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Archive for the ‘Drinking’ Category

Lining up for $1 treats!

Once a month, starting tonight, June 2nd, take your date and a fistfull of dollars to Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia for the second (now) annual Dollar Stroll!

Featuring live music, street performers, sidewalk vendors and $1 deals on everything from ice cream to samosas to theater tickets, it’s going to be hard to find more bang for your buck anywhere in the city tonight.

This event turns Baltimore Avenue into a delightful open-air parade of sights, smells, and sounds, but as I learned last year, the lines do get long.  My advice for making it a great date: go early (the event runs from 5:30-8:30pm), don’t try to hit every venue, and use this handy vendor list to plan your route!

Note: If you miss tonight’s stroll, there are 3 more this season. Pencil in your next date for July 7th, August 4th, or September 1st!

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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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My date’s stats:

 Blog: Claire Folkman: A Web Comic

Age: Started blogging in September 2008.

Likes: Beef, noodle soup, word bubbles, young love.

Dislikes: Superheros.

Little Known Fact: Ms. Folkman is a vociferous reader of dime-store romance novels.  She likes them for the happy endings.

Favorite Cheap Date:  Free Student Recitals at the Curtis Institute

Claire Folkman is a self-described mid-twenties art hipster who writes an autobiographical comic about a mid-twenties art hipster named Claire Folkman.  But that is by no means all.  She is also a conceptual artist, a memoir comic web-blogger, and a most charming date. She has an art show coming up May 6-July 7, 2011 at the DCCA in Wilmington (accessible by SEPTA!) featuring her captivating video work that transforms life’s absurdities into one profound comic strip (or transforms life’s profundities into one absurd comic strip). Meanwhile her blog contains wry and insightful comics, reflections on art school classes and critiques, and musings on everything from the best drawing markers to babysitting to Lady Gaga.  It is updated (usually) on Wednesdays, and definitely worth following.

As for our date, when Claire told me she would take me to the Philly Comix Jam – a monthly gathering of comic enthusiasts that meet at Manny Brown’s on South Street to draw together – well, I was nervous. I mean, this seemed about as intimidating as being brought to a party by a first date to meet twenty or so of their best friends. But as it turned out, I was silly to worry. Everyone at the Comix Jam welcomed me with open arms and assured me that I needed no more drawing skills than a third grader to participate and have a good time. And it turns out they were totally right.

How cheap we talkin’:  The Comix Jam is FREE, and Corona and Dos Equix are $2.50 until midnight.

Why this will impress your date: Not all comics are about Superheroes. Memoir comics are about feelings, too. Plus, no one is going to stop you if you just want to sit and draw hearts around your date’s name all night long.

Score Extra Points: By stopping for a bite first at nearby Tattooed Mom’s.  $1 beef or bean tacos plus half-off all draft beer every Tuesday until 10pm!

The Inside Game:  Don’t forget, it’s BYOP.  (That’s Bring Your Own Pens/Pencils).

Next Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011! Otherwise, mark your calendar for every third Tuesday at 8pm. Click here for more info.

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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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Bob & Barbara’s, located at 1509 South Street, is not only a classic dive bar, but practically a Philadelphia historic landmark. If you haven’t been there yet, chances are you’ve at least heard of it, and if you’re the one introducing your date to Bob and Barbara’s for the first time, it’s going to be a date to remember. With walls heavy with vintage Pabst’s Blue Ribbon beer paraphernalia, a rowdy bar, and a venerable jazz tradition going back over twenty years, weekends at Bob and Barbara’s may feel more like a rite of passage than a date.  For example, a PBR pounder and shot of Jim Bean might not be the classiest of choices on most dates, but at Bob and Barbara’s it’s just what you order – every time.  It’s also a great spot for a group date, as my cohort discovered on a recent Friday night.

How cheap we talkin’: Entry is FREE! The “special” (a PBR and shot of Jim Beam) is only $3. Don’t call it the Citywide. It’s just the special here. (And no judgment, but if this is a first date, I recommend sticking to one per person).

Why this will impress your date: The musicians, the musicians, the musicians. Utterly unfazed by any of the nonsense that occurs in a packed bar with cheap drinks, these guys are the real deal. Fridays and Saturdays they play more of a familiar jazz repertoire, while Sundays they host a jam session.

The Inside Game: Bob and Barbara’s can pretty crowded, so getting served can take awhile.  If you’re getting your date a drink, go together to the bar so you can still chat.  Otherwise, make sure your date is comfortable with what could be a long wait for your return!

Score Extra Points: By treating your date to a late-night snack. The night we were there the guys from Coup de Taco were set up in a corner dishing up their inventive, non-traditional taco combinations like Sweet Thai chicken with peanut sauce, pulled pork, or castro-style rice and beans with Sofrito sauce, $3.50 each or two for $6.  Between specials, it really hit the spot.

Next Date: Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!

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On Saturdays, the Yards Brewing Company offers free tours of their facilities. I went there with a date last weekend, and we enjoyed their tour as well as their tasting room. Read the full date review here!

Cheap Date writes amonthly column for Drink Philly featuring cheap dates for drink lovers. Or for those of you (er, me) that need to drink  on your dates so as not to throw up from nerves…

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Meg poses with a Santa we encountered at Suburban Station

My date’s stats:

 Blog: PhilaDate — Hot Spots for Great Dates in Illadel!

Age: Started blogging in October 2010.

Likes: Walking the city, singing, jazz and blues, and being the go-to source for her friends (especially her guy friends) for date ideas sure to impress the ladies.

Dislikes: Negative Feedback. (Who doesn’t?)

Little Known Fact: Also writes Songs That Won’t Make You Vomit, where she details the ups and downs of her dating life as it relates to, and reminds her of favorite songs.

Favorite Cheap Date:  Brunch at Fitzwater Café.

Meg Mirzoff is a 27 year old “self proclaimed dating pro” and the author of PhilaDate, a relatively new (October 2010) blog that highlights fun date spots culled from Meg’s own extensive experience with both dating and Philadelphia. A lifelong area resident, her twitter profile quips positively that “Philly is a hotbed for the singles… you just gotta put yourself out there!” And that is exactly what Meg did when she agreed to meet me for a blind date after I pitched my I’m Seeing Other Blogs idea to her via email.

Of course, as soon as we met I realized that Meg really never had a moment’s hesitation – a spirit of adventure is just a part of who she is.  Outgoing and enthusiastic, her fun-loving personality comes across in her blog as well.  For example, for a date with “heat” she recommends following a meal of tacos with a night out dancing at a salsa club, and she isn’t afraid of proposing ideas for a 24-hour long date (for some “serious” quality time).

Her idea for our Cheap Date was equally adventuresome: an afternoon Busker-hunting in and around Suburban Station, followed by drinks at Village Whiskey.  For those that don’t know (I didn’t), “Busking” is the act of performing in public while soliciting tips or gratuities (i.e. passing the hat).  Those engaged in Busking are called “Buskers,” also known as street performers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours.  I’ve passed by countless such performers before − on South Street, in Rittenhouse, and in the subway stations – but it hadn’t occurred to me that intentionally seeking out these performances could make for a highly entertaining afternoon and a great cheap date.

How cheap we talkin’:  $1-5 in tips for the Buskers; Approx. $6 for a beer at Village Whiskey.

Why this will impress your date: Not only does Busking have a long history dating back to at least the 1860’s, but today’s Buskers have their own culture involving unspoken but understood rules and customs about who gets to play when, and where.

Score Extra Points: By ordering tater tots to share at Village Whiskey. They are only $3 and they are delicious.

The Inside Game: All Buskers are entertainers, but not all are equally entertaining. For a nice profile of various Philly Buskers and their stomping grounds, check out this article from Penn music blog God Save the Beat, or this blog by local Busker David Richenbacher.  

Next Date: Anytime! But Saturday and Sunday afternoons are a pretty safe bet at Suburban Station, as well as early evenings weeknights (rush hour).

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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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