It’s Friday morning and you’re panicking. You’ve organised a date for the weekend and you have no idea where to take them! What was that bar on Queen Street that your friend recommended two weeks ago? Did your date’s Tinder profile say they were fans of long walks or long movies? Stop frantically Google searching on the office computer, because we’ve got you covered. Here’s our top list of date spots around Edinburgh for people of all tastes. Oh, and if Susan in accounting is still bugging you about doing personal research in work hours, tell her to shove it. You’re going to ace this date.
Unless you’re a student, it's likely that you’ll be working during the day on Friday. So we’ve decided to start our guide from Friday evening. But by all means, if you can, get into those afternoon drinks early.
Relive your childhood at Fireside’s Free Arcade Friday
Fireside popped up in The Arches on East Market Street late last year and proved to be a massive hit! The unique location, combined with the range of fun events that they host and variety of quality food and drink, always makes for a fun time. Free Arcade Friday kicks off at 3 pm and includes your favourite old school games, including Donkey Kong, PinBall, Air Hockey and Table Tennis. So grab a bite of street food, a pint from the bar, and go relive your childhood (but remember to reign in that competitive streak, unless your date is an equal match!).
Enjoy a Beer and Bourbon at Lucky Liquor
Lucky Liquor is a fine establishment on Queen Street where you can enjoy a schooner of beer and a shot of bourbon for just five quid. It’s a ludicrous deal that isn’t widely known about but should be. Now we’re not saying that you want to set up a cheap date, but if you go in there with twenty pounds, you and your beau will come out several standard drinks happier. It’s also one of the rare places in Edinburgh where you can drink while you enjoy a game of pool. Disclaimer: not advised for light-weights.
Ahh Saturday, that sweet spot of the weekend, where you’re not yet dreading Monday’s looming shadow. Whether your date likes being active, chilling out, or is a total foodie, you're sure to find a few ideal Saturday activities on this list.
Wander around Dr Neil’s Secret Garden
Look, it’s safe to say that Dr Neil’s Secret Garden isn’t so secret anymore. But it’s still a romantic spot away from the typical tourist bustle of Old Town. Situated in Duddington, the garden is peaceful and particularly beautiful in Spring. Wind your way through the magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas, take a seat on a secluded bench and maybe even risk a little smooch. Just make sure your date doesn’t suffer from allergies such as hayfever when visiting in Spring, as that could be a REAL downer.
Walk up Calton Hill
Calton Hill is the perfect way to suss out whether your date really meant that they like long walks and the outdoors, without taking it too far (Arthur’s Seat). Plus the view at the top is always rewarding, and a little bit romantic. We don’t think it’d be too much for you to slip an arm around the waist or shoulders while gazing over Edinburgh in the late afternoon light. If it isn’t too windy, pack a picnic basket or show off how good you are at setting up the perfect Instagram snap - a quality revered in any potential partner!
Indulge in Mary’s Milk Bar
Mary’s Milk Bar has a cult following for a very good reason. It’s bloody delicious. The ice-cream is made fresh each morning and flavours change regularly so you’re always in for a treat! If it’s a bit too chilly for an ice-cream, you can grab a decadent chocolate float instead, or take away a box of hand-crafted chocolates for a cute picnic in Princes Street Gardens. Mary’s can get super busy so it’s best to get in early so you have more variety of flavours to choose from - the perfect reward after a morning walk up Calton Hill!
Lapse into a food coma at The Pitt Street Market
If your date is a fan of street food, this is the place to be. The Pitt is renowned for a wide variety of eats on offer, as well as a bar and live music. There’s craft beer, cocktails, wine, noodles, chips, roasted meat and more. It’s open until 10 pm and you can even bring your dog! Looking for something oddly specific to satiate your hunger, such as Korean-Mexican-Chinese fusion? You know it’s at The Pitt.
Get snuggly at Dominion Cinema 1st Class
Dominion Cinema in Morningside is a film buff’s paradise. It was built in the late 1930s and maintains its gorgeous original Art Deco style. Its first class screen is the ultimate in cinematic luxury. Book a double seat, reclining sofa for you and your date, and have your food and drink delivered directly to you. Get cuddly and enjoy a champagne or two while you watch the movie. It’s the ultimate date for homebodies, outside of a home.
Sundays are for spending as much time relaxing as possible. Take your date to one of these super chilled places, so that you can both take it easy, easy like a Sunday morning.
Peruse Stockbridge Market
Start your day right by meandering down to Stockbridge Market from 10 am on Sunday morning. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee and eat a pastry from a paper bag while you take your time wandering around the stalls. There’s always a great selection of handmade wares and fresh food. Pick up a few homemade goodies for meals throughout the week or simply appreciate the finely crafted products.
Get silly over brunch at Roseleaf
Roseleaf is a lovely, eclectic and welcoming venue in Leith. Everything is cooked with care and from scratch, including an assorted of sweet cakes and pastries. If you book a high tea (and we recommend that you book ahead as the venue is small and popular!) you can even try on an assortment of Mad Hatter’s hats after getting giggly over a pot-tail (that's a cocktail, in a teapot). If you’re after a delicious brunch and a lighthearted time, take your date to this little gem.
Be a hot sauce fiend at El Cartel
El Cartel is possibly the best authentic Mexican street food in Edinburgh. The vibe is casual and the food is bang-on delicious! This exclusive little restaurant on Thistle Street can be difficult to get a table at, however, so you need to pick your timing wisely. They don’t take reservations, so we recommend having dinner a bit earlier than usual to beat the crowd, and then hanging around for a few frozen margaritas. If you’re dreaming of a relaxed Sunday afternoon/evening, filled with soft, spicy tacos, snacks with a definite kick and a crazy variety of Mexican drinks, finish your weekend right at El Cartel.
Please note: as it’s the Easter long weekend, be sure to check opening hours for each venue ahead of time to prevent a date disaster!
Need help to look as sharp as possible on your date? Drop into Quarters and we’ll sort out your hair, your clothes and maybe even a sneaky little gift for your significant other.
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