If you’re looking for love, you might as well have a good time doing so. Here are some suggestions for places to possibly score your next date. You never know who might be waiting for you.
Not that aisle. We’re talking about the grocery store—and not just any grocery store: the brand-new Wegmans in Malvern. Already, this place is doubling as a magnet for single professionals thanks to its massive selection of prepared takeout options. Stock up on a week’s worth of self-serve teriyaki chicken and antipasto salad in the Market Café, then head over to the beer section, where there’s a brew—and perhaps a corresponding lady or gentleman—for every taste (and tolerance). (wegmans.com)
The downsides to movie-night dates are few but significant. For one, there’s very little conversation (none, if you’re polite)—and the lighting (or lack thereof) leaves way too much to the imagination. It’s no surprise, then, that unattached cinephiles love the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, a top-notch source for thought-provoking international and independent flicks you won’t find anywhere else in the area. Group discussions sometimes follow deeper films. And for the longer ones, mingling is encouraged during intermission. (brynmawrfilm.org)
Even the most extreme opposites can come together during a good meal—especially one that’s made from scratch. Is being single taking its toll on your skills in the kitchen? Sign up for an Albertson’s Cooking School workshop, or enroll in a class like “Cooking Basics” through Main Line School Night. The culinary playing field is pretty level in these situations, so single participants can bond over new experiences, get their hands dirty and turn up the heat, all while enjoying the delicious fruits of their labors along the way. (albertsoncookingschool.com, mainlineschoolnight.org)
When it comes to charitable endeavors, the benefits are endless—among them, the opportunity to meet someone whose heart is in the right place. There are limitless volunteer resources on the Main Line, whether you’d like to sit on the board of a charity, mentor students or lend a hand to the local arts scene. The bevy of black-tie affairs in the city and suburbs includes the single-friendly Black Tie Bowling at Wynnewood Lanes (Nov. 6) and the Philadelphia International Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (Jan. 28).
Of course, there’s always happy hour—and everything that comes after. That being said, our picks for hotspots have little to do with their dubious reputation as singles joints. Good food and an atmosphere that facilitates conversation is what it’s all about. We break it down by category—and degree of difficulty.
Jock envy. Casual spectators are welcome to browse, but popular diehard outposts like Champps in King of Prussia, Landmark Americana in West Chester, and the local Barnaby’s of America and Winner’s Circle Sports Grille chains are really only optimal for Philly fanatics of both sexes—that is, unless you enjoy conversing with the side of someone’s head as they gaze above the bar at a flat-screen TV. If you’re game, two things to keep in mind: Avoid the postseason, and please don’t bring up the Sixers. (champps.com, landmarkamericana.com, barnabysofamerica.com, winnerscirclesportsgrille.com)
Meat and greet. Looking to meet men in suits? We’re partial to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Radnor, which has a fantastic bar menu. The place is always humming, even when it’s half-full (which isn’t often). (flemingssteakhouse.com)
South of the border. The atmosphere is as casual and upbeat as it gets at any Mexican restaurant worth its salt-rimmed margarita glass. That means the pressure is off at places like Más Mexicali Cantina in West Chester, with its lively rooftop bar, and Coyote Crossing in Conshohocken. Or, for connoisseur types looking for a more well-rounded and intimate Latin experience, try Verdad in Bryn Mawr, with its award-winning tequila bar. (mascantina.com, coyotecrossing.com, theverdad.com)
Something fishy. Sounds crazy, but sushi is one of the ultimate bar foods. It’s great for sharing—and you can flirt all night without worrying about your food getting cold. At Blue Fin in Plymouth Meeting, it’s all about the sushi—and the celebrity endorsements. Ladies love the interesting cocktails typically found at Nectar in Berwyn (think higher-end) and Kooma in West Chester (think younger and more clubby). And guys … Well, guys love the ladies. (tastenectar.com, gokoomarestaurant.com)
Lounge around. There’s nothing cheesy about this option—at least not anymore. Case in point: Villanova’s Mixx. The 40-seat bar is a focal point of the restaurant, so all you need to do is pick a seat and wait for the crowds to start lining up around you. (mixxrestaurant.com)
The sophisticated palate. Contrary to popular belief, dating isn’t relegated to just the 35-and-under crowd. There are plenty of local spots on the Main Line for singles interested in more than just cocktails and beer (although there’s plenty to be found anyway). Harvest in Glen Mills has a lot to offer folks of all ages, but its proximity to some upscale boutiques and salons attracts a sophisticated crowd, which revels in the cozy bar and innovative menu. Similarly, the Gypsy Saloon and Stella Blu in Conshohocken are two lively spots where you can enjoy a great meal with friends, then linger at the bar to finish conversations and check out the scene. (harvestseasonalgrill.com, gypsysaloon.com, stellablurestaurant.com)