Coffee vs Dinner: What to do for a First Date?

by Samara

This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure for more info.

One of the most significant decisions when going on a first date (besides what you’ll wear) is what you should do. Is an intimate dinner too much or does a coffee date scream “friend” vibes? Well, I’m going to help you to decide. There are pros and cons to both but in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

First of all, the best way to make a decision is to ask! If you’re comfortable, it’s a good idea to ask them where they would prefer to go. Or if you have been talking to this person long enough you will be able to figure out their personality and kind of already know what their expectations are for the first date. 

When meeting someone for the first time, it is also important to pick the right time. The time of day could be a big deal to them. A young woman might feel safer going on a coffee outing or a long coffee date than meeting at the end of the night for drink dates. Or she might just be up for a typical dinner date and love the idea of dressing up and putting on a full face of makeup.

If you still can’t decide, here are some pros and cons for coffee dates and dinner dates:

Coffee for a first date


  • It takes the pressure off the initial meeting. If you’re in a public place (which is also safer), you can dress casually and let your guard down while sipping a caffeinated beverage. 
  • You can have a good conversation and get to know each other better. 
  • You can cut the date short if you need to. Let’s be honest, sometimes the vibe just isn’t there. If the date is not going as you expected you can politely end the date with no hard feelings.
  •  It’s a low investment. Whether your local coffee shop is family owned or a large franchise, it’s unlikely you’ll spend a significant amount of money.
  • It’s a good spot for a blind date. Why? See the pros above.


  • You both may not be coffee drinkers. Most coffee shops have other beverages on the menu besides coffee but if you can’t drink coffee because it makes you nervous or jittery, opt for something else on the menu.
  • It’s not romantic. Coffee shops are usually where business meetings happen or where you may meet up with a friend for a study session or a quick chat. However, you may be able to find a coffee shop with a romantic ambiance that would be the perfect place for a date.

Dinner for a first date


  • It may show how serious you are. Dinner may come across as a show of putting in effort or a small investment into what could be a blossoming relationship. 
  • You get to impress them. If you picked a nice restaurant, you’re already scoring bonus points. 
  • You get to have deep conversations. In such an intimate setting it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know more about each other.


  • It may be too intense. Dinner for a first date can be very intense and can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on someone.
  • It can be expensive and I’m not just talking about the food. When you factor in possibly buying an outfit, travel costs, and also their food tastes, that bill starts to add up really quickly for both parties. 
  • It’s harder to leave early. If the date isn’t going as expected it will come off weird if you have to leave right after the appetizers or before your food gets to the table (awkward).

Other Ideas for a first date:

  • Live music
  • Farmers market
  • Activity date (hiking, walking in the park, sip and paint)
  • Escape room
  • Music Festival
  • Group yoga class
  • Poetry Reading
  • Bike ride
  • Amusement park
  • Brunch
  • Comedy Show

In my humble opinion, meeting over a cup of coffee is a great way to get to know someone new. Especially in this age of online dating, meeting someone from a dating app in an open public space calms first-date nerves and also seems like the safest thing to do. You may opt for a dinner date as a second date or a third date. If it’s someone you may have known for some time and want to make a good impression on them a dinner date is fine too.

A good rule of thumb before deciding on where to go for a first date is to gauge their level of interest as much as you can to see what they would be most comfortable with. Or like I said earlier, it does not hurt to ask. Remember, first impressions matter so do your due diligence.

But whether you have a daytime date or a nighttime date, the best first date is one where you both come as your best self and have a good time.

What are your thoughts on coffee or dinner for a first date? Let’s chat. 

You may also like


Kareem September 15, 2019 - 8:21 pm

First of all if she has a problem with coffee for the first date, right off the bat I know she’s not my kinda girl. What is she after nice things or a good man?

Samara September 16, 2019 - 7:02 am

Exactly! I feel like sometimes we focus on the wrong things too much like what we can get out of the situation instead of trying to get to know someone so I totally agree with your comment!

Victoria Addington May 26, 2023 - 12:11 pm

My son has asked the girl he likes out on a date and has been seeking advice on possible dates. It’s a good thing you talked about going for coffee since it will make the first meeting less tense. It would likely be their first date, and I believe that doing this would help to ease the nerves. I’ll be sure to let him know about this and look at accessible coffee restaurants in the area.

Samara June 18, 2023 - 4:10 pm

Awesome! I. hope the date went well 🙂


Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More