Doo-wop plays through your speakers while you and your boo get dolled up to look just like Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko. You’ve got the leather jackets, you’ve got the cuffed jeans, all you’re missing now is a place to go grab a malt and see a movie… just, maybe don’t try to cop a feel like Danny Zuko did in Grease.
Alright, all jokes aside: Having themed date nights is a great way to have a little more fun than the usual dinner and a movie or Netflix & Chill. With my ~vast~ knowledge of some great under-the-radar spots around Columbus (and a little help from an editor), I’ve come up with some solid inspo for a retro date night. There’s even a playlist so you don’t have to try your luck punching a jukebox.
Tommy’s Diner, 914 W Broad St
Tommy’s Diner is a place I discovered relatively recently and it’s quickly become one of my favorite spots around Columbus. Step inside and you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a 1960’s diner, but not like Waffle House (all respect to WH, though). The red booths and chrome detailing will make you feel like you’re the coolest kid in town, and the menu is impressive. Grab a burger, or breakfast food, or a gyro. Tommy’s has it all. And don’t forget to stop and admire some of the celebs who have stopped in Tommy’s and gotten a picture with the man himself. You could get a milkshake before you leave Tommy’s, or you could hop back in your slick ride and cruise to…
Johnson’s Real Ice Cream, 2728 E Main St
One of the staples of a retro date in the movies is the milkshake! And sure, you could go to Steak’n’Shake or UDF… or you could immerse yourself in the date night and get a milkshake at Johnson’s Real Ice Cream. Similar to Tommy’s, you might feel like you’re stepping back in time when you step into Johnson’s, but on a retro date night, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. There’s 50+ flavors of milkshake to choose from, so really go crazy with this one.
But, if you think grabbing a regular old milkshake isn’t the thing you’re going far, you won’t have to travel far to get to The Chop Shop at 2159 N High St. They have boozy milkshakes! Honestly, truly, learning this has made all my dreams come true. So if you’re ubering around, you can save a little money by breaking this up into a few dates. Go grab Tommy’s then come back to campus for boozy shakes and call it a night. Then, on the next date, make sure you check out…
The South Drive-In Theater, 3050 S High St
The South Drive-In Theater is a must visit for Ohio lovers. Let’s face facts: Drive-In theaters are going the way of RadioShack and Blockbuster, so who knows how long you’ll actually have to enjoy this great spot? A retro date night is the perfect time to finally check it out.
Well, if the lines that I see every weekend are any indication, it’ll be around for a long time, but you should definitely still go. Every weekend, the Drive-In starts movies at sundown, and each ticket gets you two movies, with workers directing you to whichever side you choose. Their website is a bit primitive, but it can tell you which movies will be shown. While the date might extend into the late late night (I think when I went to see Avengers Endgame and Captain Marvel, I was here until nearly 2 a.m.), I don’t think you’ll be complaining. What’s better than wrapping your arm around a date and eating popcorn while a movie plays? Not much.
No date night is complete without a playlist, so enjoy this great 50s and 60s playlist I threw together:
Not gonna lie to you, kinda surprised at the fact that most of these songs remain bangers to this day. I have this playlist going for the rest of today.