Although I’ve been known to rail against the (ahem) “aesthetic choices” of single men in Victoria and have questioned whether my hometown really is one of the best cities for dating, when it comes to actual date night spots, it’s actually pretty great thanks to an abundance of gorgeous scenery and a thriving indie food & beverage scene.
If you’re looking to impress your date and/or want somewhere cool to hang out that isn’t a coffee shop or the beach (please, stop asking me if I’d like to “grab a coffee and go for a walk on the beach” for the 500th time) here are some date night spots in Victoria, BC that have been tried and tested by yours truly.
1. Little Jumbo.
If you visit Victoria, there’s a 95% chance I will take you to Little Jumbo — a small tucked away bar and restaurant that has a locals-only vibe. There’s a couple of reasons for this. For starters, it’s cozy and romantic (but still casual enough for a spur of the moment drink or laid back night out with friends), the ever-rotating cocktail menu is phenomenal and the food is delicious. Come for a cocktail or beer, stay for the truffle fries and leg of lamb (incredible).
2. Stage Wine Bar.
This is another of my go-to date spots. Whether its the first date or the 50th, you can’t go wrong with Stage Wine Bar. The high ceilings, exposed brick and candlelit tables give the place an urban, casually romantic feel. Naturally, they have a huge selection of wines, with glasses starting at around $6 (something thats becoming a rarity in Victoria, unfortunately). Plus — acoustics wise, it’s a lot quieter than the Fernwood Inn (the pub located across the street).
At first glance, this place looks like your stereotypical, slightly old-school hotel bar. However, inside you’ll find a selection of world-class, award winning cocktails. A local favourite, this is the perfect spot for a cozy drink with a date or a small group of friends. Oh, and they have a happy hour.
A local Victorian institution, Ferris’ has a great menu (OYSTERS!) and a cute garden patio that’s perfect for casual (but nice) date night. If you want to get a bit more fancy, upstairs they have their “Upstairs” seafood & oyster bar (which is one of my favourite places to go for a special occasion) and their sister restaurant Pero Negro, which serves delicious tapas.
Both of these bars/tapas joints are small, stylish and located in Trounce Alley — separated by another Victoria institution The Tapas Bar. While the Tapas Bar is great, it can get a bit noisy inside if you’re not able to secure a place on the patio. From what I understand, they’re all owned by the same company but each menu offers something slightly unique. Try one or hop between all three.
6. The Drake.
Looking for somewhere a bit more casual? Love craft beer? Head to the Drake. This lively spot features West coast craft beers and casual eats in historic Market Square. Also, compared to some of the other options on this list, it’s super affordable — making it a perfect first date spot, for when you want something nicer than a dive bar but still want to keep things fun and casual. FYI, they also serve cider and a handful of gluten free food options.
7. Chorizo and Co.
This is what happens when two guys who used to manage your favourite bar decide to open their own bar; completely revamping the previous iteration of Chorizo and Co. I love this little spot on Fort street. The cocktails and wine list are awesome, as is the small plates menu (perfect for impromptu date-night nosh). It’s also located a few blocks off the usual beaten path, giving the place a sense of intimacy. Like Stage, it’s stylish and low-key romantic. However, because C & C is still relatively new, you’re less likely to run into everyone you know there.
At some point I’ll put together a full post of my favourite “romantic restaurants” in the city (because people are always asking me for recs!), but in the meantime here are a few that are sure to be hits:
Where are some of your favourite date night spots in your city?