Best Places to Take a Date in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, and it attracts over 3.85 million visitors each year. There are some stunning sites to see in the city and plenty of things to do. The city’s lucrative tourism industry has led the quality of eateries and social venues within the Scottish capital to reach a high level. These factors all contribute to making Edinburgh a truly great place in which to go out on a date. So, what are the best options for singletons who are looking to woo someone in Scotland’s second-most-populous city?

Bars and coffee shops

Going out to look for potential partners in bars is old hat now, with the rise of online dating sites like Badoo making meeting people for the first time easier than ever. While singletons are using such sites to search through a multitude of profiles, the bar still represents a great place to go on a first date, wherever you find your perfect match. The relaxed atmosphere helps to get the conversation flowing and, if you don’t like your date all that much, you can easily down your drink and disappear. The same can be said for a cafe – just make sure the coffee has sufficiently cooled before you neck it.

In terms of bars, Edinburgh has plenty to choose from. There are warm, cosy, traditional pubs or stylish and trendy bars. When chatting with your new friend on a dating app, you may want to get an idea of what kind of establishment they like to frequent before suggesting somewhere. Fancy cocktails are always a good option, as the eclectic drinks can often provide a good talking point when they have interesting ingredients or are made in an intriguing manner. The Bon Vivant on Thistle Street is arguably the best place for mixing and shaking in the city and was the first-ever Scottish restaurant-bar to be nominated for the Spirited Awards. In addition to cocktails, there are over 44 wines to choose from which are all available by the glass, carafe, or bottle.

For a cosy and comfortable location, you could try The Raging Bull on Lothian Road. The venue is known for its rustic aesthetic and fine marble tables. It serves unique drinks, including the famous coffee cocktail. The walls are covered in photos of the owner, who used his own nickname to name the bar.

If you’d prefer to keep a clear head, it’s best to opt for a caffeine hit over alcohol. One of the most popular coffee shops in the capital is Baba Budan. The friendly spot at the bottom of Waverley Arches is renowned for its impressive doughnuts. The homemade, indulgent offerings come in various amazing flavours including Mars Bar and Toffee Banana. Research has shown that having a sweet on a date can be rewarding. Eating sugary things releases dopamine and serotonin, which makes people feel good, albeit temporarily. You only need them to feel this on the date, though. They can crash when they get home.


A restaurant is a favoured place for a first date for many couples. Food not only provides a talking point, but it also gives you something to do when there is an awkward silence. And everyone loves eating, don’t they? A restaurant meal is well-structured, and you know exactly what is going to happen and how long you will have to wait to leave if the date is going not exactly as planned. Just make sure you ask your date if they have any specific dietary requirements or can’t stand a certain type of food before you book a table somewhere.

When it comes to eating in the city, there are hundreds of incredible options. Most couples say that a first date should be reasonably cheap, and there is no need to really push the boat out. For an excellent mid-priced restaurant with exceptional reviews, try One20 Wine Café. The Italian eatery is one of the top-rated spots on TripAdvisor, and it is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. It is known for its relaxing atmosphere and reasonable prices. The location on Dundas Street is a popular one for couples.

If you do feel like splashing the cash and showing your affluence, you could go to one of the poshest restaurants in town. Aizle is an outstanding venue, which won the Traveller’s Choice award in 2018. Many reviewers claim the food quality is at Michelin star level, and the fine dining plates are visually stunning. There would be plenty to talk about with your date in this spot on St. Leonards Street.


If you want to try something different on your date, you could opt for an activity rather than a drink or a meal. This could be an exciting way of setting yourself apart from the average partner found on dating apps. One idea which is hugely popular at the moment is a trip to an escape room. These are ‘locked’ rooms full of puzzles that visitors have to solve in order to, funnily enough, escape. Visiting one will get you and your date working together and could be a great way to have a laugh. The Department of Mysteries is the latest offering in Edinburgh, and the Harry Potter-themed spot is accompanied by The Three Cauldrons Tavern which is ideal for winding down in afterwards.

For more energetic couples, you could try jumping on some trampolines. There are various options in the city with Gravity Trampoline Parks, Fountain Park, and Clowning Around to choose from if this more unusual option takes your fancy.

Whatever vision you have of your ideal date, the options in Edinburgh are abundant. Taking things slowly with a few drinks on the first date is probably wise, but then you might want to up the ante with meals and escape rooms on subsequent meetings for a memorable follow-up!

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