They say if you must lie, lie in someone’s arms. They say if you must cheat, cheat death. They say if you must steal, steal kisses. And if you must drink, drink with your friends. And I say, if you must go to court, court your date at any of these dreamy Denver establishments.

The 9th Door (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

The 9th Door

1808 Blake Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 292-2229
Not many spots come close to the romantic setting you’ll find at The 9th Door on Blake Street downtown. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night steamy sounds from Flamenco guitarists fill this LoDo restaurant’s dining area. Your dinner might include 9th’s signature paella or an assortment of Spanish tapas, such as their flash fried avocado or the pear, arugula and Idiazabál cheese rolled in Serrano Ham. Or maybe you’re the more adventurous couple and would like to shake things up with their Latin Lounge on Friday and Saturday nights (starting at 9:30 p.m.), where upbeat Latin techno is played while customers sip on white or red sangria. Either way, the Spanish rhythm of this place will bring you enjoyment, and, most likely, a second date!

Lala's (credit: Sarah Carpenter)


410 East 7th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 861-9463
Lala’s on 7th is such a prime spot for first dates, the waitstaff even playfully try to guess what kind of date each couple is on, first, second, or the stage of officially “going out”? It’s a stylish wine bar and pizzeria, like some cutesy place you’d see along cobblestone streets in Italy, except Lala’s has the likes of the Governor’s Park area of 20, 30 and 40-something singles from all over Denver who come to sip wine and share chemistry. Afternoon happy hour attracts the minglers, as well as the late night happy hour and ’til 1 a.m. weekend kitchen servings, including Wednesday Girls Night Out. Then again, what can be simply better than drinking fine wine and eating Italian food while getting to know your new squeeze?

Truffle fries at Jonesy's EatBar (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

Jonesy’s EatBar

400 East 20th Avenue
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 863-7473
Many have said that truffles or truffle oil is an aphrodisiac. And I’m not talking about the delicious little powdery chocolate treats (though I would bet they are, too). I’m talking about the strange fungi that grow underground and are sniffed out by pigs to be cultivated for us foodie humans. If you haven’t had it before, what I just described probably didn’t excite your curiosity. If you have, you know what I’m talking about. They say it’s the strong, earthy aroma, which primarily gets women, for the apparent similarity to male pheromones. And perhaps the rich, mushroomy taste that seems to go well on anything from cheese dishes to creamy pastas. Jonesy’s, tucked away on 20th Street just north of the Uptown neighborhood, has these to-die-for-truffle fries. Not to mention the sparkling atmosphere of dimly lit chandeliers, Capitol Hill-like-living-room dining areas with character, and a laid back and laughing crowd. On a date, share a heaping plate of fries drizzled with the creamy truffle godliness, sprinkled with parsley and parmesan, along with some cozy cocktails, and I bet you’ll have something to talk about!

(credit: Sarah Carpenter)

Pickle’s Deli / Tipsy’s Liquor World

5869 South Alkire Street
Littleton, CO 80127
(303) 551-7070
Though it’s not your traditional restaurant and bar, you can certainly find everything you need to wine and dine your date, with a hopeless romantic twist-at Pickle’s Deli and Typsy’s Liquor World. Here’s what you do. Hop in one of your cars and get to Littleton. Head west on Bowles Avenue, and turn right just before you would exit towards the foothills, or otherwise when you see a liquor store that’s so massive it seems like there could be a roller coaster inside. Go inside to Typsy’s and select your poison — there are more than 6,000 wines, Colorado’s largest selection of beer, and countless cocktail options. (You may want to have a general idea of what you’re planning to buy figured out before you meander around the 87,000 square foot store.) A nice bottle of red wine or six-pack of interesting beer should do. Then, while still in the store, head left towards Pickle’s Deli. A delightful little deli with rows of barrels filled with super fun sweets like Pixy Sticks and Big Hunk bars. Pick out your favorite dessert, then grab a lunch from the deli, anything from Italian subs to hefty breakfast burritos. And finally, head right on over to C-470 to Red Rocks, for a picnic with a view and a light hike around the park. Or perhaps veer west on Interstate 70 for an even better view at Lookout Mountain with your delightful little picnic you just packed. Enjoy!

Gabrial and Michele Carter enjoy a night at Trio's Enoteca (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

Trio’s Enoteca

1730 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-2887
I’m not sure what’s more romantic at Trio’s, holding hands at a tiny table while listening to live jazz, sharing a three-tier tower of appetizers or a late-night vanilla ice cream served in a martini glass with chocolate sauce and vanilla wafers, or stealing kisses and tasting wines on the couches in the back of the bar. It’s all warm and lovely. Trio’s is located right next to the Wynkoop Brewery and makes for a fine night out on the town, whether it be your first date to get the sparks snapping, or a well-deserved date with the spouse.

– Sarah Carpenter lives in Littleton, where she was born and raised. She spent a decade in Downtown Denver, and its surrounding neighborhoods, going to school for writing, working in the service industry, and getting to know Denver’s diverse culture. She has a passion for travel writing, local and afar, focusing the story on its people, culture and region.