The 10 Best Places in St. Louis for a First Date

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OLIO'S PATIO. | SARA GRAHAM
  • Olio's patio. | Sara Graham

Picking a place for a first date is a loaded proposition -- so much to say in one seemingly simple decision. Luckily, Gut Check knows exactly how to impress that special someone, whether you're going for "casual but sophisticated" or "I'm trying to wife you up, boy." Follow our lead with these ten perfect first-date locations and you'll be golden.

See also: The 10 Best Sushi Bars in St. Louis

OLIO | SARA GRAHAM
  • Olio | Sara Graham

Olio (1634 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-932-1088) Get the conversation started with some fancy cocktails. The cocktails are just as gorgeous as the setting in this beautifully renovated Standard Oil filling station decorated with glass, marble and wood inside and exuding a rustic elegance on the patio outside. Munch on small-plate dishes from the Mediterranean-inspired menu while sipping on finely crafted cocktails with historic roots and modern twists.

BLUEBERRY HILL | RFT IMAGE
  • Blueberry Hill | RFT Image

Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-4444) Get your flirt on with a competitive game of darts and a first-class burger. While the Blueberry Hill Open is the oldest pub-dart tournament in North America, all beginners are welcome to step up to a board. Grab one of Blue Hill's famous burgers and check out the restaurant's legendary pop-culture memorabilia (a great conversation starter) that has made the restaurant nationally recognized over its 42-year history in the University City Loop.

BUSCH STADIUM | SARA GRAHAM
  • Busch Stadium | Sara Graham

Busch Stadium (700 Clark Avenue; 314-345-9600) Go Cards! Head to the ballpark for a whole lotta St. Louis pride and what is sure to be an excellent game. Enjoy some Budweiser beer and a good old-fashioned bratwurst sandwich -- all in the newly renovated, 46,000-seat stadium, home to the 2011 World Series Champions. Find out where his loyalties lie now -- before you're in too deep.

THE BOATHOUSE | SARA GRAHAM
  • The Boathouse | Sara Graham

The Boathouse (6101 Government Drive, Forest Park; 314-367-2224) A glass of wine and a boat ride -- what could be more romantic? Rent a paddleboat and explore Post-Dispatch Lake for a beautiful tour alongside the Saint Louis Art Museum, Art Hill, the Saint Louis Zoo and the World's Fair Pavilion. Grab a glass of wine, beer or a specialty cocktail designed for lakeside lingering.

BRASSERIE BY NICHE. | SARA GRAHAM
  • Brasserie by Niche. | Sara Graham

Brasserie by Niche (4580 Laclede Avenue; 314-454-0600) Dine and stroll through the elegant Central West End. Take a seat on the perfect people-watching patio in front of Brasserie by Niche for a glass of one its 64 wines and feast on Gerard Craft's award-winning cuisine. After dinner, enjoy a stroll along the neighborhood's wide walkways, cool off near the spray of the iconic Maryland Plaza fountain and admire the elegant architecture of the CWE.

BAILEY'S CHOCOLATE BAR | LAURA MILLER
  • Bailey's Chocolate Bar | Laura Miller

Baileys' Chocolate Bar (1915 Park Avenue; 314-241-8100) Every good date ends with chocolate. Have dessert for dinner at Baileys' Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square. The dessert menu is definitely the focus here, though there are also great pizzettas and small plates and cheeses. Perhaps center stage, though, is the cocktail list with chocolate martinis, liquid dessert martinis and coffee martinis. There are also more than 90 beers available and a good wine, spirits and hot-chocolate selection as well.

PAPPY'S SMOKEHOUSE | IAN FROEB
  • Pappy's Smokehouse | Ian Froeb

Pappy's Smokehouse (3106 Olive Street; 314-535-4340) Get messy together. Eliminate nerves by getting covered in barbecue sauce together over a perfect plate of ribs at world-famous Pappy's Smokehouse. Memphis-style barbecue is served up daily to throngs of patrons waiting patiently in line for meats that are smoked up to fourteen hours over sweet apple- or cherrywood, and smothered in "Pappy's Original," "Jane's Sweet Sauce," "Holly's Hot Sauce" or "Hoodoo Sauce."

MCGURK'S | SARA GRAHAM
  • McGurk's | Sara Graham

McGurk's (1200 Russell Boulevard; 314-776-8309) Take in a Guinness with a show. McGurk's is a long-standing St. Louis pub-house institution for a pint of Guinness, great steaks and burgers and beautiful patio dining. Traditional Irish music seven nights a week has landed it on Thrill's "List of the 21 Best Irish Pubs in the U.S." and one of Road Trippers' "Best Irish Pubs in the U.S."

FESTIVAL OF NATIONS. | SARA GRAHAM
  • Festival of Nations. | Sara Graham

Festival of Nations (Tower Grove Park; 314-773-9090) Explore your roots. This one requires a bit of pre-planning. Each August the International Institute's Festival of Nations hosts a two-day extravaganza in Tower Grove Park. The festival features more than 40 food booths showcasing international cuisine, several stages of dance and music performances and jewelry and crafts from all over the world. Again, plenty of conversation-starting opportunities, not to mention a way to look all worldly.

ECLIPSE | SARA GRAHAM
  • Eclipse | Sara Graham

Eclipse Restaurant (6177 Delmar Boulevard; 314-726-2222) Watch the sunset under the moon. Take in the sunset from a rooftop perch overlooking one of the ten "Great Streets in America" (as dubbed by the American Planning Association) underneath a rotating moon, said to be the world's largest. Enjoy some of St. Louis' best craft cocktails from the Rooftop Terrace Bar and bottle service in the newly opened New Moon Room. What could be more romantic?

Follow Sara Graham on Instagram at @SaraSunshineSTL and Twitter at @SaraSunshineSTL. E-mail the author at saralouisegraham@yahoo.com.


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