Four Perfect Bull City Dates

Four Perfect Bull City Dates

Our readers voted for their favorite restaurants to go on a date. We took it a step further and set up the whole evening.

Jeffrey T. Howell and his husband, Taylor Schmidt, enjoy a Manhattan and a Roman Retreat, respectively, at Bar Virgile. Photo by Briana Brough


4pm – Augmentality Labs

Try something a little different for date night! You’re sure to have a blast at the downtown virtual reality arcade on North Church Street. Challenge each other in Trickster or look on as your partner plays a single-player game. Book back-to-back sessions for 70 minutes of gaming joy!

6pm – Mateo

The dim lighting and cozy atmosphere make Mateo an intimate-yet- casual option for this date that’s all about fun. Make a reservation, or sit at the bar and chat with the friendly bartenders as you order small plate after small plate to share with your significant other. Check out the daily specials on the seasonal chalkboard, or opt for all-time favorites like the patatas bravas, costillas de puerco, huevo diablo or the gambas. The sherry selection is killer – order a tasting flight – or pick the refreshing, classic Cheerwine sangria. Try the flan or banana pudding for dessert.

9pm – Arcana

Take a quick walk around the corner from Mateo, and go have your tarot read or dance your heart out during local DJ sets. Wrap up with one of their signature cocktails like The Young Hierophant or the Lucky Strike.


6pm – Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Grab a drink at the cash bar and join a drop-in creative workshop – meant for beginners and experienced art-makers alike – led by local artists during the Nasher Creates Adult Studio on the second Thursday of the month. Or, come view some of the current exhibitions, like Precarity, a new three-channel video installation created by London-based artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

7pm – Parizade

You’ll often find live music happening on the weekends at Parizade, whether it’s in the restaurant or the private courtyard. Enjoy the Mediterranean flavors over a bottle of wine – grab a spread of hummus or tzatziki (or both!) to start, and go for a seafood dish as your main course – they are all good! For dessert, we recommend the Black Velvet Praline Torte (add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!) and/or any of the dessert wine, cognac or brandy selections.

8pm – The lawn at the Center for Documentary Studies

Bring a blanket and any post-dinner snacks to Audio Under the Stars, a summer-long audio festival presented by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Relax and listen to local stories curated by the Center on Friday nights – the themes remaining this year are “Appetites and Desires” (July 27) and “Superstars: Five Years of Favorites” (August 24).


All day – The Durham Hotel

Staycation, anyone? You barely have to leave the mid-century modern hotel to have a full day of fun!

9am – Rooftop Vinyasa Yoga

These classes are taught by La Vita Yoga, open to all levels and are free to guests or $10 for locals in the summer. Plus, complimentary infused water and towels included!

10:30am – Coffee Shop

Grab a pick-me-up – try either their refreshing coffee soda or a cold- brew latte.

11am – Unscripted Hotel

Slip across the street for a dip in the Unscripted Hotel’s rooftop pool to beat the heat! Or head out for a downtown shopping excursion to nearby shops and galleries.

5:30pm – The Restaurant at The Durham

After a day in the sun, you’re going to be hungry. Grab dinner in the cool of The Restaurant at The Durham – The daily selection of oysters will never disappoint, or try the beef tartare. If raw food isn’t your jam, you can never go wrong with their steak!

6:30pm – Rooftop Concert

Stop by on Sunday for sunsets, cocktails and indie hip-hop/jazz music from The Beast with special guests. No cover, no reservation needed. If you start feeling peckish, grab an order of guac or the chip & dip.


5:30pm – Bar Virgile

They don’t take reservations, so come early on a show night and take your time with dinner and drinks – definitely get the fried oysters as an appetizer, and don’t miss out on their expertly crafted cocktails.The Ramos Gin Fizz or classic gin and tonic are our favorites.

7pm – DPAC

In addition to incredible American Dance Festival performances, there are plenty of concerts to look forward to this summer. Or, head over to American Tobacco Campus a little earlier for its free music series.

9pm – Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade

Before you head home, challenge your significant other to a game of pinball and see who can get the highest score. Loser buys the drinks!„