Yesterday, the beverage gods at Starbucks announced they plan to expand the coffee giant’s booze and small-plate offerings to thousands of stores over the next few years. Which means wine and beer, dishes like bacon-wrapped dates and truffle mac and cheese, and desserts will soon come to an after-4 p.m. “evening menu” at a Starbucks near you.
This is all fine. I like bacon-wrapped dates. I like truffle mac and cheese. I think I would like “shareable serving of triple cream blue Brie cheese with slices of crisp walnut cranberry bread and fig preserves” if I actually knew what “blue Brie cheese” was. You know what I don’t like? The thought of eating these things… at a Starbucks…while on a first date.
Don’t get me wrong — there are certain activities for which Starbucks can’t be beat: It’s an excellent place to be funemployed and pretend to write cover letters when actually you just spent three hours silent-judging the plebes talking at the table next to you. It’s also quite good for escaping your apartment after getting into a fight with your boyfriend, as Carrie Bradshaw wisely taught us. And no one will yell at you (or even notice you, really) if you slip into a Starbucks to pee and flee. For these scenarios and more, Starbucks is king. For going on a first date, however? Not so much.
Sure, Starbucks has its advantages as a date spot — unlike a crowded bar, you’ll actually be able to hear each other speak, you might be able to score your own sofa chair(!), and it’s casual enough that if the evening goes terribly wrong, you’re perfectly free to cut it short. But as a friend recently put it, suggesting you want to go to Starbucks on a date is a little like admitting you love the TV show How I Met Your Mother: It won’t score you any taste points, but it’s popular enough that most people won’t judge you for it.
I, however, am not most people, and I will definitely judge you. For one, I don’t want to attempt to charm you with witty banter while we’re sitting next to a gaggle of preteens ordering Frappuccinos with the same enthusiasm with which bros order Jäger shots. More importantly, if you and I have never gone out on a date before, I don’t want to know that you equate me with the Mumford and Sons of coffeehouses. This tells me one of several things: either you don’t enjoy original thinking; don’t find it worth your precious time and energy to impress me with your worldly, nuanced interests; or think if I took a “Which Obnoxious Starbucks Order Are You?” online quiz, I would be a venti triple-shot-sugar-free-no-foam-extra-hot caramel macchiato (which, offensive).
One last thing: A Yelp search for “bacon-wrapped dates” in the Manhattan area returned no fewer than 67 pages of results. Just sayin’.