Being a single, relatively attractive woman in New York, getting a date isn’t the most difficult thing to do. But getting the date is only half of the battle, when going on it can be the real chore.

There are so many factors that go into making a date a good one – the place, the person, etiquette, expectations – so why not help out my fellow Bushwick singles by offering my favorite date spaces and activities?



Find your fortune at Carmelo’s


With $6 mixed drinks, $2 beers, and a magic eight ball behind the bar, Carmelo’s is the perfect spot for those dating on a budget. It’s never overly crowded, which means getting your hands on that magic eight ball is almost guaranteed to happen, and it’s a surefire way to strike up some interesting conversations.

With a choice of bar seats, booths, or tables, Carmelo’s is a bring-your-own-food friendly space, so grab some grub and grab a seat! And if all else fails, head upstairs to the pool tables to “shoot your shot”.




Eat your heart out at Mesa Azteca


Ah, Mesa. Fabulous food? Check. Friendly service? Check. Kick-ass backyard with all the fixings? Check.

Mesa is one of my top choices when it comes to places and spaces for a summer date. For $27 you can get a pitcher filled with 10 (I’ve counted) glasses worth of margarita, and if you get thee on a Friday night, you’ll be lucky enough to see a live Mariachi band.

Just be careful where you sit, or you may end up with a trumpet in your ear much like I did one fateful evening. (Video available upon request)


Hear me out – one of my best dates took place at L Train. It was a rainy and cold day, there was a wait at Mominette, and I mentioned in a pre-date text that I needed a new jacket.

I’ll admit, when my date first suggested popping into L Train, I was skeptical. I’m a solo shopper, so the thought of picking through racks of clothing with someone, let alone someone I’d known for all of 15 minutes, made my skin crawl. But desperate to get out of the rain, I obliged.

Turns out, you can learn a lot about a person by playing dress up – their style, how silly they can be, what memories different pieces of clothing can evoke. Never in a million years did I think modeling a two-sizes-too-big brown and white faux fur sweater for someone would lead to a connection, but it did, and we ended up spending way more time together than we ever would have over an eggs benedict and OJ.

However, I still don’t have a jacket.




As a second date venue, Archie’s is pure gold. The staff is friendly, the food is good, and the service is quick so even a wait for a table or seat at the bar isn’t really a wait. The only time it gets backed up is when people order second slices and pies which, honestly, I don’t blame them for.

The only reason I wouldn’t necessarily go here for a first date is that it can get crowded, the seating is communal, and despite my self-assuredness, I still squirm at the thought of others listening in on all of the awkward first-date conversation.

Archie’s is also the place where a big pet peeve of mine was realized. Having arrived first, I threw down my card for the tab and we put everything on that. But my date thought best to close it out while I was in the bathroom. At first, I considered this thoughtful, but then realized he not only closed the tab, but he tipped and signed for it on my behalf. Ladies and gentlemen, I beg you, please don’t tip and sign for someone unless explicitly told to.

I’ve waited tables, I’ve worked customer service – I know what a good and fair tip is. What he decided to leave was well beyond generous, and while I fully believe in supporting our servers, I also believe in supporting myself, and that 50% tip was heavy. So do offer to grab the check, but don’t decide to sign on the line without the other’s input.


Listed previously as a spot to check out for Solo Dates Under $10, Syndicated is equally as great for dates of any level with a wide variety of crowd-pleasers always in the monthly lineup.

I took one suitor to a $4 midnight showing of Britney Spears’ film Crossroads, and I don’t think either of us expected the turnout let alone the experience. With a flowing supply of M&Ms and cocktails (courtesy of the attentive staff), we watched Britney realize she’s not yet a girl, not yet a woman alongside what felt like her biggest fans.

Do yourself a favor and grab a drink or two at the bar, mosey on into the theater, and get ready for a quality date (and film!) experience.


It’s nearly impossible to have a bad time when you walk into Dromedary. Every day holds something for everyone.

First date? Hit up Sunday brunch. Second date? Head on out to Tuesday tacos and trivia. Third date? Thursday night’s 50 cent wings and karaoke are sure to do the trick. Committed relationship in search of some spice? Mark the third Wednesday of every month as your dedicated Burlesque night.

With its never-ending stream of events (um, free tattoos?!) and drink specials (though I’m heavily committed to the Mt. Kilaua Colada), Dromedary has consistently become my fallback if not first choice for, both, date nights and nights out with friends.

And you might walk out with an inflatable flamingo.


Let the haters hate, but a simple walk around the park is all it takes sometimes. Grab a cup of coffee, a smoothie, or a snack and go do some laps.

A walk through any Bushwick park is a surefire way to find conversation starters and cut any awkwardness, and it’s also easy to either end or extend without any of the “let’s split the check and act like we’ll be in touch even though we’ll never speak again”.

My first date with Subway Man actually started this way – Sally Roots hadn’t opened yet, so we grabbed some coffee from Variety and found ourselves doing a few loops around Maria Hernandez. It was a good way to get a feel for each other and work up a pre-meal sweat because as luck would have it, we chose the one 95 degree September day to do this.

We got a lot of the formalities out of the way so that by the time we sat down to eat we had established a baseline of comfort with each other, and it made the meal way more enjoyable. Plus the endorphins didn’t hurt either.

There is no shortage of good, fun, enjoyable date spots in Bushwick, but these seven options have served me well in the past – they could do the same for you this season.

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