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Archive for the ‘Wednesday’ Category

One of my favorite cheap dates this time of year is to take a blanket and some treats to one of the many outdoor movie screenings that take place all over Philly all through the summer months.  I said it once, and I’ll say it again: There is something undeniably romantic about cuddling up after the sun goes down, sharing some candy and maybe a clandestine bottle of wine or beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night.
And from the looks of this handy-dandy list I’ve prepared − complete with titles and times! – this is a date you can enjoy almost any given night of the summer! Choose from Blockbusters at Penn’s Landing, classic favorites at Schuylkill Banks and Liberty Lands Park, Indie hits at the Piazza, films with local ties at Headhouse Square and more!  There is literally something happening almost every single night, and they are all FREE to attend.
Just BYO blankets and bottles and enjoy the show − and your date!
And if that’s not enough celluloid for you, Bistro La Minette, a quaint french bistro in Queen Village, screens French films every Monday, Thursday, and Friday in its back patio for its “Dinner and a Movie Al Fresco” series.  The shows start at 8:30pm (Fridays at 9:30pm) and reservations are recommended, but you can keep it a cheap date by sharing a pichet of wine or having desert and coffee instead of a full dinner.  There’s a different movie each week. Click here for the roster.

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Summer means t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, sandals, and sunshine. It also means the spectre of the possible date disaster – SWEATING. That’s why every cheap dater needs a go-to spot to enjoy a cool drink outside, with equal parts shade and ambiance. Read my full review at drinkphilly.com and find out where!

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My Date’s Stats:

Blog: City Girls World

Age: CGW launched in 2009. Katie started blogging for them as a “Gal about Philly” in 2010.

Likes: Martinis, Sex in the City, brunch, finger tattoos, wasabi.

Dislikes: Girls who bring their boyfriends everywhere, people who can’t deal with women in control of their sexuality, and party-crashing night time SEPTA schedules.

Little Known Fact: Katie studies social work and human sexuality, and actually has her own blog, which she describes as more or less a “sex blog,” (although it’s name, “There’s vodka in my sippy cup but I need to grow up,” perhaps reads a little more like a diary-of-a-party-girl).

Favorite Cheap Date: The Yards Brewery tasting/tour. “My boyfriend and I went here and it was an awesome way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon-HIGHLY recommended.” As for a girls night out: “I’d pick the Center City Cocktail Crawl-I love XIX but haven’t made it to Vintage–maybe this summer with my fellow CGW writers!”

It seems natural that Katie would think of the writers at City Girls World when planning a girls’ night out, since clicking through CGW feels much more like hanging out with a group of really fun women than reading a one-dimensional blog. The articles are frank and conversational, and the columnists continue their stories from week to week so you can stay current on their latest (mis)adventures. There’s Single Girl, Working Girl, Married Girl, and Gals About Town, and they report on everything of interest to the modern urban-“ette”: shopping, dining, grooming, and, of course, relationships. Plus, the blog covers both Philly and Washington, DC, making it a particulary great resource for those straddling both cities, or planning a visit. One of their most unique features is Single Man Spotted, which reassures readers that these rare specimens are not urban legend by spotlighting cute (and single!) guys they meet on the street. This take on meeting men is a breath of fresh air from those who bemoan the apparent lack of eligible bachelors remaining on planet earth. But snark-lovers never fear – the Single Girl chronicles are brutally (and hilariously) honest and make it clear that, yes, a lot of guys still don’t have a clue. But at City Girls World that doesn’t matter, so long as you have your online girlfriends to commiserate with at the end of the day. At least that’s how the CGW crew sees it.

I recently got a window into City Girls World when I met guest writer Katie Butler at POD for a (surprisingly) cheap date of martinis and sushi.

How cheap we talkin’: Martinis are $5 during happy hour from 4-6pm. Sushi train plates range from $2.50-$5.00.

Why this will impress your date: There’s a sushi conveyor belt! Hey, it may be a novelty, but it’s a darn fun one.

The Inside Game: You can’t take cocktails from the lounge to the sushi bar, so this is a good spot for first dates that you’re not sure will last past the first drink. If things are going well, suggest grabbing a bite. If not, it’s still a cool atmosphere to have a cocktail. Especially before or after a visit to the free Institute for Contemporary Art just up the street!

Score Extra Points: By pointing out the “Pods” to your date. Customers can choose and change the color of the lighting in these private, circular booths.

Next date: Happy hour is weekdays 4-6pm. The sushi train is available anytime.

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The Beneluxx Tasting Room in Old City is easy to miss, but for those looking for romance on a budget, its wine, cheese, beer, and chocolate are well-worth discovering.  Read the full review at Drink Philly and find out why!

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The bowling date is a classic, and one of my personal favorites. While not generally recommended for a first date (it can be a bit stilted trying to get to know someone in alternating 30 second increments while the pins reset) it is great for a group date, or for couples who enjoy a little friendly competition every now and again. “Social bowling” has experienced a resurgence in popularity recently, giving rise to slick and cavernous enterprises which seem to cater to large parties or corporate events, complete with fancy finger food, flashing lights, and frenetic music. That’s fine, but for a date it can be a little overwhelming, not to mention expensive. That’s why I was so thrilled to discover PEP Bowl at 1200 Broad street in South Philly. Small and laid-back, this six-lane establishment opened in 2009, but dates back to the 1950’s and maintains a retro-ambiance that is both winning and romantic in its charm. At the same time, its scoring mechanism, lanes, shoes and equipment are all modern and well-maintained, guaranteed to satisfy even the most serious of recreational bowlers. It’s also 100% handicapped accessible.

How cheap we talkin’: $3.50 per game per person and $3.00 shoe rental. Tuesdays they do one better, with $2.50 shoe rental and games from 5-11pm. And it’s BYO!

Why this will impress your date: At PEP, you are also bowling for a good cause. Patronage of PEP Bowl helps support PEP’s mission to provide education, recreation, vocational training, and job placement services to people with disabilities.

Score extra points: By throwing a gutter ball at least once. Now that may seem counter-intuitive, but it depends what kind of points you are really trying to score.

The Inside Game: Because there are only 6 lanes, it’s a good idea to call ahead and reserve one. 215 952-BOWL.

Next Date: Anytime! Well, almost. Lanes are reserved some early evenings for league play hours. Check here for the complete schedule, and here for special deals.

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It’s that time of the season: the excitement of the holidays is over, the novelty of snow has worn off, it’s f*ing freezing outside, and it will be for the foreseeable future. Under these conditions it can be very hard to get excited about leaving the house for a date.  Unless it involves curling up next to a fireplace with a perfect winter beer like I did on a recent date at Hawthorne’s in Bella Vista. Click here to read the full date review at drinkphilly.com!

Cheap Date writes a monthly column for Drink Philly featuring cheap dates for drink lovers.vOr for those of us (read: me) that drink on dates just so as not to throw up from nerves…

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Bryn Mawr film prof. Homai King discussing her new book on Orientalism in cinema at ICA

The Philadelphia Institute for Contemporary Art (“ICA”), located at 118 South 36th street on Penn’s campus in University City, is a nationally recognized museum dedicated to exhibiting innovative painting, art, and sculpture by contemporary (i.e., living) artists.  Founded in 1963, the museum gave Andy Warhol his first museum exhibition, and continues to have a reputation for identifying emerging bright stars in the art world.  The ICA is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but stays open until 8pm on Wednesdays for “Whenever Wednesdays,” a rotating series of lectures, discussions, and screenings, usually connected somehow with the current exhibits. The best part? It’s FREE! That means that you’ll have plenty of cash left to indulge in a drink or a bite at a spot nearby, like the cozy and popular White Dog Cafe.

How cheap we talkin’: Admission is FREE! The rest is up to you. White Dog Cafe has half-priced drafts 5-7pm, and their popular natural beef hot dogs loaded with toppings are $7.25. Non-alcoholic drinks like fresh-squeezed lemonade and ginger beer are $4.

Why this will impress your date: You might be seeing the next Andy Warhol!

Score extra points: By reading up on the exhibition beforehand and asking a question during the Q&A. You will look brave, smart, and articulate all at once.  That’s what I call a power move.

The inside game: The discussions are usually followed by a brief reception, complete with complimentary wine, cheese, and other snacks. If you want to be that cheap.

Next date: Wednesday! Check here for the schedule of upcoming events.

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Traditions are what make holidays special.  (They can play a pretty big part in relationships, too). There is probably no holiday ritual more iconic in Philadelphia than the John Wanamaker (now Macy’s) Christmas Light Show. Since 1955, this dazzling display of lights and music (with narration by the equally iconic Julie Andrews) has delighted children and adults alike. At least it delighted my date and I (two consenting adults) when we went to see it together last week. Add to the experience two thick and decadent hot chocolates from nearby Naked Chocolate (which we surreptitiously spiked with shots of liquor) and this was a holiday date worth making a tradition.

How cheap we talkin’: The light show is FREE! An “Indulgent” sized hot chocolate at Naked Chocolate is $5.00.  A single-serving shot of liquor (optional) is $2-3. (We used 3).

Why this will impress your date:  Because nothing beats feeling like a kid again. Except feeling like a kid who’s snuck into the liquor cabinet.

The Inside Game: Up the decadence factor by getting your chocolate “European style.”  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed (but your personal trainer might). 

Score Extra Points: By planning your visit to coincide with one of the daily concerts on the famous Wanamaker organ (it’s one of the largest working organs in the world). View the full schedule here.

Next Date:  The 2010 Christmas Light Show runs every hour on the hour, 10am to 8pm, from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve day.

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Did you know that one of the world’s leading music conservatories is located in Philadelphia, and that their uber-talented students showcase their talents every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening throughout the school year at recitals that are free and open to the public? Neither did I, until I went on a date there a few weeks ago.

The students are from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, and their recitals are performed an intimate 240-person auditorium (Field Concert Hall) (handicapped accessible) located in the Institute’s “main building” – a gorgeously preserved 19th century mansion located at 1726 Locust Street, near the south-east corner of Rittenhouse Square park.  

My date and I dressed up special for the occasion (think fine wool suit, cufflinks, swishy dress, pointy heels) and met for a pre-concert drink at the swanky Bar 210 at Lacroix across the park.  The location was certainly convenient, and their happy-hour (5-7pm) of half-priced cocktails ($6 instead of the usual $12) is a great deal, but the ambience was a little sedate.  Next time I’d go to Fish instead.  Located a few blocks away at 1708 Lombard streed, Fish has an intimate bar that overlooks their open kitchen, filling the small space with the sights and sounds of the chefs at work, a nice prelude (and contrast) to the sights and sounds to be enjoyed at the concert hall afterwards.

How cheap we talkin’:  The recitals are FREE! Happy hour drinks and/or snacks, $7-$15 (with tax/tip).

Why this will impress your date:  Watching these amazingly able child-prodigies perform will impress anybody.  And your date will appreciate you for being the kind of person who would think of such a nice way to spend an evening together, despite your having only average musical abilities.

The Inside Game:  Make sure to get the the concert at least 10-15 minutes early to secure a seat. The recitals start promptly at 8pm (they won’t let you walk in once it’s started) and the auditorium is filled on a first-come, first-seated basis. But even if the recital does reach capacity you can still watch the live feed on a flat-screen television in the lobby.

Score Extra Points:  By remembering to sneak in a water bottle.

Next Date: Student recitals are at 8pm (almost) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening from October 11 through May.  Have a favorite composer? Check the schedule to see who’s playing, as well as what pieces/instruments.

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The Fitzwater Café is a bright, cheerful, and surprisingly affordable brunch spot in Bella Vista.  A classic breakfast of eggs, toast, and home fries is only $5.00, which means you can order bottomless coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice without breaking the bank.  For those with more of a morning sweet tooth, Pancakes and French Toast are each only $5.50.  After a leisurely brunch, it’s only a short stroll to the Fleisher Art Memorial  gallery at 719 Catherine street.  In addition to curating multiple art exhibitions throughout the year, the Fleisher also offers free (with membership) art classes for both children and adults.

How cheap we talkin’: $5.00-$5.50 for breakfast, $1.75 for coffee, $2.95 for O.J., and approximately $3 for a must-have shared dessert (plus tax and tip). Entry to the Fleisher is FREE!

Why this will impress your date:  As the oldest free community art school in the United States, Fleisher will impress both history and art buffs.

The Inside Game: The key at Fitzwater Café is to be careful with add-ons. Berries on your pankcakes will cost an additional $3.00, and each omlette ingredient is $1.25.  So stick to the basics and save room (and $) for dessert!

Score Extra Points: By pointing out the other art hidden in the hallways at Fleisher: There’s a copy of a mosaic from St Mark’s Basilica near the elevators, and  near the restrooms hangs a pop-art piece spoofing the Snickers ads from a few years back with the text “Haterectomy.”

Next date:  Any day except Sunday. Fitzwater Cafe is open for breakfast 7:30am-2pm everyday, and the Fleisher gallery space is open 10-3pm Monday-Saturday. Note: When school is not in session, the Fleisher is NOT open on the weekends, so double check the gallery schedule before you go! 

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