Best of Houston

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 First Date Spots

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7. Leon's Lounge, Kim Tai or Reef and Mongoose vs. Cobra

Meet up for pre-dinner cocktails at Leon's Lounge (the oldest continuously operating bar in Houston) and enjoy this unspoiled patch of Midtown over Leon's terrific liquor selection. For dinner -- depending on your date -- go upscale and impressive at seafood palace Reef, or go super-low-key at scruffy Vietnamese diner Kim Tai. One has great fish, the other has great pho, both are half a block away. Close out your night with punch and poetry back across the street at Mongoose vs. Cobra, the beer bar that offers a more refined drinking experience than you'd expect.

6. Charity Saloon or Line & Lariat, Goro & Gun or Batanga and Bad News Bar or La Carafe

There's so much to do around Market Square right now that you can make several dates out of this downtown destination. To go slightly upscale, get pre-dinner drinks inside the gorgeous, converted bank lobby at Line & Lariat, then walk across Congress for modern tapas at newcomer Batanga. Finish off the night with a stroll in the park and a glass of wine at La Carafe. To go slightly grittier, start out with cocktails and shuffleboard at Charity Saloon (and learn a lot about your date by which charity he chooses to support with his drink ticket), then dinner at ramen bar Goro & Gun right around the corner on Main Street. Walk upstairs afterward and take in the enchanting Houston skyline at night with a daiquiri on the second-story patio at Bad News Bar.

5. Dinner and a movie at Tiny Boxwood's

Most people only think of Tiny Boxwood's for lunch. But the West Alabama bistro offers dinner, too -- and a new menu from former Brasserie 19 executive chef Amanda McGraw. Even better, it offers Saturday night movies every weekend starting at 7:30 p.m. Spread out on the lush grass of the nursery-cum-cafe and enjoy a fun twist on the typical dinner-and-a-movie-date.

4. Brasil or Agora, Da Marco or Vinoteca Poscol and Poison Girl

Again, a matter of personal preference: Coffee at either Brasil or Agora -- both at the corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy -- features great outdoor seating and cozy, artsy indoor spaces as well. To really pull out all the stops, walk down Westheimer to Da Marco for the best Italian food in the city. Or to get chef Marco Wiles's food on the cheap, head across the street to little sister restaurant Vinoteca Poscol. Either way, wind down afterward with pinball and one of the best whiskey selections in the country at Poison Girl. Whatever route you choose, this date will definitely afford the best people-watching opportunities.

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Katharine Shilcutt