Food & Wine, Social

a l l   a b o a r d 

t h e

t i n d e r   t r a i n

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you would have heard about the mobile ‘dating’ app, Tinder. Perhaps you’ve used it yourself? You probably know someone who has. Marketed by it’s creators as the ‘worlds most popular app’, it brings singles together based on location and age, then shows any mutual (Facebook based) interests and friends hoping to result in a real life connection. Well that’s the idea anyway.

In my two years of singledom, I’ve given it a go. I’m sure others will relate to this; probably about 5 times now I’ve downloaded the app, used it for a little while, thought about my life choices and then deleted it again. My own experiences have been mixed. I’ve gotten a few dates out of it, made some friends and on more than one occasion, developed a mild case of swipe-based RSI. 

There are a few reasons to use Tinder. To genuinely meet new people – romantically or other, to get an easy shag or as entertainment while sitting amongst friends and exchanging screen shots of prospective suitors. C’mon… we’ve all done it. For those who have jumped aboard the Tinder train and moved past conversing within the app into a real life scenario, you will come to be able to recognise the characteristics of a Tinder first date from a mile away.

First dates are always slightly uncomfortable and scary at the best of times. Will there be any chemistry? Will you have anything to talk about? To help alleviate as much awkwardness as possible from the situation, I believe picking the right location is key. Now I’m not the first to write about the perils of application-based dating in our modern world and I’m certainly no expert in the matter so I advise you to take this all with a grain of salt. What ability I do have confidence in is recommending excellent places in Adelaide to set the scene for your romantic rendezvous.

So, let’s break it down. There are many variables to consider before picking the right spot and locking down the date. For example, how much have you spoken to this person so far? Have you moved from Tinder to text to talking? Has it been a few hours or a few weeks? How many mutual friends do you have? Do you have many common interests?

First tip. Avoid a traditional sit down style dinner. Oh no, no, that is a high risk option my friend. Nothing is worse than sitting down for a meal with someone who may not be on the same wave length as you. You’ll be stuck in an intimate setting with a minimum time frame attached. However, if you are looking to dine with your date, go for a tapas or share style option. This way you can both order things you like, you get an idea of how culinarily adventurous the other person is, and it gives you something to talk about. Just beware of the person who doesn’t like to share.


Udaberri (Leigh Street) – Dark and sexy with a delicious selection of tapas and pintxos. Always good tunes and despite the abundance of new bars to have opened up in Adelaide in the last couple of years, Uda is still hands down my favourite.

Yum Cha at Star House (Gouger Street) – Crazy busy and super fun. Eat all the things then go and walk it off with a mosey through the parklands nearby.

Mother Vine (Vardon Avenue) – Keeping it classy. These guys do a mean cheese platter (‘The Motherboard’) and heaps of delicious small plate options. 

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Second tip. Have a game plan. This usually involves picking somewhere to start with the potential to move on, or leaves the option of an out if necessary. I would do this by making it a beverage based date. Two options, coffee or alcohol.  Now coffee is good because it will generally mean an early start and there certainly isn’t a lack of places new and old to choose from. A mid morning or mid afternoon coffee hang means that if it goes well there’s the option to progress to lunch or dinner. If it’s not going well, one quick coffee and you’re out.


Cafe Troppo (Whitmore Square) – Great atmosphere and delicious coffee, what more do you need? If dating on a Friday, stick around for a drink and live music.

Hey Jupiter (Ebenezer Place) – Packed with personality and somewhere you can watch the world go by.

 La Moka (Peel Street) – Lovely upstairs area and plenty of options in the neighbourhood to kick on for a drink if you’re enjoying your company.

Same theory works for meeting at a bar or pub, this time with the added benefit of alcoholic lubrication. Yes, good for confidence boosting but leaves the potential scenario of getting too drunk and making a dick of yourself (*speaks from experience*). Another thing to consider here is which kind of place do you go to for a drink? A busy pub or a warm and cosy wine bar? Both have benefits. Pubs are fun and casual but can be rowdy. A small wine bar could be more intimidating but also somewhere you can ensure the potential for sharing a decent conversation without having to yell.

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The Exeter (Rundle Street) – An Adelaide institution and a first date ‘safe place’. Try and score an outside table, however there’s a good chance you’ll bump into someone you know.

Hotel Wright Street (Wright Street) – Beer garden by day, dim lit bar area by night. Perfect for a mid week, early evening date.

The Wheatsheaf (George Street, Thebarton) – A Sunday sesh at the Wheaty is perfect for a casual catch up with good beer and live music. Feeling peckish? Duck over to The Deli across the road.


Cork Wine Cafe (Gouger Street) – Cute and cosy with excellent staff who know their stuff. If all goes well you can move onto Ying Chow or another Gouger Street favourite for dinner. If not, get some BBQ City takeaway and run. 

Cantina Sociale (Sturt Street) – Tucked away in the South West corner, amazing wine straight from the barrel and one of my all time favourite date places in town.

Proof (Anster Street) – Epitome of a sexy laneway spot. Sit at the bar or head upstairs to the outdoor area, sip on a cocktail and soak up some New York City feeling vibes.

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Third tip. Make it recreational. Concerned about having enough to talk about? Organise a date in which you DO something. You could keep it old school, a movie? Boring. You have time to chat before and after the film but stuck in awkward silence in the middle (Did he see me miss my mouth with the popcorn? Did I laugh too loud? Oh god I can’t check my phone for 2 hours!). No, save the movie for when you’re deep in the couple zone. Bowling, mini golf? Nope. So how about a market? God knows there are plenty on in Adelaide these days to choose from.  Whether it be the Central, farmers or vintage kind. This option allows plenty to see and talk about. There will be the ability to eat and drink things as well as being somewhere you could do just one lap or settle in for the afternoon depending on how you’re gaging the success of your extracurricular activity.


Adelaide Central Market (Grote/Gouger Streets) – Perfect for a breakfast date amongst throngs of people. Date not interesting? Least your surroundings will be.

Market Shed on Holland (Holland Street) -Feeling fresh on a Sunday morning? This is the place to go, a foodies dream and visual smorgasbord.

 Flinders Street Market (Flinders Street, duh) – Regular weekend market in the big blue shed featuring heaps of stalls, live music and changing themes. 

Other options to consider.  A gig. Gigs are always fun. You have an instant ice-breaker in talking about the music if clutching at straws to make conversation about anything else. Dessert cafe. If you’re already feeling confident and that you might be onto a good thing with your Tinder date, dive straight in with a dessert cafe. Get sexy and share a salted-caramel-something. A bike ride. A good, low cost option. Super cute date but beware of the conundrum of helmet hair.  The Garden of Unearlthy Delights. A Goddamn dating GOLDMINE. If you’re going to be single, you want to be singIe in Mad March. A drink and a show? A ride on the Ferris wheel? Sharing dinner amongst the fairy lights? Ah, perfection. So next time you’ve swiped and stalked and you’re ready to saunter into phase two of the Tinder timeline, make sure you pick a good location. Your date could turn out to be your next partner or they may not be your cup of tea but at the very least you’ve had a little bit of romance with some of Adelaides best.  Please note: I take no credit for any of the photos used in this piece. All taken from Facebook.


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