A date at hot spot Edmund's Oast will require prior planning outside of just getting a commitment of a day and time. Showing up on a busy night and getting the "it should be about 45 minutes" isn't a good first impression. Call early and if you are really smart you will ask to sit at the chef's counter. Not only will you get to see the kitchen in action preparing your meal, but it will surely stimulate conversation during those sometime awkward pauses on a first date. This is true for other good first date spots Monza and Indaco, which also feature counters for viewing their open kitchens.
The vast selection of cocktails, wine, and beer means your date will be able to find something on their menu that they will like. The mixture of snacks, small plates, and full entrees allow you to mix-and-match a meal to each of your food preferences.
Not ready for a full meal? Grab a spot at the bar inside or at The Bower year round (you will be plenty warm underneath the heat lamps) or one of the many tables in the courtyard.
Within a short drive of Edmund's Oast are two breweries, Palmetto Brewing Co.and Revelry Brewing Co., as well as grown-up dive bar The Royal American, which all are great at booking live music to keep the night going post-dinner.
The Gin Joint
Cocktail bar The Gin Joint is a good spot for drinks or when a full on dinner isn't in the cards. The speakeasy has plenty of small plates to enjoy while you enjoy your cocktails. For the really adventurous, when it comes to drink ordering, challenge your mate to choose two adjectives for each other from the Bartender's Choice section of their menu, then await for a cocktail specifically made to exhibit those two descriptors. After a few drinks, you can always venture down to Waterfront Park for a swing on the pier or meander through the streets South of Broad to the Battery. If walking isn't your thing, forget the physical activity and make the short two block hop to the Belgian Gelato Shop.
Not everyone wants to trek downtown to go on a date especially if they live west of the Ashley. The Lot is that perfect spot for an amazing meal that feels a bit more special. This farm-to-table restaurant features a small, seasonal menu with large entrees worth sharing. The smaller number of options doesn't make it any easier, as each description from the server makes you want them all. Proximity to the Terrace Theatre, across the street, and the The Pour House next door can lend this to a date night with more than just one stop. Why not enjoy a great meal and then head next door to catch a show or instead cross the street to watch a new documentary with a glass of wine at your seat?
Graze is an unassuming restaurant located in the strip mall near the Mount Pleasant Whole Foods, and it delivers some of the best value in the city. Don't assume that means you are getting chicken fingers and hot dogs, think bulgogi, chicken and waffles, and duck confit. Not only will you impress your date with the rather eclectic menu, but you won't break the bank either.
Movie theater Cinnebarre is just down Houston Northcutt and bowling alley PINZ is another spot within a 5 minute drive. Want to really impress? Make a plan to hit the Pitt Street Bridge right before sunset. Take a nice stroll down the long row of palm trees, taking in the sounds and smells of the marsh, while enjoying the view of the harbor and the Charleston skyline.
Graze's newest location is near the heart of downtown Summerville. Grab a quick pint at Homegrown Brewhouse if you are in the mood for a South Carolina beer or stop by Accent on Wine for a glass of wine and charcuterie and cheese board before dinner. Just make sure you save room for dessert.
Located in a two story house just down Payne Court off Coming Street, Chez Nous is the classic example of a restaurant for a date. The menu features two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts, lending itself perfectly for a table for two. The best option is to order the entire menu, beautifully hand-written, to get the full experience. With the menu constantly changing, you will never have to worry about seeing the same dish upon each visit. To pair with the western Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant offers a well-curated and wine-geek friendly wine list.
Despite the restaurant being tucked away in Elliotborough, it is two blocks from the start of the long line of bars on Upper King for after dinner drinks at places like The Belmont or Proof. If you're feeling a bit more competitive, The Alley is just over a five minute walk so you can show off your ability to roll a mean Skee-Ball game.
In the end, what any good date boils down to is the person who is sitting across from you, the conversation and the laughs, the rest really just becomes background anyway. Best of luck.