If you’ve let date nights become an endangered species in your life, it’s time to change that. Whether you’ve been married 45 years or have met a new someone and this will be your first time going out together, remember this: consistent dating is essential to maintaining any relationship.
Need inspiration planning your next outing? Allow me to introduce you to my neighborhood: Eagle Rock.
Nestled in Northeast L.A., this quaint pocket of the Southland is home to unbeatable food and adorable shops that surround Occidental College’s stunning campus. This area is great for families and also perfect for a night on the town — or a whole day out. Note that a couple of these spots stretch into nearby Highland Park.
Picture this: It’s a Saturday morning and you and your partner have just dropped the kids off at their morning dance class. You’re famished because you didn’t get to grab a bite in the morning rush. Delia’s Restaurant is a perfect remedy. Start with the quintessential breakfast burrito that comes with a variety of filling options and pair it with fresh-squeezed orange juice. The owners worked hard to keep this beloved piece of the neighborhood open during the pandemic. Your stomach will be glad they did.
Perhaps you’re not in the mood for a homestyle breakfast, though, and want to grab some quick food to go. A couple blocks down from Delia’s is Belle’s Bagels: a bagel shop that makes fresh batches every day using locally sourced ingredients. Order early because they have a limited daily stock, and once the bagels go, the shop closes for the day.
Lunch and a look around
One of my favorite things about Eagle Rock is how connected and walkable it is — something you can’t say about every L.A. neighborhood. That is part of what makes it such a great date spot, especially around lunch time, where you can start off your afternoon with some shopping on York Boulevard. Add to your closet at Ramon’s Rags to Riches, a vintage boutique, and Big Bud Press, enter stationary heaven at Shorthand and even fulfill your spiritual needs at House of Intuition.
After all that shopping, you’ll need to re-energize with some food, and there are great spots just a few feet away. Depending on which side of the street you’re on, two of York Boulevard’s most popular restaurants will be fighting for your attention.
On one corner sits Town, an independently owned pizzeria churning out fresh-made pies every minute. On the other corner sits Joy, a Taiwanese eatery with a unique menu that evokes the emotion for which the restaurant is named. And while both restaurants offer a dine-in option, take your date on the go and walk a couple blocks over to Occidental College’s campus, where you can set up a nice picnic on the quad. During the summer, there are fewer students around, so you can enjoy yourself on the grass or cozy up on a bench near the school’s newly renovated main fountain. The campus is so picturesque it belongs in the movies. Don’t believe me? Just ask the director of “Clueless.” Some of the movie’s most famous scenes were filmed on Occidental’s campus.
Dinner and dessert
Nothing is classier than a good old-fashioned dinner date, so save yourself a Google search and take it from me that Eagle Rock has some amazing dinner options, all within a 10-block radius.
For a sit-down dinner, Colorado Boulevard is the place for you. You’ll find the iconic Casa Bianca Pizza Pie, a family-style Italian restaurant with food so filling and delicious that you’ll want to take a to-go box just for the garlic bread. With plenty of seating and homey decor, the atmosphere of this restaurant is cozy and inviting and, even though it’s a popular family spot, is perfect for an intimate date. It is cash only, so be sure to bring your bills.
Another great spot on Colorado is Chateau Lemongrass, a Vietnamese eatery that has incredible food for incredible prices. I recommend the traditional pho. If you want to branch out, try the pho tacos as an appetizer.
For a more casual evening out, check out The Oinkster, which is home to some of the best burgers you’ll ever try. The red barn-style building is hard to miss, and after a long day of parenting, you deserve a little grease in your diet. Or, if you’re a vegan sports enthusiast, be sure to go to Wolfie’s Hot Chicken. The seating is primarily outdoors with a beer-garden feel full of great views of various TV screens for those looking to multitask and catch the latest game. The “chicken” is so flavorful you’ll hardly be able to tell that the menu is 100% vegan!
To round out any good dinner, you have to indulge your sweet cravings, and for that York Boulevard is coming in clutch once again. Fulfill your hot summer night needs at Magpies Softserve, which not only offers a unique assortment of soft-serve ice cream combinations, but massive slices of ice cream pie that you could share with your loved one… or not. Select from a variety of house-made toppings and sit out front at the shop and people watch as York comes to life at night.
Drinking, dancing and carrying on
Who says parents can’t still have a night of dancing out on the town? While we may not have crazy clubs like WeHo, Eagle Rock is home to some amazing bars. Walt’s Bar is every retro gamer’s dream. With pinball machines lining the wall opposite the extensive bar, this place brings out a young spirit in all its patrons and has an inviting atmosphere. I will say that the drink selection is pretty limited to just beer and wine, so if you’re looking for something a little stronger, I might recommend The York.
The York has a slightly broodier atmosphere with its low-lit booths and darker aesthetic, but when contrasted with the extremely friendly bouncers and bartenders, the place feels a lot cozier. What’s more is this place hosts the occasional live band, and every Monday night at 9 p.m., you and yours can compete in a weekly trivia night. Great idea for a double date!
Finally, if you’re like me, you’ll agree that no night out is complete without a bit of dancing. Check out The Goldfish, a bright and colorful disco-themed club complete with pool tables, a disco ball and a massive fish tank behind the bar. This bar regularly hosts live musicians and great DJs who perform right on the dance floor, so you can be sure to get up close and personal with the music. The staff members here are super welcoming and the space is organized so it can be as private (or not) as you want.
I hope this roundup helped you plan your next date night. Feel like taking some pictures and posting them to social media? Be sure to tag us so we can see your date-night adventures. See you in Eagle Rock soon!