Great Offline Dates for Online Daters in Philadelphia

When you want short, sweet and safely noncommittal.

Menagerie Coffee. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Menagerie Coffee. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

What: One of the “it” cafes
Why: A minimal time commitment in case the Web-to-life sparks aren’t flying.
A Few to Try: Menagerie Coffee (Old City, no phone), for the rustic-meets-urban decor and unpretentious vibe; Shot Tower (Queen Village, 267-886-8049), a mecca for the coffee-obsessed where you can perch on a stool at the window bar for some well-lit (read: #nofilter) getting-to-know-you time; Grindcore House (Pennsport, 215-839-3333), a vegan, punk, edgy spot that is itself a conversation starter.

What: Brunch
Why: If you steer clear of the big crowd-magnets like Green Eggs and Sabrina’s (where you’ll be stuck waiting in long lines, making small talk on an empty stomach), brunch is perfect: low-pressure, highly public, and as quick or leisurely as you make it.
A Few to Try: This city is rife with brunch spots, but on your short list should be Black ’n Brew (East Passyunk, 267-639-6070), with its casual order-at-the-counter ethos and chalkboard menu; Vetri’s warehouse-cool gastropub Alla Spina (Spring Garden, 215-600-0017), if only for the pork belly biscuits; and the Main Line’s Minella’s Diner (Wayne, 610-687-1575) — it’s always packed (blame the pancakes!), but table turnover is speedy. If you wait, it won’t be for long.

What: A stroll
Why: We’re talking about meeting veritable strangers from the Internet — it’s not the worst idea to surround yourself with the outside world.
A Few to Try: Grab a taco/burger/pizza from a food truck at Love Park, then make your way up the Ben Franklin Parkway to meander the idyllic grounds of the PMA and refresh with a drink at Water Works (Logan Circle, 215-236-9000). Or sashay from riverbank to riverbank, starting at Taney Park and staying the course on Pine Street eastward toward the Delaware. If it’s going well, you’ve got Antique Row and Dirty Franks (Midtown Village, 215-732-5010) as solid stopovers along the way. And downtown Chestnut Hill makes for a charming little walk, with ample opportunity for window-shopping and grazing—a chocolate espresso cupcake from Cake (Chestnut Hill, 215-247-6887) is a must.

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