Post-Lockdown date spots in Northern Ireland
Updated: Jun 1
After a long winter and tedious lockdown, we welcomed back our favourite cafes, bars, restaurants, and indoor activities this week. This means having that in-person first date can actually happen. (with precaution of course).
It’s been a hot minute since we have got to recommend date ideas and meeting places with our members so we cannot wait to share with you some of our favourite spots that we think match all the characteristics needed for a successful first date.
Ideally, the best place to meet for a first date is a cafe or pub, where you can meet during the day and creates a light-hearted and relaxed dating experience.
We compiled a list of our go-to date recommendations throughout Northern Ireland. So no matter where you are in the country, you are never lost for a place to go.
If you’re in the Armagh area, we suggest;
Ground Cafe in Portadown, located next to the canal and away from the town center. You can find plenty of outdoor seating. You can even take a stroll along the canal which is a light and easy for all types of walkers which goes as far as Newry.
Fin and Freds is a new family-run, craft shop/cafe that has opened in the center of Tandragee. It has an assortment of cakes, buns, sandwiches supplied locally, and a range of hot drinks. Just 15 minutes from Portadown, Banbridge, and only 25 minutes from Newry makes it a perfect in-between spot for anyone traveling.
Our next recommendation Ballydougan Pottery, a long-established favourite with locals. Known for its quaint cottages and homemade pottery. As well as its delicious traditional food and traybakes, you have the option to sit out in their beautiful courtyard or inside its timeless, traditional style tearooms.
The Craic'd Pot is a new one on the list located in Armagh City on the main street. It has cosy and rustic atmosphere, where you can enjoy artisanal coffees, traybakes, or sit-down for a light lunch.
If you’re in Co. Down-Blend and Batch in Banbridge is a great go-to for a coffee date. There is plenty of parking on the main street or you can find the bus depot just a short walk away. If you are looking to go a bit further, Hollie Berries in Scarva is a hidden gem just a short drive from Banbridge and a great location if you coming from greater Craigavon or Newry. It has a large patio for outdoor seating on looking Scarva park and gazebo and plenty of room inside to sit down for a cup of tea and cake. If you are looking for something more upmarket adjacent to HollieBerries is Sintons on the Bridge where you can have a full meal and glass of wine beside an open fire or in the private patio out the back.
Canal Court is a go-to if you're in Newry located a stones-through from both The Quays and Buttercrame shopping centers and just a short walk from the bus depot. It is not only convenient but serves an array of traditional-style and fresh seafood in their old mill restaurant or for a more casual option their Granary bar.
If you are looking for more of a day out, then the stableyard tearoom at Castle Ward is a great excuse to visit one of the leading tourist attractions in NI but throw in a pleasant sit-down tea and cake after a walk around the grounds.
If you're looking for something more traditional and intimate try the Smugglers Table in Downpatrick, its small and simple design makes for a romantic and cosy setting. Serving up delicious homecooked food available for lunch and dinner with an extensive wine and gin menu.
When in Antrim- Freight, is a new concept just opened a few years. Two renovated shipping containers turned into a modern bistro, located near C.S Lewis Square in Belfast. Serving up brunch 6 days a week. You can find plenty of outdoor benches to sit down and relax.
If a casual drink on a Friday is more your style, the Errigle Inn located in South Belfast on the Ormeau Road is a convenient spot to meet for a drink and calm the nerves. It a busy atmosphere but if you like a bit of hustle and bustle around you this is a great option.
The Coffee Yard in Holywood is a family-run cafe combining a love for music, art, and coffee. It's a coffee-lovers paradise. With easy access between Bangor and Belfast.
If you are up the North Coast, Lost and Found is an independent cafe in Coleraine. Serving fresh hearty Deli-style food. A small quaint shop with an intimate setting and you can also find a second location in Portstewart.
If you have ever walked along the South Pier in Portrush, then you won't be a stranger to the small little boat shack building called Babuska. Serving a variety of different coffees that they have perfected over the years and delicious local food. With views stretching out onto the beach and sea you cannot beat the service with a view.
When in Tyrone- Brew Coffee based in the Moy is an alternative-style cafe that specializes in providing vegetarian and vegan food, Synge and Byrne in Dungannon's Linen Green is another great option for a first date as it is close for anyone traveling from Cookstown, Portadown or greater Tyrone and has enough space. So you are guaranteed a table.
When in Fermanagh- The Jolly Sandwich Bar, based in Enniskillen is a go-to for anyone with a sweet tooth, they have an array of traybakes and cakes as well as an extensive breakfast and brunch menu.
At Rebeccas, located in the Buttermarket Craft Centre in Enniskillen you can find fresh local food surrounded by the beautifully decorated Buttermarket courtyard.
FOLK Espresso is a micro-bakery/cafe. That specialises in a selection of homemade breads and pastires. It's french-kitchen style makes it feel decadent and unique. Which caters to those looking for something different.
When in Derry - Hidden City Cafe is in the heart of the city and what a hidden gem it is. If you know the area well this is a spot not to be missed. Located in one of the side streets near Bishops Gate. You can find an entryway into the small antique shop attached to the cafe. Where you can have a ponder around before having a locally brewed coffee, freshly made sandwiches, and delicious desserts.
There is so many incredible places to choose from throughout Northern Ireland. We hope this gets you excited about dating again and we hope you love these places just as much as we do. Show them some support by popping into one of the above for a visit.
Canal Court - https://www.canalcourthotel.com/
Blend and Batch - https://www.facebook.com/blendxbatch/
Fin and Freds- https://www.facebook.com/FinandFreds/
The Smugglers Table - https://www.facebook.com/TheSmugglersTableRestaurantKillyleagh/
Errigle Inn- https://errigle.com/
Coffee Yard- https://www.coffeeyard.com/
The Jolly Sandwich - https://www.facebook.com/The-Jolly-Sandwich-Bar-181986151902719/
Brew Coffee - https://www.facebook.com/brewcoffeemoy/
Synge and Byrne- https://syngeandbyrne.com/
Lost and Found- https://www.facebook.com/wearelostfound/
Ballydouggan Pottery- http://www.ballydouganpottery.co.uk/
The Craic'd Pot- https://www.facebook.com/thecraicdpot/