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Should You Do Drinks or Coffee for a First Date?


Coffee vs Drinks First Date: And the Winner is…

It depends on your personality and your dating goals. Here’s the deal:

A drinks date is a good first date for you if…

  • you go to bars often and feel comfortable there
  • you feel alive in louder, lively settings
  • you’re extroverted
  • you might want things to escalate sexually
  • you want a more romantic mood
  • you use physical touch to communicate and bond

A coffee date is a good first date for you if…

  • you want a shorter first date with an easier out
  • you feel more comfortable in quieter settings
  • you don’t drink, or don’t like to drink
  • you’re introverted
  • you’re ok with taking things slow physically
  • you’re confident in your conversational skills
  • you mainly want to explore an emotional connection

Let’s delve into more detail on the pros and cons of each first date idea.

Starting with the drinks date…

Drinks on a First Date: Pros and Cons

Here are some reasons why getting drinks can be a good first date or a bad one.


  • Atmosphere: If you choose a nice bar, going for a drink on a first date is likely to give you a more sophisticated setting than a coffee shop, which can make an intimate connection more likely.
  • Time: Choosing drinks as a date activity usually naturally occurs in the evening, which sets the tone for a more intimate and romantic vibe.
  • Chemistry: Having a drink together can help loosen you and your date up, easing any first date anxiety and helping you and your date gauge your compatibility with one another.


  • Risk of Overdrinking: Drinking alcohol can bring out the worst in some people, especially when someone’s already nervous about a first date. Overconsumption may lead to impulsive behavior, poor judgment, or other bad decisions.
  • Commitment: Depending on the bar you choose, a date focused on drinks may not convey the same level of commitment or serious long-term relationship intention as other first date options, potentially conveying a primarily casual intent.
  • Noise: Many bars are loud, which can make it difficult to hear your date and have a good conversation.

Read: Creating Chemistry on a First Date: 7 Tips for Feeling a Spark

Coffee on a First Date: Pros and Cons

Here are some reasons why coffee can be a good first date or a bad one.


  • Casual: Meeting for a coffee date offers a casual, low-pressure environment, allowing for comfortable conversation without setting any expectations.
  • Location: Coffee shops are abundant in most areas, which gives you a wide variety of choices to choose from for your date..
  • Timing: Unlike drinks dates, which happen late afternoon or evening exclusively, coffee dates can happen any time during the day as well. This makes coffee dates more flexible in scheduling.
  • Nerves: Coffee generally does not create the same potential for inappropriate behavior that can come from alcohol consumption. Plus, at a café, you can get soothing drinks like herbal tea to calm your nerves.
  • Length: Coffee dates offer most flexibility in allowing you to make the date last as short or as long as you’d like.
  • Price: Coffee dates are economical and easy to plan, allowing for a lower-stakes and more authentic date.


  • Stimulation: Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety and hyperactivity, which may undermine the success of the date if you’re sensitive to caffeine or prone to anxiety.
  • Conversation: Depending on the coffee shop’s layout and crowd, finding a quiet and comfortable spot for conversation could be challenging. Still, on average, coffee shops tend to offer a quieter environment than the typical bar.
  • Vibe: Coffee shops can feel more platonic and less romantic.

Read: 12 Tips for Having a Great Coffee Date

4 Factors to Consider in Comparing a Drinks Date vs Coffee Date

Here are some factors to consider when choosing between drinks or coffee for a first date.

1. Setting the Atmosphere

Creating a comfortable and intimate atmosphere on a first date is important, yet often overlooked.

A coffee date can provide a low-pressure and low-commitment environment, allowing you and your date to finish your coffee and leave early if things are not going smoothly.

On the other hand, a drinks date is more likely to offer a dimly lit or lively atmosphere, which could be more conducive to developing a connection between you and your date.

Read: Texting Between the First and Second Date: 5 Rules to Know

2. Budget Considerations

First dates don’t have to be extravagant, and most of the time they should not be.

Coffee dates are usually cheaper than drinks dates.

While an advantage of a drinks dates is that it allows you to easily extend the date by ordering multiple rounds of drinks, this can get very expensive very fast.

When considering cost, think about the tone and expectations you’d like to set for the first date and what type of second date you might follow it up with.

3. Time Commitment

Think about the amount of time you’re willing to spend on a first date.

Coffee dates can be short or long-lasting depending on how well the conversation flows. If things are not going well, you can quickly finish your coffee and end the date without having to call over a server or bartender. Since you pay for your coffee at the start of the date, you have an easier exit.

Drink dates, however, tend to last longer than coffee dates, partly because you leave an open tab. This is ideal if you’re looking for a more extended conversation on a first date, though it may make it more difficult to end the date early and quickly.

Read: How Long Should a First Date Last?

4. Activity Options

While both coffee and drinks are excellent at keeping the first date focused on social conversation, it can be good to think about other first date activities that can complement drinks or coffee.

Drinks dates may be more likely than coffee dates to lead to more intimate activities like dancing or exploring local nightlife after the bar. Coffee dates, meanwhile, can extend into a casual walk or an additional shared activity nearby.

Think about which first date option aligns with your intentions and personal preferences, as well as what other venues and spots are nearby the bar or café you select.

More Comparison of Coffee vs Drinks First Dates

Deciding between grabbing coffee or drinks for a first date will ultimately boil down to your own personal preferences and habits.

If you appreciate convenience and flexibility in your first dates, then coffee dates may be more ideal.

On the other hand, if you prefer evening dates and enjoy the nightlife scene, then drinks might be a more suitable option.

Here’s a quick summary of points:

  • Coffee date:
    • Budget-friendly
    • Relaxed environment
    • Daytime-friendly
    • More flexible timing
  • Drinks date:
    • Social/lively atmosphere
    • Evening timing
    • More the norm for dating
    • More romantic/intimate ambiance

Coffee vs Dinner and Drinks

Another popular type of first date activity is dinner. Sometimes, dinner dates and drinks dates are combined.

So let’s explore how coffee compares to the dinner date.

Coffee vs Dinner

Choosing between a coffee date and dinner date for a first date can be tough if you’re looking to invest in the first date but also want to keep it low-key.

A coffee date is low-pressure, low-commitment, more versatile on timing, and offers a wider variety of seating options to choose from.

In contrast, dinner is a whole other ballgame. Dinner dates require more time and commitment, as well as financial investment, which could be feel too intense or serious for a first date. You also have to consider your own and your date’s dietary preferences and restrictions in choosing a restaurant.

  • Coffee date
    • Low-commitment
    • Casual atmosphere
    • Low-cost
  • Dinner date
    • More time-consuming
    • Greater commitment
    • Potentially more serious
    • More planning involved
    • Higher-cost

Read: 13 Signs There Will Be a Second Date

The Role of Alcohol and Food in a First Date

When it comes to a first date, choosing between drinks or coffee can set the mood and atmosphere. Both date options have their pros and cons, and the decision ultimately depends on your own personal preferences and dating goals.

Let’s talk about the roles of alcohol and food in a first date.

Alcohol is often associated with a more relaxed, social, and intimate atmosphere. Starting a date with a drink can help you and your date loosen up, feel more comfortable, and unwind. This can make it easier to kick off the date with a flowing conversation if you find yourself stiff on first dates.

However, drinking too much is a serious consideration. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inappropriate behavior, poor judgment, and poor decision-making, not to mention legal and moral issues surrounding consent.

When it comes to food, sharing a meal or dessert can be a great icebreaker, conversation-starter, and way to bond. Eating together with someone else—especially when you share food—is a powerful way to feel connected and intimate with them. When you eat, you can also show off your proper table manners and you have the opportunity to treat your date to a more expensive first date to show your investment in the relationship.

Take-Home Point: Choosing the Right First Date for You

Let’s face it: First dates are tough.

When deciding between drinks or coffee for a first date, there are several factors to consider: The atmosphere, the ambiance, timing, flexibility in scheduling, the price, your comfort with alcohol, and your intentions for the date.

As a general rule:

  • Choose coffee for a laid-back, flexible option that allows easy conversation in a casual environment.
  • Opt for drinks if you and your date both prefer a more lively atmosphere, enjoy nightlife, and want to loosen up with a drink.

Regardless of which activity you choose, remember that the main goal of a first date is to get to know your date and see if you’re compatible.

Choose the option you feel will bring you toward that outcome.

How to use dating apps to land more first dates

Hopefully these tips give some insights into whether to go for drinks or coffee on a first date.

When planning a first date with someone you met on a dating app like Hinge, Tinder, or Bumble, it’s important to plan ahead and do what you can to make it go well.

If you’re on dating apps and want to improve your dating profile so you land more first dates, we have you covered.

We at The Match Lab offer professional services to create dating profiles that attract high-quality matches.

If you’d like to find out which are your most attractive photos to use in your dating profile, give our dating photo analyzer a try. Just upload some photos of yourself, and our algorithm will reveal which photos you should be using in your profile and the ideal order they should go in.

If you’re looking for help with writing your dating profile, then check out our professional dating profile writing service.

Related articles:

8 Reasons Why You Should Kiss on the Second Date

Is Going for a Walk a Good First Date?

18 Tips to Avoid Getting Friendzoned on a First Date

When to Ask for a Second Date: How Long Should You Wait?

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