February 2020 is the month that you turn your romantic life around and are finally back on top of things. (Even if you’ve historically been a bottom.) Dating seems more complicated than ever as new dating apps constantly emerge, traditional monogamous relationships are rethought, and what seems like all of our parents’ marriages fail – but there is hope! We live in a city abounding with beautiful people and amazing places to take them on dates. I’ve always thought that in order to be successful in dating, you have to express your individuality via a great location. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “How do I find these places your overly romantic ass is talking about?” Consider yourself blessed to have a friend like me, because I’m about to get you hip to all the best date spots I’ve found around Columbus for all types of dates throughout my years at Ohio State, getting more creative as we go.
The Hidden Gem: The Plantain Cafe (77 E. Gay St.)
Located downtown, The Plantain Cafe consistently serves up fresh, flavorful, authentic Cuban cuisine. I love little mom-and-pop restaurants like this one, but I never find one right in the middle of the city like The Plantain Cafe is. The restaurant simultaneously creates a cozy and exciting atmosphere with vibrant Cuban-inspired decor, beautiful plants, and downtown location. Additionally, you will always get the friendliest service in the city here, making you feel at home. The menu has a plethora of unique options to choose from at affordable prices, inviting you to try new things. I recommend the beef plantain roll appetizer, the fried chicken entree, the key lime pie for dessert, and a carafe of the white sangria to drink. With this order, you’ll be feeling rosy as hell and ready to explore downtown with your date.
Fine Dining: Lindey’s (169 E. Beck St.)
Maybe your personality isn’t your strength, but your wallet is. Let that baby sing its siren song, and take your date to Lindey’s for a fine ass dining experience. They will definitely be impressed because this place has been a top-ten Columbus restaurant since it opened its doors in historic German Village in 1981. Expect to spend about $25-$30 per plate (not including drinks), and expect to finish with an empty plate. It will be a meal you remember and (more importantly) will definitely be one that your date remembers. The ambiance of Lindey’s is off the charts with their classy decor and private nooks where you’ll find your table. Being in the German Village gives it extra points because everybody is a sucker for those cute ass brick roads. What a great place to stroll after your meal.
City Staples Dates
Get Cultured: Short North Gallery Hop (First Saturday of the month)
I’ve always found viewing art with someone to be a very accurate way to get a read on them. The Short North Gallery Hop offers a great opportunity to check out local art with your date in an atmosphere that isn’t as quiet and awkward as a museum. Instead you can saunter around the Short North, taking in galleries with art that you can’t afford, the many murals of the neighborhood, or just poking fun at the army of snooty people who will be in attendance (my personal favorite). Regardless, there will be plenty of fodder for conversation and lots of options for a quick bite to eat in the Short North without the traffic that’s sure to come on actual Valentine’s Day – I recommend Brassica or The Eagle.
Quiet, Intimate Date: The Book Loft (631 S. 3rd St.)
Is conversation not really your thing? No worries, the Book Loft in the German Village will leave both you and your date speechless with its IMMENSE collection of books to shop from. The Book Loft has over 500,000 books on its shelves, so there is something for everybody. Even if you are not a huge reader, it is still really cool exploring the 32 different rooms that make up this nationally renowned, independently owned bookstore. It really is much more than a bookstore. This place is like a book maze in which you can immerse yourself. Also, it’s an icon of the city that we can take pride in as multinational corporations like Amazon take over without any regard for the communities in which they operate. Maybe on the car ride back, you and your date can listen to Fight the Power and bond over your desire for revolution? Or you can just stop for one of the best sandwiches in town at Katzinger’s right up the street.
Double Date: Mad River Mountain (1000 Snow Valley Rd., Zanesville, OH)
As covered on page 30, College Friday’s at Mad River Mountain in Zanesville are the most affordable way to ski around here. Let it be known, if this is your first time skiing, it will not go very well. However, your date will probably find it hilarious when you eat shit, so you’ll get points for having a good sense of humor. I recommend a double date for this one because it will ease the tension some, make things funnier, and make the hour long car ride less awkward. The ride there sucks, but you will get an awesome opportunity to show your date all your amazing Spotify playlists. Make one with some cute romantic songs that make you think of your date. They’ll appreciate the sentiment.
Trippy Date: Otherworld (5819 Chantry Dr.)
Looking for a date that’s far out, man? Check out Otherworld, a Columbus art installation curated by over 40 local artists, consisting of 47 science-fiction/ fantasy inspired rooms. Tickets are $22 each, and they are worth every cent. I have never seen such an immersive art experience. It’ll trip you and your date out in a good way – opening up your realms of possibility and sparking creativity. Otherworld is a really cool, new way to experience art. You’ll look like you’re up to date on the art culture of Columbus if you pull this one out for a date, and it will appear that you’re down to experience new things. A recipe for a perfect date in my opinion. If you’re feeling braver than me, take some psychedelic mushrooms together beforehand, and definitely let me know how that goes.