Despite what you all sometimes make me think when I’m mid-Tinder date, seduction is not rocket science. It requires a nice bit of scenery, good booze, good food and limited intrusion from your wait staff. These five places are guaranteed to deliver on a low-lit, romance-heavy vibe with a low enough volume that you can really get in there and massage your date’s mind with sparkling conversation — after all, it’s the most powerful sex organ we possess. If not, just order all the wine. All of it.
Click the restaurant names for location and directions.
SoBro – $$
Listen, this isn’t all about the food here. What you want is a place that screams, at the top of its lungs, that it deserves special anniversary privileges tonight. Nothing does that quite as efficiently as a cozy, dimly-lit Italian restaurant with a romantic garden. Combine that with a carb-induced serotonin rush and crack-like cheese high, toss in a few glasses of wine and those twinkle lights on the back fence will start to look like the distant lights of Rome or Venice. That means you’ll end your meal with your pants unbuttoned, and the end of the night with them all the way off.
Downtown – $$
Taking a date to the Eagle’s Nest means one of two things: either you’ve been together long enough that you’re celebrating an anniversary, or you’re Hail Mary-ing the mad dash to the bedroom with one final 360-degree panoramic view. The restaurant sits on the corner of the Hyatt downtown and spins slowly, giving you a gorgeous view of the downtown skyline from right in the middle of it. The food is pretty good with mostly steakhouse-style classics, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. We would probably warn you to get a firm grip on where you are relative to the bathroom before you start walking though, so your date doesn’t have to watch you do the hamster wheel thing. Bonus: Eagle’s Nest often runs deals on sites like Groupon, so keep your eyes peeled and your Googling fingers at the ready.
SoBro – $$$
Greg Hardesty has long been the king of local fine dining, which means that he can do all the heavy lifting as far as charming your date goes. If you’re trying to bed a self-proclaimed foodie, the only place you should take them is to either a dinner or at least a few shells at the raw bar. If you’re in an established relationship, make reservations for a prix-fixe dinner with wine pairings to guarantee special birthday sex later that night. You can make this trip as long or short as you want, and you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to worry about the quality of food or wine.
Downtown – $$
While the cigar bar is generally more appealing to the suit and tie set, there is something about venturing underground that takes the sexiness level up a notch. It’s not a club, but it retains a speakeasy vibe thanks to a lot of bartenders in vests and the lingering haze of sweet cigar smoke in the air. It’s also nice and quiet if you need a place to dazzle your date with either your razor wit or, if you’re trying to bomb it, your exhaustive mental catalogue of Michael Jordan movie cameos in the 90s. If you want to make your date feel like they’re getting special access to a special downstairs club before you invite them to your special downstairs club, start or end your night at Nicky Blaine’s.
Midtown – $
Ok, so maybe you’re a baller on a budget, but you still need to wow a date with great food and a great view. Courses offers you both of those things, and it’s run by the Ivy Tech culinary program, so you’ll get student-made food for a lot less money — think three courses of fine dining style food for a little over $20. (Suck on that, Applebee’s.) Courses regularly plays host to all kinds of local roundtables, dining events and cooking competitions, so you’ll have plenty of chances to check out the space in the cold light of day before you take a date. They post menus online regularly, and you can doubly impress your date by supporting young chef education.