FOOD & DRINK EXPERIENCES
1. Brew and bottle your own beer at LA Homebrew.
It’s the date night that just keeps giving. Attendees brew beer during the first class, then finish and bottle it during the next class a few weeks later. They’ll take their beer with them—to potentially enjoy during another date night at home. If beer’s not your thing, watch for the company’s multi-class wine-making courses. Find info at lahomebrew.com.
2. Shop at local international grocers and make something new at home.
You don’t need to book a flight to dine internationally for a night. Pick up kimchi, exotic fruits, bao buns and fish sauce at Asian markets (like Vinh Phat, Asian Supermarket, Bao Vietnamese Kitchen and Oriental Market). Head to Mexican grocers (such as La Morenita, La Tienda and Ideal Market) for dried chilies, tortilla masa, banana leaves and nopales. And don’t miss spots like Fashion India and Groceries, EuroMarket and Cannatella Grocery for other specialty cultural ingredients.
3. Participate in trivia night and put all those hours watching TV to good use.
Sure, binge watching Netflix is an easy bonding activity at home. But isn’t it even better when you get to show off your encyclopedic knowledge of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Office in front of everybody at the bar? We’ve seen trivia nights at spots like Brickyard South, Willie’s Restaurant & Bar and Mid Tap. Follow local restaurants on social media, or follow local group Let’s Get Quizzical Trivia Nights on Facebook for its event roster.
4. Go to a food truck roundup and share dishes from each truck.
DIY your own small-plates meal by mixing and matching entrees and sides from local trucks like Rock Paper Taco, Geaux Cuban, The Big Cheezy and Rouge-A-Roux’s. Watch for recurring roundups at Perkins Rowe, or meet downtown for lunch on a weekday, when trucks are frequently parked on and around North Street.
5. Try a wine flight at Blend Wine Bar.
Indulge in a romantic dinner over wine at this rustic wine bar. Dim lighting, brick walls and fine wine make you feel like you’re overseas sipping merlot at a French speakeasy. Share a bottle with your date or get the best of three bottles by mixing it up with wine flights. blendbr.com
6. Sip cocktails at Hayride Scandal.
There’s no such thing as being overdressed. Especially when you’re sipping cocktails that look like they came straight from an episode of Mad Men. Get dressed in your best vintage attire, and try a fancy cocktail from this moody, Prohibition-themed bar. hayridescandal.com
7. Hire a private chef to cook for you.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a chef-prepared meal at your home. Hire a local chef to cook a three-course meal for you and your date right in your own kitchen. Look on websites like Take A Chef and Salted Chef to find a private chef in Baton Rouge.
8. Stretch your dinner date budget by watching for dining deals.
All those appetizers and glasses of wine add up fast. And isn’t it special when you still have room in your stomach—and wallet—for dessert? Subscribe to restaurant mailing lists—or, shameless plug, our own 225 Best Eats—to watch for specials. We’ve published deals for restaurants ranging from Eliza to City Pork to BRQ to Elsie’s Plate and Pie, and many more. 225besteats.com
9. Get beer flights at Mid City Beer Garden.
You don’t have to be a craft beer fanatic to enjoy the city’s hot new beer garden. The open-air space on Government Street is the perfect casual restaurant to get an out-of-this-world grilled cheese, tomato basil soup and a beer flight on the side. The beer garden has 60 beers on tap, so the options are limitless. Find it on Facebook
10. Set up a picnic.
The best things in life are free—or at least affordable. Pick up your date’s favorite fruits, snacks and bread from a local grocery store like Rouses or Matherne’s. Then grab a blanket, basket (or tote bag) and some wine, and head to a scenic outdoor spot like the levee, LSU lakes or one of BREC’s parks. As a bonus: Bring a bluetooth speaker for tunes and tea light candles to set the mood.
11. Shop for wine and cheese at 3Tails.
You can never go wrong with wine and cheese for date night. Make your own charcuterie board at home after hand-picking aged cheeses and artisan wine at the stylish Mid City wine and cheese shop together. Don’t know what you’re looking for? No worries. Ask owner Scott Higgins for tips, and he’ll point you in the right direction. 3tailsbr.com
12. Sign up for a wine dinner.
Wine and dine your special someone with a romantic wine dinner at a local restaurant. Buy your tickets, get dolled up and let the chefs handle the rest. We’ve seen wine dinners at local spots like Alexander’s Highland Market, Matherne’s Market downtown, Rouj Creole, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and The Little Village. Check local restaurants’ Facebook pages or e-mail lists to RSVP for upcoming events.
13. Sign up for a cooking class.
Whether your date is America’s next top chef or the world’s worst baker, cooking classes are fun for everyone. Learn how to make 30-minute dinners, hearty soups and cheese boards at places like Atlas Foundation, Red Stick Spice Co., Ruffino’s Restaurant or the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Check the organizations’ websites to view their calendars.
14. Enjoy a play.
This spring, bring your date to New Venture Theatre’s take on Annie or Theatre Baton Rouge’s A Doll’s House, Part 2. Check the calendars of other theater groups such as Red Magnolia Theatre Company, Playmakers of Baton Rouge and Swine Palace.
15. Take dance classes.
Dancing together builds trust. Learn to salsa with Salsa Rouge Dance Company, how to move to Cajun and zydeco music with Louisiana Folk Roots and how to ballroom dance with companies like Ric Seeling Dance Studio.
16. Spend a night with the symphony or at the ballet.
Could there be anything as romantic as listening to a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 by Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra? How about a 1920s-style show at the Old Governor’s Mansion by Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre? Check the schedules of other performing arts groups like Opera Louisiane and Of Moving Colors.
17. Sign up for Bandsintown and never miss a local concert.
Specify your favorite artists in the app so you’ll get notifications when a show you might be interested in gets booked nearby. Whether you’re dreaming of Elton John or Taylor Swift coming back to Baton Rouge, or you prefer to check out local acts like Hydra Plane or CJ Solar, you’ll never miss the chance to bounce around at a show together.
18. Join a movie club, and make weekly movies a thing.
Subscribe to monthly all-access theater subscriptions like AMC Stubs A-List or Cinemark Movie Club. If indie flicks are more your thing, watch for Manship Theatre’s lineups. The downtown theater is showing all the 2020 Oscar-nominated shorts, documentaries and animated films this month, and it often screens films that are hard to find elsewhere.
19. Browse the latest museum exhibits with free admission.
Sundays are the perfect days to indulge in art and culture. LSU Museum of Art, Capitol Park Museum, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Magnolia Mound Plantation and USS KIDD Veterans Museum all offer free entry on the first Sunday of the month. The Knock Knock Children’s Museum also sometimes offers free Sundays later in the month.
7. Take a bike ride.
Rent a Gotcha bike and explore Baton Rouge at a slower pace. Circle the University and City Park lakes. Watch the Mississippi River flow from the levee bike path. Or challenge each other on the hilly, woodsy Comite River Park Trail.
20. Have couples portraits taken.
Who says you have to be engaged, expecting a baby or celebrating a wedding to have your pictures taken together? Invest in images you’ll treasure forever, and know that you are supporting a local photographer’s business in the process.
21. Learn to throw an ax.
Head to Mid City for the Capital Region’s newest ax throwing classes. At Civil Axe, pros will teach you throwing skills and how to hit the target. You can even bring your own food and drinks.
22. Book a staycation at a local hotel or Airbnb.
Pick a neighborhood and find a room to match your weekend’s vibe. Explore downtown from a funky Spanish Town bungalow, experience Mid City’s hottest restaurants and attractions after spending a night at a colonial Garden District house, rent a riverside cabin just outside town for an outdoorsy weekend, or order room service at one of our many area hotels.
23. Get a couples spa treatment.
The couple that self-cares together, stays together. Book a couples massage at 225’s Best Spa winner Bumble Lane, get facials together at a spot like The Woodhouse Day Spa, or book an entire Valentine’s Day Couples Retreat at Le Roche Bleu Day Spa.
24. Start a costume or crafting nook at home.
Louisiana does costumes like no one else. From Mardi Gras to Halloween, with hip events like Surreal Salon in between, there’s no reason not to be planning your couples costumes year-round. Pick up supplies from shops like Party Paradise, Parties Start Here or Party Time.
25. Go antique and vintage shopping in Mid City.
Dates don’t have to be extravagant. Keep it simple and eco-friendly by thrifting. Try on luxe ’60s garments at Time Warp, flip through vinyls at Pop Shop Records and browse funky gems at Pink Elephant Antiques or Polished Peacock Antiques.
26. Bowl at Red Sick Social.
Roll into Red Stick Social to grab cocktails and American fare before heading upstairs to strike some pins. redsticksocial.com
27. Dance at Splash Night Club.
At-home dance parties are fun, but dancing the night away at Splash is better. This LGBTQ-friendly night club is known for its high-energy dance music, drag queen performances, karaoke nights and themed parties.
28. Go golfing at Topgolf.
Golf like the pros at this high-tech driving range. The three-floor venue is stacked with 72 golf bays, each with its own interactive touch screen, high table or couch. It’s OK if you’ve never golfed before. Employees will give you pointers. topgolf.com
29. Take a fitness class.
Date nights don’t have to be spent at a dinner table. Get in shape together at Barre3, The Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa, Pure Barre, Orangetheory Fitness, Tread BR, Yogalates and more.
30. Do yoga together.
Quiet your mind and move your body at one of the yoga studios in town. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, unwind at a hot, restorative or sunrise yoga session at studios like More & More I Am Yoga Studio, One Heart Yoga Center, Preservation Yoga, Yoga Bliss, Yoga Path and Yoga Rouge.
31. Play some old-school arcade games.
Are you dating an avid video gamer? Make their dreams come true at one of the arcades around town. Play the classics like skee-ball and Pac-Man at Celebration Station or virtual reality games like Virtual Rabbids at Quarters and Main Event. Make it a competition: The person who wins the most games buys dessert.
This article was originally published as part of our Date Night cover story in the February 2020 issue of 225 Magazine. Click here to read more article from the cover package.