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News / Sex & Dating

The best places in Austin to decide whether you really like your Tinder date

Photograph: Courtesy Patika Sometimes a breakfast date is the best date.

Sometimes dating on Tinder is like watching the latest Transformers movie—there's a whole lot of adrenaline without any real substance. Even more confusing? Deciding where to meet your online interest? We've come up with a few spots to guarantee a good time—even if your date is as much of a train wreck as a Bachelor in Paradise reject. 

If you're having an identity crisis: When being yourself is too much pressure, woo your date with your own version of Batwoman, Captain America or Ms. Marvel at Hops and Heroes, a non-profit comic book store. Here you’ll find open mics, game nights and movie screenings while sipping on your favorite brew (it's currently BYOB, but they're in the process of getting a liquor license) in cosplay. 

If you're both, like, super low key: If Cheers and Spider House Ballroom got together, Mugshots would be its hipster baby. On a Friday night, you can find a mix of regulars and friendly bartenders who still believe in eye contact, and the cheap drinks, jukebox and large patio create an atmosphere where friends with sexual chemistry can hang without expectations. Equipped with a photo booth, Mugshots is perfect for taking those hesitant dating pics that you can crop each other out of later.

If you're one of those Crossfit people: For the active date, check out Austin Bouldering Project where you can rock climb without a rope or harness (if you think this is a metaphor for online dating, you’re not wrong). The climbs don’t go too high off the ground and the entire floor is a giant, squishy pad. Afterward, head over to Friends & Allies for an Urban Chicken Saison to cool off.

If you're both early risers: For the folks whose work remains their first love but are up for flirting with someone other than the receptionist, Patika opens early (7am). It serves locally sourced, wallet-friendly coffee, plus made-to-order breakfast essentials. Should love blossom over an egg sandwich and brunch somehow turns into lunch, Patika sells beer and wine, too.

If their Tinder profile only has one good photo: Peter Pan Mini-Golf's stadium-quality lighting hides nothing—you'll find out soon enough if their photo was an accurate representation or not. Plus, the course's popularity and BYOB policy offer fantastic people-watching should your date’s personality be grainier than their profile pic. 

If they have a ton of photos with their dog: For those who want to venture from home but need the support of man’s best friend, dog-friendly St Elmo Brewing Co. is the spot. Flights of beer at $12 for five will go down easy; come during the week for “Grassy Thursdays,” where you can catch free bluegrass shows. In the backyard, Soursop, a Southeast Asian food truck, serves jumbo chicken wings, so you can throw your date (and dog) a bone.  

If your friends are making you go on this date: So maybe it’s been a few months since your last date and your buds are hinting that it's time to get off the couch. No matter how "meh" you're feeling about meeting up with your match, Indian Roller won't let you down. Their large outdoor area comes with a rotating food truck and their drinks boast a heavy pour. The South Austin bar has live music every Saturday, and during the winter, fire pits help keep you cozy (or make you realize there’s more heat coming from the fire than your date). Communal board games are available should you desire an extra layer of protection against lulls in conversation. 

If they're hot but no Hemingway: Maybe your conversation thus far has felt like you’re dating Groot and you want to hang at a place where talking is minimal. The White Horse is the spot to bring this paramour. Come on Saturday nights and learn the Texas Two Step for free—the instructors from Two Left Foots guarantee that the only way you’ll look foolish is if you show up in a fedora.

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