This Silver Lake gay haunt is a popular stop for a stiff vodka soda and serious bearded eye candy. If you and your boo are looking for a little Bachelor-style one-on-one time, there are a few tables toward the back where you can find out his favorite Netflix Originals. The space itself is pretty small but the chances your knees will touch are pretty big. The jukebox is well-stocked with familiar alt-gay artists (Morrissey, The Cure, Kate Bush) and provides a more mellow soundtrack for some starry-eyed conversation. When open, the back dance room can help with much-needed relief from the stress of getting to know a new boo. The first Saturday of each month is Mario Diaz’s Full Frontal Disco where you can show off how you Hustle. If you’re interested in an unpretentious vibe and music that isn’t the fun but exhausted Britney/Christina/Mariah holy trinity, Akbar is the perfect alternative to the often glammed-up din of the WeHo strip.
Don’t tell anyone: Sidestep the weekend debauchery and go on Wednesdays for Craft Night, where glue guns mingle with drink specials.
Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple
The Pacific Palisades is one of the most lux neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and for good reason. Nestled between Brentwood and Malibu, and just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean is this peaceful oasis with the longest name ever. But don’t let that mouthful fool you, this lush escape is all about simplicity and beauty. There’s plenty of benches for contemplating your next meal and garden pathways for a romantic stroll. The Windmill Chapel and Golden Lotus Archway are just a few lovely sights along the way. Admission is free but consider donating as the landscapes are perfectly maintained. The whole experience is a hushed one, so if you’re looking to whisper sweet nothings into your boo’s ear, this is the place to do it.
Don’t tell anyone: Some of the benches are more private and hidden deeper into the brush. Keep an eye out for those.
The first thing you think when you walk into this much-hyped Mid-City restaurant, is that you’ve entered either a holy place of worship or that sprawling Harry Potter cafeteria. It’s possible it’s a little bit of both and that’s totally sweet. It feels new and cool and young, just like your boo. In the morning it’s a bustling bakery. Try the Croque Madame or pecan bar. In the evening it’s a dinner joint with even Frenchier fare like escargots en croûte—just practice rolling your r’s ahead of time. The sea of cerulean decor will sweep you away to a different time, and so will The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill pumping from above. While the price is a little steep, just tell your boo he’s worth it. So one of you be Julia Roberts and one of you be Richard Gere, and pretty woman the shit outta that place.
Don’t tell anyone: Use the valet. The search for parking can be a really downer when you’re dressed to impress.
It doesn’t get more romantic than this fellas. High above L.A., among the canyons and coyotes, is the Griffith Observatory. If you’re feeling particularly outdoorsy, strap on those Timberlands and have yourself a hike up the winding road that leads here. That’s also your best bet to avoid the nightmare that is finding parking. Once inside, learn the basics of physics and astronomy—all those classes you skipped in college—and explore different ways to use a telescope. The view of the city and sky are inexplicable. Tell your new boo how insignificant you feel compared to the universe, like a grain of sand. He’ll be putty in your hands.
Don’t tell anyone: Go at night. Less kids. More stars. More smooches.
On the Type A tip? Have an epic Ms. Pac Man battle and make the loser buy shots at this 21+ old school video game arcade, complete with full bar and disco/hip-hop DJs to keep your head nodding while you score (points or otherwise). This place is huge and the nostalgia factor is strong, so soak up an afternoon there and make it a day date. Friday and Saturday nights get packed, and if you have to wait in line to get your Street Fighter fix, you’ve already lost, bro.
Don’t tell anyone: Try something offbeat and play a few rounds of Ice Cold Beer, which has nothing to do with beer and everything to do with steady hands.