Following a recent break up, I did as the newly single do and stayed in bed watching every episode of Grey’s Anatomy and eating box upon box of instant mashed potatoes. Eventually gaining motivation, I decided that instead of hermitting myself, I should go date the shit out of Brooklyn. At bars, I started asking out every guy who was good in the face, sometimes under the guise of “Hey, I’m writing an article an article about cheap dates…”
Dating, however, can be a financial investment and a boring, time wasting nightmare. Who wants to blow 50 bucks and three hours on a meal with a psychotic oversharer? To date a lot, you need a low budget and a fun itinerary with an easy escape, which each of the following outings offer. Some may end well, some will end in 22 texts and a stalker, but isn’t that the point?
A goat with a bud light lime.
Roti and Roadies
I think dates should all start at a bar. You get a drink, a quick read of a person and a quick exit, if necessary. This date started at Lincoln Park Tavern, where happy hour goes until 9 (!) and includes $2 PBRs, $5 draft beers and $1 off everything. Respectably, there is also a $6 PBR-and-shot combo all night. They have a pool table as well as nights designated for karaoke, bands and comedy shows. After a couple of beers, we went to Trinidad Ali’s Roti Shop and each got a $7 goat roti, a Caribbean dish of meat/curried veggies wrapped in something like unleavened naan. It may not be the best date food — it’s pretty messy, heavy and you have to pick bones out of your mouth. We took our goat rotis some road sodas and headed to Prospect Park a few blocks away. This was the best date by far. I definitely didn’t recognize him when he walked in after meeting him for five minutes at a bar. Turns out the guy is some sort of tall Clark Kent who can do shots like a pro and made spitting bones out of his mouth look banging. If that didn’t win me over, the fact that he thinks he can beat me at Street Fighter definitely did. Ken beats Ryu always.
Lincoln Park Tavern, 49 Lincoln Rd., Prospect-Lefferts Garden, (718) 282-7097
Trinidad Ali’s Roti Shop, 589 Flatbush Ave., Prospect-Lefferts Garden, (718) 462-1730
Prospect Park with Bud Light Lime and goat roti.
Ping Pong and Oysters
There are plenty of places for $1 Oysters, but I personally like Miller’s Tavern. They have a Monday through Friday happy hour from 4 – 8, where oysters and jumbo shrimp are a buck each and there are rotating drink deals. When I went, a gin/vodka soda was $4, a Miller High Life was $3 and wine was $5-6. To be honest this wasn’t exactly a cheap date. I had planned on just the dollar treats, but when the waitress came over he basically ordered everything on the menu and said I could just pay for the oysters. Worked for me. We continued the date across the street at PIPS, a donation-based ping pong place sponsored by Tiger Beer. The guy who works there said most people donate about $5, which is within my budget. Caution: bright lights.
Don Pedro’s back room concert space.
Video games and skeeball
Barcade is the place with a great beer list and walls lined with old arcade games. They have $1 off beers/well drinks until 8 on weeknights, and until 5 Saturday and Sunday. Barcade is controversial, but if you get there before 7 you can actually play a game and sit and have a good beer and not get the packed pre-Union Pool crowd. This date kept trying to sit down and share his deepest feelings of isolation when all I wanted to do was play Pac Man. Regardless of the warning signs, we then went to Don Pedros, which is not very nearby, but once we video gamed at Barcade I felt like I needed some skee balling. Luckily, Don Pedros is a one-stop shop for playing skee ball, drinking cheap drinks and listening to live music. Their happy hour is $1 off all drinks 4 – 9 every day. If things go well there is a photo booth to help you remember his/her face the next day. Side note — in case I ever ask you out, I am a skee ball shark.
Pork Buns at ZuZu Ramen.
Performance and Pork Buns
Littlefield is a performance art space in Gowanus that has a whole bunch of different events that typically range from $5 – $15. They have $3 miller high life and a $7 MHL + shot deal. Of course this isn’t the most conducive to talking and getting to know someone — which in this case, not a bad thing. After leaving we decided to grab a pork buns at ZuZu Ramen, one of my favorite ramen places. So other than the person involved in this night, and his overuse of direct eye contact, it was a really fun plan (one I recycled later on).
Shuffle Board and free pizza
The Diamond is a bar in Greenpoint with an awesome rotating beer list. I went here because they have shuffleboard and a ring toss out back. These are both pretty frustrating games to me, because I suck, but a good date opener. Their happy hour is Monday through Friday from 5 – 7 and consists of $3 Otter Creek Beer, $3 glass of Malbec, $5 Tempranillo and a chosen $4 pint of beer. After here we walked over to Lulu’s, a free- pizza-with-a-drink place. I had two pizzas, my date had like a slice. Typically this would have meant it was over for us, but after a few jokes and eating garlic powder straight up with his fingers, things were back on. Also… this guy was in Cash Cab once and won almost $2,000… which means he is a genius. I could date a genius. Yin and Yang baby.