10 places to have an amazing Tinder date in Atlanta

Tinder makes it easy to find people to date, whether you're an Atlanta local right-swiping from your apartment in Grant Park or a traveler navigating the app (and Atlanta's dating scene) from your hotel downtown. But the app doesn't make it easy to figure out where you should go with a date once you've connected with somebody. The question isn't made any easier to answer by Tinder users' mixed expectations.

Some people are on the app just to find someone to hook up with (and to get some validation of their attractiveness). Others are looking for a casual relationship. Still others are secretly -- or not so secretly -- hoping to find their future soul mate or spouse. You may or may not match with someone whose intentions match yours. So where should you meet a Tinder date? Somewhere you can talk and learn a little bit more about this person before you decide to take things further.

Many people recommend meeting a Tinder date for coffee. That way, if you aren't a good match, you can suffer through your macchiato and go your separate ways. But if you and your date have exchanged a lot of messages? Maybe you're confident that you'll hit it off. That's when you can look beyond Atlanta's best coffee shops. We promise that at least one of these awesome Atlanta sites -- including a few coffee shops -- will be perfect for your first date. Just make sure you have an escape plan lined up in case things go south.


Consider yourself old-fashioned? (At least among the Tinder crowd?) Then why not go for dinner and movie, but cut the potential for Tinder-related awkwardness by doing both at once? CinéBistro in Brookhaven enables you to dine and drink right in the movie theatre. There's a full menu, an extensive wine list, and an array of premium cocktails. Plus, you'll be seated in luxe leather chairs -- so much better than shifting uncomfortably in that scratchy, sticky chair at your local Regal.

Joystick Gamebar
Young couple playing slot machines at the Casinosanjeri via Getty Images

Do you and your Tinder date have a mutual love of retro video games? Then you absolutely have to go to Joystick Gamebar. Located on the Edgewood corridor downtown Atlanta, this spot is the perfect combination of a bar and an arcade. You can play arcade games and pinball machines from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Think Donkey Kong, Galaga, Mortal Kombat, and Ms. Pacman. If the date doesn't go well, at least you'll be able to drown your sorrows in beer. And video games. When has that ever turned out badly?

Little Trouble

This westside bar offers a futuristic vibe and a menu inspired by Asian street food. This is no coffee shop, but if you're willing to go out on a limb when planning your Tinder date, you won't be disappointed by Little Trouble's strong drinks and neon-tinged ambience. It's a great place to make sure that you and your date can get something to eat and something to drink -- without the commitment of a sit-down dinner or the bright lighting of a wholesome coffee shop.

The Marlay House

Prefer Decatur to downtown, and beer to cocktails? You can't go wrong with The Marlay House, which promises "a bit of Dublin in Decatur." This Irish pub has an impressive menu, with seasonal weekly specials and a full brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. But if you're just testing the waters with your Tinder date, it's the perfect meeting place to find a new favorite from 20 different beer lines. The Marlay offers American, international, and seasonal beers, and its lineup changes regularly. Perhaps a little like your list of Tinder matches.

The Mercury
Warm Morning Sunlight Highlights These Beautifully Classic Diner SeatsRicardo Reitmeyer

Taking a date to Ponce City Market is always a great idea. The development is a hotspot for visitors and Atlanta locals alike. And Ponce doesn't get much better than The Mercury. You might know it best as a 1960s-inspired, cocktail-focused eatery. And you've probably considered, at least once, heading up to Ponce's second floor to grab a drink or a dessert there. However, the restaurant also offers a brunch menu that's perfect if you want a lower-stakes date earlier in the day. But a word of advice: think carefully before ordering those bottomless Bloody Marys or Mimosas. First impressions, and all.

Octane Coffee

Conventional wisdom has it that a coffee shop is the perfect place for a Tinder date. You can follow that advice or flout it by heading to Octane Coffee. If you head to the Westside location -- which is roomier than the Grant Park shop -- you can order coffee and espresso drinks during the day. Or, opt for a different kind of liquid courage and go for cocktails or craft beers in the evening. Plus, you can choose among desserts, breakfast, and lunch foods that are all made in-house, and perfect whatever you're drinking.

The Painted Pin

Let's be clear. Not every date would appreciate the idea of meeting at a bowling alley. (Particularly the smoky, smelly kind with sticky floors.) But The Painted Pin is nothing like those bowling alleys. If your date is up for it, you can meet at this Buckhead venue to enjoy vintage bowling lanes, delicious food, and craft cocktails. If there's a wait to bowl, you can play ping pong, bocce ball, shuffleboard, or skee ball. Worst-case scenario? You play one game and part ways. Best-case scenario? You get along great and have plenty of entertainment options.

Skyline Park
Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta at nightRobHainer via Getty Images

Whether you're just visiting Atlanta or live in the city full-time, you've undoubtedly visited, or at least heard of, Ponce City Market. But have you heard that on the roof of the building, above all the stores and restaurants and apartments, there's a mini carnival waiting for you? To enjoy a clear night and spectacular views of the city, head to Skyline Park. There, you can play carnival games or mini golf, ride the slide or Heege Tower, and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Our advice? If Skyline Park doesn't put a smile on your date's face, run the other way.

Spiller Park Coffee

Want to hedge your bets with a coffee shop, but still head to one of the most fun developments in Atlanta? Try Spiller Park Coffee. This Ponce City Market coffee shop came about through a collaboration between Hugh Acheson and Dale Donchey, which means that you're in for a great cup of coffee. If you don't feel the chemistry, you can drink your coffee and be on your way. But if you hit it off, you can walk around Ponce City Market to eat, to shop, and to talk.

Ticonderoga Club

It may not be at Ponce City Market, but Ticonderoga Club is located at another of the city's hippest developments: Krog Street Market. You can grab drinks or stay for dinner at this tavern, which is known for its seafood and craft cocktails. This restaurant, cheekily named after a fort built by French colonialists in New York, is a hospitable meeting place that will calm even your first date jitters. Even if your Tinder jitters are in an entirely different league than your usual first-date anxiety about meeting a friend of a friend.

Jess Bolluyt is a writer based in Atlanta. She spends her weekends exploring (and photographing) the city and other towns in Georgia.