Sometimes you want to dress up, slide into a swanky booth, ooh at the elegant plating, and sip something special. Other times, your truest desire involves sweatpants, takeout, a deep couch, and a glass of something special. There’s a time and a place for both those date nights, and everything in between — just like there is a time for hot-house roses and a time for wildflowers, secured with a piece of twine. Here are some delightful date ideas for any mood, just make sure you have a delicious bottle of Pennsylvania wine.
Two Dozen Roses: Splash out at a Fancy Restaurant
Cheers to an evening of indulgence and extravagance! Next time you’re booking a table, seek out a spot with plenty of romance and some local bottles on the wine list. Ask the sommelier for suggestions or help ordering dishes that will pair well with your selection. At spots like The Love in Philadelphia, John J. Jeffries in Lancaster, Elizabeth’s Bistro in Lewisburg, 1201 Kitchen in Erie, Pennsylvania wines complement a farm-to-table ethos. Eat local, drink local, and be sure to linger over dessert.
Bouquet of Tulips: Visit a Neighborhood BYOB
Or you can eschew the over-the-top in favor of something approachable and friendly. Whether you’re looking for Indian, Italian, Thai, or something else entirely, BYOB restaurants offer a great way to have a delicious meal in an intimate setting. Plus, sometimes you already have a beloved bottle of PA wine and you just want someone else to do the cooking.
Succulent garden: Hit a Wine Bar
Of course there’s the romantic cliché of an intimate two-top and the big bouquet, but real intimacy often happens knee-to-knee in adjacent barstools. You can get close and whisper sweet nothings all while keeping it casual. Head to a local wine bar — Martha in Philadelphia, Skunk & Goat in North East — for a large selection of wines by the glass and some friendly banter with the bartender. These establishments often have a snack-heavy menu, perfect for grazing. You can also turn any restaurant into your own personal wine bar by eschewing the dining room and sticking with the buzzy bar.
Hand-picked wildflowers: Visit a Winery
Flower shops do a lovely job, but there’s something satisfying about getting the goods straight from the source! No matter where you are in PA, there’s a winery less than an hour away. These establishments offer tastings that can feature anything from bubbly to dry reds to ice wine, an excellent chance to try a host of different styles and varietals. This is the ideal afternoon outing for those loath to be out late (or if you’re playing hooky from work; we won’t tell). Plus, there’s a winery for any mood: Some are more upscale, with full kitchens and modern tasting rooms. Others are smaller and more rustic. Another upside: A winery stop is the perfect precursor to the last option on our list.
Grocery-store carnations: Stay In
Last-minute, thoughtful, and perfect — sometimes the most memorable evenings occur in the incredibly romantic, intimate confines of your own home. Draw-string pants and slippers are welcome at this fine establishment. Nothing elevates a night of home cooking or take-out like a hotly-anticipated bottle of wine. And no price is more appealing than already-paid-for, so choose something singular out of your wine rack.