First-date ideas in the Washington area

(illustration by Monika Melnychuck)
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Friday, February 12, 2010

"For first dates, there are a couple of rules of thumb that I throw out there for folks: Because it's a first date and you don't really know each other, you want to not make it something that you're locked into that's too long. Keep it simple and easy. If you want to go to a coffeehouse where they have music, that's a great place; it's low-key, you can talk, it's usually not super loud. If the date's going great, it's easy when you're talking to say, 'Hey, want to go get something to eat?' or suggest a walk."

"One of the things I don't recommend for a first date? A movie. You're sitting there looking at a screen and not interacting with each other. And tons of people do that. Another thing: not a formal dinner. Never. Guys especially worry about doing the wrong thing, that they do something that's safe. And if they would just be a little creative, they'd probably get better results."

-- Toni Coleman, McLean-based relationship coach and founder of

TRY: Meet for a Sunday morning coffee date that may or may not stretch into breakfast. Try the cute Alexandria bakery and coffeshop Buzz, where waffles are served weekend mornings (901 Slaters Lane, 703-600-2899, or City Dock Cafe in Annapolis (18 Market Space, 410-269-09691, or

The Columbia Heights Historical Drinkabout, Washington Walks' historical tour-cum-bar-hop, is Saturday (weather permitting), led by Brian Kraft, the historian for the new Columbia Heights Trail. Explore a neighborhood together with built-in stops at new bars and restaurants. 2 to 5 p.m. Reservations required. E-mail info@washingtonwalks. $20 per person; beverages extra.

If you've known each other long enough to consider a Valentine's Day date, the Torpedo Factory hosts wine tastings Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Sample wines, cheeses and hors d'oeuvres. Third Floor Landing, Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. 703-838-4565. $5.

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