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The Best Date Spots in the Castro

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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Nailing the perfect venue is an absolutely essential component to the success of a date. But here's the thing: What makes a great first date spot is definitely not the same as what makes a place the best to celebrate a special occasion or even a second date — so deciding where to take a plus-one doesn't always get the same answer. Every situation has different needs — neighborhood, vibes, price point — and it can be tricky to find the right bar or restaurant if you've never been there. So next time you're trying to pick a fitting location, just consult this guide. We've got you covered if it's the Castro you're cornering.

In need of the best date spots in other neighborhoods? Check out this ultimate guide to dating in San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. First date, drinks: Blackbird

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2124 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 503-0630
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This neighborhood watering hole has inexpensive, expertly-crafted cocktails made by very friendly bartenders. The drink names can help discussion flow — it's hard not to talk about cocktails inspired by Game of Thrones and hip hop albums. There's also rotating art on the walls for moments of true conversation desperation.

2. First date, coffee: Thorough Bread & Pastry

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248 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 558-0690
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This sunny space has great coffee and traditional French pastries to give your first date an infusion of Parisian romance. There are plenty of tables to choose from, so park as needed.

3. Second date, moderate: Starbelly

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3583 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 252-7500
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The back patio is the star at this bustling neighborhood hang. So make sure you dine outside on a warm day. Share top-notch pizza and other Italian fare made with local ingredients. Sitting inside is a great backup, so don't worry if Karl comes rolling in.
David Martinez

4. Second date, expensive: Aatxe > Cafe Du Nord

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2170 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 471-2977
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Order a ton of tapas and explore the excellent sherry list at this intimate, buzzy Spanish spot. Then stumble downstairs to Cafe Du Nord for excellent craft cocktails in a moody, dark space.

5. Where to lock it down: Frances

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3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-3870
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Chef Melissa Perello has created one of the city's most beloved Californian restaurants. The cozy space makes your table feel intimate, and the dreamy food will give you a break from swooning over each other.
Frances

6. LTR, moderate: Anchor Oyster Bar

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579 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 431-3990
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Everyone knows that oysters are aphrodisiacs, so give your significant other a not-so-subtle hint over dozens and dozens of them. The nautical, small space gets packed, too, so you'll be forced to crowd closer in the process.

7. LTR, expensive: L'Ardoise

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151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 437-2600
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This charming Parisian-inspired bistro oozes romance, with its soft lighting, warm tones, and classic French fare. It might be a staid date spot, but there's a reason Paris is called the romantic city in the world — because the French know how to set a sexy tone.

8. Breakup spot: Last Call Bar

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3988 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 861-1310
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Appropriately named for your dying relationship, Last Call has all the dark and divey vibes you need for a breakup. It's a lower-key spot in the middle of the Castro, and there's a fireplace to provide the heat your relationship lacked.

1. First date, drinks: Blackbird

2124 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This neighborhood watering hole has inexpensive, expertly-crafted cocktails made by very friendly bartenders. The drink names can help discussion flow — it's hard not to talk about cocktails inspired by Game of Thrones and hip hop albums. There's also rotating art on the walls for moments of true conversation desperation.
2124 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

2. First date, coffee: Thorough Bread & Pastry

248 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This sunny space has great coffee and traditional French pastries to give your first date an infusion of Parisian romance. There are plenty of tables to choose from, so park as needed.
248 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94114

3. Second date, moderate: Starbelly

3583 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
David Martinez
The back patio is the star at this bustling neighborhood hang. So make sure you dine outside on a warm day. Share top-notch pizza and other Italian fare made with local ingredients. Sitting inside is a great backup, so don't worry if Karl comes rolling in.
3583 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

4. Second date, expensive: Aatxe > Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Order a ton of tapas and explore the excellent sherry list at this intimate, buzzy Spanish spot. Then stumble downstairs to Cafe Du Nord for excellent craft cocktails in a moody, dark space.
2170 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

5. Where to lock it down: Frances

3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Frances
Chef Melissa Perello has created one of the city's most beloved Californian restaurants. The cozy space makes your table feel intimate, and the dreamy food will give you a break from swooning over each other.
3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

6. LTR, moderate: Anchor Oyster Bar

579 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Everyone knows that oysters are aphrodisiacs, so give your significant other a not-so-subtle hint over dozens and dozens of them. The nautical, small space gets packed, too, so you'll be forced to crowd closer in the process.
579 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

7. LTR, expensive: L'Ardoise

151 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This charming Parisian-inspired bistro oozes romance, with its soft lighting, warm tones, and classic French fare. It might be a staid date spot, but there's a reason Paris is called the romantic city in the world — because the French know how to set a sexy tone.
151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114

8. Breakup spot: Last Call Bar

3988 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Appropriately named for your dying relationship, Last Call has all the dark and divey vibes you need for a breakup. It's a lower-key spot in the middle of the Castro, and there's a fireplace to provide the heat your relationship lacked.
3988 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

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