In the Tinder age, old-guard dating formalities are dead. Modern courtship is ambiguous and difficult. So too is finding the right date for each phase. A rib joint on a first hang, for instance? Big, sloppy mistake. So in honor of this month of love, we help you brave warriors of the heart navigate the biggest date night of the year.
There’s a kink in your neck from an all-day text sesh with that barfly. You might “bump into him later” but you’ve never gone out. Meet up or get off the phone.
Flight Cleveland is the low-stakes first date you need. The 29-bottle draft wine bar is quicker than ordering a bottle if the IRL hang feels wrong. If conversation flows, settle in with tasting flights and a cozy atmosphere. Plus, you can shop the 400-label marketplace if things warrant an at-home nightcap. 5712 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-400-6867, flightcleveland.com
Sure, you’re still texting that side flame, and your friend matched with this potential main squeeze on Tinder, but this might be going somewhere — even if you’re keeping your options open.
Let your love collide in the new bumper cars at Downtown
Akron’s Lock 3 Park. Surrounded by a budding cityscape, you can zoom across the ice rink in battery-operated, joystick-controlled inflatable tubes before exploring the nearby nightlife. $10, 200 S. Main St., Akron, 330-375-2877, lock3live.com
The dating apps have been deleted. You pity the poor fools stuck playing those games. Going out seems pointless, and friends wonder where you’ve been. Netflix and chill is a lifestyle.
Bask in honeymoon-phase glory by cooking in. Edwins Butcher Shop is the recipe for a decadent dinner with fresh cuts, and aged and cured meats. You can even learn to love a vegetarian as Edwins’ “vegetable butcher” peels, chops or slices veggies to order. Or pick up a prepared meal and get back to the couch. 13024 Buckeye Road, Cleveland, 216-417-1100, edwinsrestaurant.org
“When are you going to pop the question?” everyone asks. Not yet, but at this point, marriage is simpler than a break up.
By now, you’ve done it all. So climb to new heights at Nosotros Rock Climbing Gym, a gym in a renovated church basement. With a dedication to providing a community atmosphere and great date nights, the rope-free, 14-foot wall is a master class in trust and encouragement — the recipe for a long-term bond. $11.99, 14321 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, gonosotros.com