Recently, the young people in our office told us that their fellow youths will sometimes go on dates to IKEA. At first we thought it was a prank, like that time they told us feathered fedoras were in style and we each wore one in our social media profile pictures. But apparently, it’s a thing.
We still consider IKEA a place where couples break up, but it got us thinking about unusual places for date ideas.
So, they may be on to something with this whole shopping idea, but as diehard #shoplocalYEG supporters, we can’t in good conscience encourage chain store patronage. So pick a place — a local place — and start perusing.
Following the IKEA interior design date lead, head to Cosafina, Plum or Lot 34(2024 editor’s update: Lot 34 is now online only), and pick out the vases, pillows, decanters and knick-knacks you like most. It’s fine if you just window shop — the point is to share your stylistic tastes and see if they go well together. Just make sure that if it’s a first date, and you find something you love, you say “It’s perfect for my place,” not our place, because talking like that on a first date is creepy.
Not into interior design? Head to Blackbyrd Myoozik on Whyte Ave for some modern and classic vinyl then head downstairs to Junque Cellar for some antiques and books. It may be the best way to discover each other’s music and intellectual tastes, because if your date is still reading the Twilight series, or eagerly picking up a Kid Rock record, you should probably end things there.
Open Mic Comedy
First dates can be awkward, and long-term-relationship dating can become routine. But there is nothing more awkwardly entertaining than someone trying stand-up comedy for the first time — which can totally relieve any first-date awkwardness or revive a rutted relationship.
Yuk Yuk’s, River City Revival House, The Carrot and Sherlock Holmes in Sherwood Park each have nights where amateurs can get up on stage and bare their budding comedic souls while you sit back and bask in the wake of their flat punchlines — together. The beauty is that each set is five minutes, giving you plenty of conversation fodder with short breaks in between. And if you think you have a few minutes of material, or have memorized enough dad jokes and one liners, surprise your date by getting on stage yourself. You have as good a chance as anyone at actually being funny, and if your date doesn’t at least appreciate your bravery, that person isn’t the one for you.
Everyone knows that being good at karaoke has nothing to do with your voice — it’s all about attitude, showmanship and flair (although when someone thinks they can sing, and they do so very seriously, it’s the best). The only rule is that everyone always claps after every performance, and that supportive atmosphere makes for great date vibes. It’s similar to an open-mic comedy date, only it’s OK to talk throughout.
Rosie’s Bar & Grill is arguably the city’s karaoke queen, but Rosario’s Pub and Dockside Pub & Grill are great places to get your out-of-tune groove on and watch others do the same. After a full set of performers, and maybe a round of shots, consider getting up to get down with your date in that peak karaoke moment: the duet. We recommend “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” — it’s a classic song full of borderline hokey passion that lends itself to long looks and outstretched hand holding before the beat kicks in. You’ll be guaranteed to bring the house down, and it’ll be a date you’ll never forget.