Being in a relationship is about balance, compromise, dramatic conversations in the rain, etc. But it all starts with mustering up the courage to ask someone out.

What if they say no? What if they secretly hate you? What if they say yes, but then the date sucks? Since we’re all about helping our fellow man, we present a strategic list of suggestions for where to bring your next-future-significant-other on an initial dining experience.

**Disclaimer: While maybe “dating” is on the decline (ugh Millennials), each date should really be about what that individual person is into. However, I’m confident that this list is applicable to the general student population. That being said, if your date goes horribly awry and you don’t get the in for date number two, please don’t send mean messages to my WashU email address; that’s just messed up.


photo by Libby Perold

First Coffee: Blueprint Coffee

Blueprint Coffee is right on the Loop and serves up delicious drinks everyday. The staff is comprised of coffee experts (some of the baristas have even performed in national competitions- it’s a thing).

The basic interior design will make you feel hip and calm, and will help you focus on the wonderful human sitting in front of you. Not to mention, Blueprint is ideal for a first date because it gives you options on how to proceed. If you find yourself thinking, “Wow, no wonder this kid goes to WashU; this is the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had. SOS,” Blueprint has such a limited food menu that it is easy to quickly toss back your drink and walk right back to Olin.

If, on the other hand, you are thinking, “Wow, no wonder this kid goes to WashU! He/She is so interesting, so cool, and looks like they model for Armour! Props to the WashU Admissions team!” it is possible to slowly drag out your drink, maybe even get a refill, all while feeling sophisticated. Bonus, Blueprint takes BearBucks.  Nothing like getting Mom and Dad to contribute to a date without the other party knowing.


photo by Sydney Davis

First Lunch: Kaldi’s

Kaldi’s is simple and not over the top. Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, and other café snacks, Kaldi’s will undoubtedly satisfy your lunchtime hanger.

Kaldi’s also has amazing drinks that are good any time of the year. Shout out to my roommate who told me to try the Almond Toddy! Kaldi’s is a great place to get to know another person over an easy meal, without investing too much of your time or money if it doesn’t work out in the end. It’s the perfect, fun break in an otherwise busy afternoon.


Photo by Nikki Freihofer

First Drinks: Schlafly Tap Room

Schlafly is unique to St. Louis and suggesting it will make you seem like an interesting, knowledgeable human in touch with the world around you. Because it’s somewhat off the beaten WashU path, it can help set you apart from the other eligible bachelors and bachelorettes vying for a crush party invite.

If you find the date easily sliding its way into dinner, Schlafly Tap Room boasts a full pub menu. But going to Schlafly isn’t just like going to any other bar. Schlafly offers seasonal beer flavors; it can be new and exciting every time you go if you find yourself constantly in need of a date spot, á la 50 First Dates.

Added benefit: Schlafly is close enough that if the evening errs on the boozier side, calling a cab is NBD. An alternative option (for you super picky craft beer drinkers) is Urban Chestnut Brewery on Manchester.


photo by Nikki Freihofer

First Dinner: Katie’s Pizza and Pasta

Everyone knows the classic Katie’s Pizza. It’s old news. Slightly less people know its variant, Katie’s Pizza and Pasta.

For some reason, the fact that dinner takes place in the evening makes it feel like a big move for a first date. But don’t let that stop you from doing you! Maybe just expand your radius a bit more than just the Loop. No one likes waking up to texts from the boy across the hall, that chick who sits next to you in Human Ev, and your designated Harry’s wingman that say, “OMG I HEARD FROM (insert generic name 1 here) THAT YOU WERE OUT TO DINNER WITH THAT KID YOU ALWAYS STARE AT!!! (insert generic name 2 here) SAW YOU TOO!! HOW WAS? ;)”

Luckily, Katie’s Pizza and Pasta is just far enough that you’ll only run into a fellow student once in a blue moon (#intimate). Also, as an American/Italian, not to mention fantastic, restaurant, even the pickiest of eaters can find something to order. Katie’s has a bar in house so there is no need to worry about bringing drinks if the night moves in that direction.

The restaurant is casual enough that you can absolutely get away with wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt, but is nice enough that if you look fly as hell in that new dress, you can wear it like the queen you are.


photo courtesy of Bailey’s Chocolate Bar

First Dessert: Bailey’s Chocolate Bar

Chocolate and good lighting. ‘Nuff said.


photo by Jennifer Karr

First Late-Night Netflix and Chill: John’s Donuts/Insomnia Cookies

Maybe you are the kind of person who feels the need to nosh while watching four to nine episodes of Parks and Rec. Or maybe you just worked up an appetite. Either way, both John’s Donuts and Insomnia offer sweet treats for those late night cravings. You can’t go wrong with either option.

However, if you’re looking for a way to low key drop the your date back off at their room, John’s Donuts requires you to already be in a car…. So…. You know…maybe it just makes sense to loop back?


Photo courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

First Morning After Brunch: Mudhouse/BD Brunch

Mudhouse is an all-star brunch spot on Cherokee Street. They offer variations on your classics in a fun, casual dining setting. It’s even better to go when the weather is nice and you can sit outside. Be sure to try the home fries; they are some top-notch breakfast spuds. Mudhouse is the perfect place to get a morning meal with a person you think you might like, aren’t quite sure, want to feel out, or just generally think is chill.

But, option two, if maybe you don’t want to ever interact with this person comfortably in a social setting again, go to BD for brunch buffet on a Sunday morning after your Saturday night out. Nothing says regret quite like three slices of breakfast pizza while you avoid eye contact! Bonus points if your RA spots you!