The humble café, a beloved institution the whole world over.

Is there a better place to while away the time on a cold winter’s day, hugging your mug and catching up on gossip with an old friend? Is there anywhere better to take a table outside when the weather’s fine, and watch the world go by?

For people who really love coffee, the answer is no—there is truly no better place in the world.

But even for people who don’t consider themselves coffee addicts, there is no better place than a café for this one circumstance: A first date.

Why Get a Coffee on Date No.1?

Going to the cinema on a first date is a bad idea—you need to get to know each other, and you’re not going to do that in a room where you have to be silent.

A restaurant isn’t a great choice either. Dining together is a big commitment for a first date, because if you’re not getting on and you’re waiting for dessert—you’re not getting out of it easily.

A bar can be fine, depending on how well you handle your drink…

But there’s nowhere like a café for that all-important first date. You can be your best self in a café—and not just because of that flattering daytime lighting.

Without the inclusion of booze, you’re going to have to become comfortable more naturally, which is a much better way to deal with nerves. Drinking coffee is not only beneficial for your health but also beneficial for making that first date a success. Opting for a café date prevents the unwanted side effects of nervous drinking, like becoming quiet and moody, or even worse—boozy and handsy.

Better than a bar, a first date in a café is a wholesome activity. Suggesting it as the setting immediately makes you seem like a relaxed, respectful person.

Truly the best reason to go on a first date in a café is because it allows for two situations that are absolute opposites, but are both equally desirable, depending on the circumstance.

If you don’t get on, a café date allows you to easily slip out. If you do get on, a quick cup’o’Joe in the café can turn into a day of getting to know each other. First you enjoy your iced coffee, then take a stroll through the park and by the river, laughing all the way, and as nightfall closes in, you might just find yourself asking “Hey, do you fancy getting a bite to eat?”

How to Be Your Best Self, on a First Date

Now we’ve agreed a café is the first date location par excellence, it’s time to consider how to tackle those first date nerves.

It’s easier said than done, but the best way to break the ice is by trying to relax, and be yourself.

However, if yourself in that moment is a sweaty nervous mess, try and be someone a bit more ‘together’ than you are right then, to help you ease into it.

Although there are no hard and fast rules on how to break the ice, there are a few pointers that will get you off to a good start.

Here are some top tips:

  1. Maintain good eye contact—but be careful. If you don’t make eye contact enough, you seem antisocial. If you do it too much, you come across a bit creepy.
  2. Ask them a lot of questions, but only if you are genuinely interested in their answers. Otherwise, you’ll seem phony and rude.
  3. Don’t talk about yourself too It’s good to share your passions and your interests, but not to the point you’re talking over your date.
  4. Crack a joke. Don’t be shy; the worst thing that happens is they don’t laugh. If you laugh and they don’t, it’s still a winner, because you had fun.
  5. Be considerate. Ask if they want a water if you want a water; get them a napkin if you need a napkin. Share some of your cake. Being considerate of other people’s needs shows a generous spirit—a real asset on a first date.
  6. Offer to pick up the check. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter. If it’s $6 for two coffees, just pick up the check. Being tight-fisted with money is a real turn-off.

Most importantly, take a date as an opportunity to have some fun. Enjoy your iced coffee, and enjoy the atmosphere. Even if you don’t click, there are worst ways to spend an afternoon. And there’s always another first date around the corner… which, if the stars are aligned, might just be your last.