Dinner and a movie is a pretty classic way to have one-on-one time with your honey, but Austin can offer a more adventurous night out if you're looking to change it up. A handful of unexpected places around town guarantee an alcohol-accented evening of merriment where you just might learn something new, to boot. Here's where to go.
In the public library. A slumber party in a library might not have sounded all that rad when you were a kid, but you’ll want to pull out your cutest pair of PJs for an adult version at Austin Central Library. The APL After Dark event — there's one Jan. 25, part of an occasional series — will have a cash bar, retro board games and old-school Nintendo, M.A.S.H., snacks and all sorts of activities that will bring back memories of childhood. Future APL After Dark events, which invite you in after the library is closed, will be similarly for adults only.
In the children's museum. Adults can play, too. We might not find the same level of joy puttering around in a pretend kitchen, but we’ll certainly take pleasure in the activities children's musuem the Thinkery puts together during every Thinkery21, an adults-only night. Each event is themed around a scientific or cultural subject — such as “the science of sex” installment on Valentine’s Day night — with related activities (ready to learn sultry dance moves?). There will be drinks and food on hand, of course.
Within a parking garage. Breweries have made a habit of carving homey taprooms out of cold warehouse spaces, but one downtown Austin cocktail bar has had a very different sort of industrial building to work with: the inside of a fully functioning parking garage. And Garage pulls it off beautifully.
Thick, full-length curtains separate the cozy, speakeasy-like bar from the jarring sight of commuters driving off in their Toyotas in the evenings. Somehow, though, you never forget where you are, even as you sip a gin drink from a delicate coupe glass — maybe because the sections on the cocktail menu include car lingo, like “unleaded” for the nonalcoholic options. Also, you parked mere yards away.
At an astronomy lecture. A scientific lecture probably sounds like the last thing you want to attend on a romantic evening with your significant other, but hear us out. On the third Tuesday of every month, Astronomy on Tap takes over the North Door venue, bringing in astronomy experts to talk about black holes, how stars are formed and other topics that get especially interesting when you’ve got a beer in hand. And did we mention there are telescopes available so you can see the mysteries of the universe for yourself?
In an axe-throwing facility. Urban Axes made headlines in late 2017 when it opened off Airport Boulevard as a place you can come to throw really sharp objects and also drink beer. (But not at the same time.) There's nothing more satisfying than hurling a 1.5-lb. axe at a target, except for maybe the feeling you get when the axe successfully hits said target. Bringing in your own food and drink, including beer and wine but not hard liquor, is permitted. It also helps keep the cost of your date down. Walk-ins are $20 per hour.
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In a cheese shop. Austin's favorite purveyor of cheese, Antonelli's, doesn't just help you find the cheese to take home, such as creamy Camembert or golden-colored Gouda. In a separate building near the Hyde Park shop, you and your partner can also take classes about cheese and cheese pairings — cheese with charcuterie, cheese with chocolate, cheese with cider. And the best part? You can either bring booze with you (again, no hard liquor) or purchase a bottle from the Antonelli's shop. The only requirement is that you come ready to pig out.