bezel bar tender pouring cocktail for dating diners

Swipe Right For These Dating App Hot Spots

Not all dating apps are created equal, so we dived into the best places to take a first date.

BY Steph Wilson


Finding love through dating apps is here to stay, but not all programs offer the same level of matchmaking. In fact, the type of app can determine the date destination. Using Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder as a launching point, single lady on the town Steph Wilson weighs in on the best places to take a digital date, and why. 

Tinder and Cocktails

The Swiping Saga

Tinder is the digital equivalent of speed dating, but with less talking and more swiping. You may find yourself here at 2 a.m., thumb cramping but determined to find “the one” in a sea of “the one for right now.” Tinder proves perfect for the romantically curious and the commitment averse alike. After all, it’s the melting pot of dating apps, where profiles range from just-passing-through-town to looking-for-someone-to-make-my-ex-jealous. If love is a battlefield, Tinder is the all-terrain vehicle you ride in on, equipped with nothing but your best selfies and wittiest one-liners. 

Best Place To Go

If you’ve met your match and expect things to get steamy, plan the rendezvous to begin at Bezel. Tucked into the corner of Court Place and 16th Street Mall, the sophisticated cocktail bar is big on the intimate vibe. Plus, the windows are frosted, the ideal locale for incognito meetups. 

hands using tinder for dating on cell phone
Which bar will you swipe on? | Photo by Tinder

Whether or not the swipe gives you a match, Bezel’s killer craft cocktail list, (strawberry rhubarb sour, hello) makes it worth the trip anyway. If things do go well, keep in mind the bar resides in the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, so temporary bodily bliss is just an elevator ride away. 1550 Court Pl., Denver, 

Hinge and Sushi

The Thoughtful Connector

Hinge takes the friends-of-friends approach to online dating. This effectively makes it the digital equivalent of the well meaning aunt who just wants to see you settled. Its mantra, ”Designed to be deleted,” suggests it’s for the earnest and the hopeful. It’s for the kind of people who list deep conversations as a hobby. Hinge profiles read like personal essays, rich with aspirations and vulnerabilities. When you swipe into a chapter you can’t put down, you know it’s a good start. 

plate of nigiri from Sushi Den Denver
Dating, one piece at a time. | Photo by Sushi Den

Best Place to Go

Of course to get to the plus-one stage you’ve got to start somewhere. According to one seasoned swiper, sushi is the best place to begin. Not only does it taste good, but you can order small and build from there. After all, there’s no need, nor would you want to, sit down for a three-course meal with a total stranger. But, since it’s a Hinge date and you’re hoping for an authentic connection rather than a quick romance, set the bar high with an elegant roll, or two, or five.

As far as restaurants, what says commitment like Sushi Den, which has a celebrated 40-year history in the Denver dining scene. Have your date meet you for  happy hour at the South Pearl Street hot spot, and place an order for a roll or two. If things go well from there you can build your meal and your relationship, piece by piece. 1487 S. Pearl St., Denver,

Bumble and Dumplings

The Empowerment Emporium

Of all the dating apps, Bumble has taken the title of matriarch. Here women make the first move and men ponder the perfect, non-threatening emoji response. Bumble flips the script on traditional dynamics, creating a space where “hey” is a full sentence and unsolicited pictures are a capital offense. 

It’s made for the bold and the respectful, the ones who believe in equal effort and the power of a good conversation starter. Here you find the ambitious, the go-getters, and the my-mom-thinks-I’m-a-catch individuals, all vying for something that starts with sparks and ends with partnership. 

food on bar at Hey Kiddo
If the date is going well, continue it at Hey Kiddo. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Best Place to Go

To run with the theme of “women in power,” we lead you toward Ginger Pig, owned and operated by chef Natascha Hess. The 2023 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand winner dishes out delectable Asian street food in the Berkeley neighborhood. Before settling down into the current brick-and-mortar home, the restaurant got its start as a food truck slinging tasty treats around town, a nice metaphor for the path you’re hoping your dating life to take. 4262 Lowell Blvd., Denver, 

If things are going well, continue your date with a stroll down Tennyson. Here plenty of options to catch a buzz of caffeine or spirits abound. If things are going really well, let the elevators whisk you up to the rooftop at Hey Kiddo. It’s perfect for falling in love with mountain views and your date the same time. 4337 Tennyson St., Denver,

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Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.