Whether planning a first date or an anniversary celebration, deciding what to eat, drink, and do comes with pressure. Thankfully, East Austin’s mix of trendy bars, restaurants, artists’ galleries, and entertainment venues offers something for everyone. The next time you’re tasked with planning a romantic evening, here’s a list of ideal Eastside Austin date destinations for inspiration.
Enjoy a twist on the classic dinner-and-a-movie date with a visit to Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. The magnificent Eastside Austin movie theater offers a multi-course menu. Cocktails, beer, and wine are also served throughout each feature. Settle into a comfortable reclining seat, and take in a film while you eat and drink to your heart’s content. Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is within 15 minutes’ walking distance of AMLI Downtown, AMLI Eastside, and AMLI on 2nd. The cinema chain’s sixth and newest Austin location is also in East Austin, a couple miles north of the Ritz. Alamo Drafthouse Mueller is a five-minute walk from AMLI at Mueller and AMLI on Aldrich.
Ritz: 320 E. 6th St.; Mueller: 1911 Aldrich St.
For an entertainment-filled date on a budget, start your night with .50 beers and plays at American Bingo, a five-minute walk from AMLI South Shore. Once you’ve had your fill, catch the bus or a car to Stay Gold. Soak up the sounds of live funk, jazz, psychedelic rock, soul, or R&B while sipping on first-rate cocktails. If hunger strikes, sate it with a buffalo chicken sandwich, grilled cheese and tomato soup, or truffle mac and cheese from Stay Gold’s food trailer, Toaster. Stay Gold is a mile from AMLI’s East Austin apartments.
American Bingo: 1919 E. Riverside Dr.; Stay Gold: 1910 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Amenable to first-timers and skilled climbers, Austin Bouldering Project is well-suited for an active and memorable date. After impressing your date with your mad bouldering skills and helpful pointers, rest those muscles over a beer at Friends & Allies Brewing next door.
Austin Bouldering Project and Friends & Allies Brewing: 979 Springdale Rd.
Canopy Austin’s sprawling complex contains 45 studios, three art galleries, creative offices, and a cafe. The best time to plan a date to the artists’ community is during Open Canopy, which is held the first Saturday of each month from noon to 6pm. The galleries are open to the public, and artists host workshops and special events. Since it’s also next door to Friends & Allies Brewing, this is a good activity to combine with a visit to the brewery. Another option is to combine with visits to other contemporary art galleries in Eastside Austin.
916 Springdale Rd.
Since AMLI’s downtown Austin apartment rentals opened, residents have enjoyed neighbor status with Halcyon’s original coffee bar, on Fourth at Lavaca. When Halcyon expanded to East Austin last fall, it afforded AMLI at Mueller residents the same privilege. This board game cafe, coffee shop, and bar offers enough food, drink, and entertainment to keep a good date going for hours. Silence your phone, grab a board game, and connect with your date over a caffeinated or alcoholic beverage. If you’re feeling like both, try one of Halcyon’s signature martinis. Halcyon’s Mueller coffee bar sits on the edge of Mueller Town Lake, a block from AMLI’s Mueller apartments.
1905 Aldrich St.
Eastside Austin’s Native Experiential Hostel opened last spring. And if the upscale hostel’s primary market is out-of-towners, it’s done a good job carving a niche for itself among Austinites. Native’s stylish bar, lounge, and kitchen is open to the public. So are the hostel’s weekly outings and events. Its Thursday night bar crawl is on hiatus. But its Friday night DJ events, weekend brunch, and Story Baton series are viable Eastside Austin date ideas. Native is a 10-minute walk from AMLI’s Eastside apartment rentals.
807 E. 4th St.
Another Eastside Austin date spot with just a year of operation under its belt is Tillery Kitchen. Try to at least have a drink on Tillery’s romantic patio, which serves up serene lake views and fire pits. The restaurant’s smaller dining room tables are also conducive to intimate dining. Just make sure you reserve one. Tillery’s handcrafted specialty cocktails, off during happy hour, are some of the finest in town. Select beers, draft wine, and shareable bites are also discounted daily between 3 and 7pm. Tillery Kitchen & Bar is a five-minute drive from AMLI South Shore.
3201 E. Cesar Chavez St.
For a fun-filled night of dancing in true Texas fashion, head to The White Horse for bluegrass and some two-step. If you or your date is new to the honky-tonk scene, plan your date for Saturday at 7pm. Friendly instructors from Two Left Foots hold weekly dance lessons for free. After dancing your feet off, walk one block east to Whisler’s for craft cocktails and more live music. The classy saloon’s decor and lighting are conducive to intimate conversations over drinks. Both Eastside Austin date spots are less than 15 minutes’ walk from AMLI Eastside.
The White Horse: 500 Comal St.; Whisler’s: 1816 E. 6th St.
The Legendary White Swan closed its doors three years ago to make way for King Bee. The new lounge has been praised for its cocktails and pizza, as well as for maintaining tradition. 1906 E. 12th Street is still a dimly lit hotbed for blues music. Even The Little Elmore Reed Blues Band continues to play every Monday at 10pm. For good food, drinks, and music in one place, plan a date at King Bee, a mile from AMLI Eastside.
1906 E. 12th St.
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