A recent study showed that over 50% of singles in Singapore use some form of online dating. Tinder, if you are not familiar, is currently one of the most widely used mobile apps for connecting with people in the midst of an ever-growing online dating boom. From my perspective it used to have a much more dodgy reputation when it first came out (or maybe that was just the NYC scene), but nowadays is a legit way to connect singles here in Singapore and all around the world.
Now, I will not pretend to be an expert on the inner workings of the app or the rhymes or reasons for certain people using (and abusing) it, but I can help to provide some good advice on where to meet up with someone you’ve never meet before.
There are a couple of key factors for selecting a good place for a Tinder date:
1. Location, location, location. You want the place to be hip, but not so trendy you risk running into any of your mates, colleagues, or god-forbid last week’s Tinder date. In an area that provides dinner options if the date is going well, or quick MRT and taxi access if it’s not. Lastly don’t choose a place that’s too close to your own abode – you would hate to not be able to frequent your favorite local pub or dinner spot because of a bad date.
2. Ambiance. The place has to be full, but not too crowded. Dim lighting that is flattering, but not so dark you are liable to get kidnapped. Music that’s not so loud you can’t hear anything, but not so quiet it’s totally awkward. You also want your choice of place to show a little personality and be flexible to what you think he/she might enjoy, if you can.
Now, I’m only here to help you think about a few possible locations for a Tinder date, the rest is up to you…
1. The Flagship
One of the newest and most hidden bars in Singapore, this place shows you are hip on what’s new on the F&B scene but you are chill enough to get down in a dive bar setting. The Flagship is located on the cool, indie-chic Bukit Pasoh Road. It’s nearly undisclosed on the outside, but once inside you can find anything from high-end whiskey cocktails to jugs of beer for a game of beer pong.
If the date is going well, you can head just next door to Humpback to share some oysters and small plates. Sounds like a top-tier Tinder date if I do say so myself…
Possible excuse to escape: “Do the walls seem to be getting smaller? I’m not staying around for the mummy pharoah to revive. “
The Flagship: 18/20 Bukit Pasoh Rd Singapore 089832
2. Bitters and Love
Bitters and Love checks the boxes by being low-key, dimly lit and located within a not so easy to spot location in a row of random shophouses on the popular Telok Ayer St. (having relocated from their previous home on North Canal).
Their mixologists not only serve up great cocktails, but I think you can learn a lot about someone by their drink choice. If you feel confident in the fact that your date is definitely not a serial killer, check out the super cute globe lights and intimate setting out back.
Possible excuse to escape: “My OCD sickness is kicking in, I need to get out of here before I start rearranging the bottles.”
Bitters and Love: 118 Telok Ayer Street, 068587 | Tel: 6438 1836 | Website
cheapo’s risk adverse dates! Are you afraid the date might be a bust and don’t want to risk spending an arm and a leg at some ambiguously priced cocktail bar? Check out LOOF for their awesome week day happy hour deal. House drinks cost the same amount as the time – $5.00 at 5:00pm, $6.00 at 6:00pm, $7.00 at 7:00pm, etc., etc.
Bouns points: LOOF has a stunning rooftop view of the Raffles Hotel and downtown area. Guys, ladies love a place with a good view.
Possible excuse to escape: “I have a fear of open spaces – it’s called agoraphobia. Read a book.”
LOOF: 331 North Bridge Road, #03-07 Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop, Singapore 188720 | Tel: 9773 9304 | Website
4. Wine Connection (location furthest from your house)
I had to add Wine Connection to best places for a Tinder date because its laid-back environment says I like to keep it cool while its abundance of wine says I’m classy AF.
It’s also nice that you can strategically choose from multiple locations. If you are feeling peckish you can share some small plates without committing to a full dinner. Most of all what I like about Wine Connection is you always know what you are going to get. It’s a classic Singapore date spot.
Possible excuse to escape: “Guess what. I’m allergic to wine after all.”
Wine Connection (4 locations): 11 Unity Street, #01-19/20 Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995; 41 Cuppage Road, Singapore 229462; 4 HillView Rise #02-05/06 HillV2, Singapore 667979, 112 East Coast Road, #01-06/07, Singapore 428802 | Tel: 6235 5466 | Website
5. The Cufflink Club
For the cocktail enthusiasts, check out Cufflink Club, located in one of my most favorite areas for dinner and drinks. This place definitely says I am cool and hip and know my way around a cocktail bar.
With all the cool bars and restaurants in the vicinity I would suggest saving this spot for a second or third date. Save it for someone you really want to impress and foresee spending the full evening with bar hopping and dining nearby.
Possible excuse to escape: “I feel inadequate that everyone here has a moustache except me.”
The Cufflink Club: 6 Jiak Chuan Rd, 089262 | Tel: 9694 9623 | Website
Get out of the more central areas and head over to the vibrant Arab district for something a little less predictable. The long stretch of bar seating at LongPlay makes for an ideal Tinder date set up. Dim lighting and vintage theme for the win.
Its Haji Lane location also makes for a unique area to take a stroll through and provides good conversation starters. If the date is going well there are plenty of places along Haji Lane that play live music, aka have a good time without having to make conversation.
Possible excuse to escape: “I really need to get home to shampoo my pet tortoise.”
LongPlay: 4 Haji Lane / 33 Arab Street, Singapore 189197 | Tel: 6291 3323 | Website
Bincho is one of the most tucked away restaurants I have ever visited with an even more undercover bar to match. This is a great place if you are taking out a sake enthusiast or a party girl who claims to have been to every other cool cocktail bar or speakeasy on the island.
Even if you don’t prefer sake, their offerings of Japanese craft beers and cocktails are just as good. Be careful not to drink too much and suggest dinner here afterwards. The food is outstanding, but doesn’t come at ‘I just met you’ Tinder friendly prices.
Possible excuse to escape: “Did you know that drinking too much alcohol causes blindness? Is the room getting darker? Oh Gawd, help me!”
Bincho: #01-19, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, Singapore 162078 | Tel: 6438 4567 | Website
Napoleon is a rather inconspicuous place on a very conspicuous street. In my opinion this is a good spot for a quick glass of wine (they have self-service!) with good proximity to meeting up with your friends afterwards if things do not go well.
Activity points: I really enjoy how the Enomatic wine dispenser machines force you and your date to get up and walk around and chat over your selection. You can also try small samplings of a few different varieties. It’s a welcome alternative to sitting down, ordering from the waitress and then waiting awkwardly for your liquid courage to arrive.
Possible excuse to escape: “I’m so sorry, my kid wasn’t feeling well today so I need to get back to take care of her.”
Napoleon: 206 Telok Ayer St, 068641 | Tel: 6221 9282 | Website
9. Ergo Sum
Another low-key spot within a buzzing area, Ergo Sum is located at the very top of Duxton Hill, ideally situated out of the way but still in the scene. The vibe is pleasant with crooning jazz and acoustic tunes in the background and outdoor tables, perfect for enjoying a nice evening.
Ergo Sum has good deals with $10 cocktails from 4:00pm-8:00pm and buy 3 beers get 2 free all day. Another plus, the bar and cafe serves up high quality Aussie coffee creations if you or your date are not in the mood for booze.
Possible excuse to escape: “Oh if I don’t leave soon, my wife/husband is going to get angry.”
Ergo Sum: 13 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089597 | Tel: 6327 9153 | Website
10. Brewerkz (location furthest from your house)
Maybe it’s just because I’m a red-blooded American, but I don’t trust a girl who doesn’t enjoy a cold beer. If you feel the same way, test out her level of chill at one of the Brewerkz locations around Singapore. If you bring her here and she orders a Merlot, swipe her to the left.
This place provides the same atmosphere on a Wednesday after work as a Sunday afternoon making it a good go-to place for a last minute date, or place if you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. Bonus points: guys, you can also catch a glimpse of the big game while on a date. If she’s into the game too, she’s a keeper.
Possible excuse to escape: “Actually, I really despise sex. I’ve never had it and never will. Bill please.”
Brewerkz (4 locations): 30 Merchant Road, #01-05/06 Riverside Point, Singapore 058282; 2 Stadium Walk #01-06/07 Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore 397691; 1 Tanglin Road, #01-02 Orchard Parade Hotel, Singapore 247905; New location at Sentosa Boardwalk opening soon | Tel: 6438 7438 | Website
If you and your date hit it off at any of these locations, I want an invite to the wedding!