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Archive for the ‘Rittenhouse’ 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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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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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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Rittenhouse Square park, between 18th and 19th streets on Walnut, is a tree-filled haven of green in the middle of Center City’s busy downtown shopping district.  It is also a centrally located and easily accessible place to bring a blanket and some snacks and have a picnic.  But before setting up camp, stop in across the street at Barnes and Noble and pick out some fun magazines to read from or a book of crossword puzzles to work on together after you get bored of people and/or cloud watching.

How cheap we talkin’: $30 or less. Magazines, $12-$15, for 3.  Snacks: $15 or less.

Why this will impress your date: Good elocution skills are sexy.

The Inside Game: Cherries are portable and delicious, but they are not an ideal date food, because, well, they inevitably involve spitting.  Also, do not picnic on fleece blankets if you can help it.  Apparently they generate a lot of heat (and not the good kind).

Score Extra Points: By bringing something homemade.  My date surprised me with fresh guacamole (my favorite!), and it was delicious.

Next date: Anytime.

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