Light Up Eau Claire
By EC Insider, Natalie Rosenkranz
All photos by Katie Forsha unless otherwise stated
Hey there, all of you lovebirds!
My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost four years. Surprisingly, though, we’ve never had a problem coming up with date ideas; Eau Claire is full of cute shops, stops, and restaurants, so if anything, the only hard part is choosing which place to go to next!
A while ago, we asked Eau Claire locals about their favorite date spots in Eau Claire. They responded with a TON of ideas, but these were the most popular answers. If you haven’t been to any of these places, it’s time to check them out with your significant other!
Whether you’re chatting it up over coffee on one of the comfy couches in Racy’s or sharing an order of lemon ricotta hotcakes at The Nucleus, you’re sure to impress any date by taking them out to 405 Water Street. This is an awesome place to go for a breakfast date with your S.O. or to stop by for a cup of Joe before heading out on a walk together! In addition, it’s just a short jaunt away from one of the most romantic spots in Eau Claire: Putnam Rock.
FACT: I’m a little biased on this one because I met my boyfriend at Racy’s! When I was working on an English assignment with a friend a few years ago, he walked over to my table and gave me his number. We went back there for our first date, and not too long after that, we started dating… but I digress.
Without a doubt, Mona Lisa’s is one of the most elegant restaurants in Eau Claire. With a dreamy chandelier made out of wine bottles and a top-notch menu, it’s the best place to go for some fine dining. Mona Lisa’s is open Tuesday through Saturday, and its vast drink selection never fails to disappoint. If you want to impress that heartthrob or go somewhere special just for the heck of it, then Mona Lisa’s is a stellar option!
If you haven’t gone to The Livery a.k.a Cowtown Saloon for date night yet, I highly recommend it. The Livery is a great place to grab a bite to eat, and on top of that, there’s a game room; you can go there for a meal, or split a few appetizers and shoot some pool. The best part about this place, though, is the Friday Fish Fry (it’s only $9.99)! Regardless of what you choose to do at The Livery, you’re sure to have a fun time with your date.
Whether you and your darling are there for half-off apps and taps, or you decide to wait until Sunday for brunch and bottomless mimosas, The Plus is overflowing with opportunities for a date night. The pizza is mouthwatering, and there’s always something going on; Tuesday is Open Mic Night, Wednesday is Trivia Night, Thursday is Comedy Night, and the weekends are all about live music! Also, it’s a great place for a quick lunch date; they offer a lunch buffet Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oh, and fun fact: In addition to being a popular spot for first dates, The Plus hosts weddings from time to time! Can’t you feel the love?!
If you want to take your better half out to see a movie, then the Downtown Budget Cinema is the perfect place to hit up on date night! They have an incredible selection of food (their Bavarian Pretzel Sticks are to die for, and I’m personally planning on trying the Spinach & Chicken Alfredo Pizza the next time we go there). Plus, they recently added adult beverages to the menu! General admission is just $4.00, and on Tuesdays, it is $3.00. (Hence, budget theatre!!)
If you want to go somewhere for a fine-dining experience, Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub is another amazing restaurant that’s terrific for a night out with your favorite person ever! My boyfriend and I like to get drinks there, and the patio is cute. Along the same lines, this is a fantastic spot to go during happy hour (drinks and appetizers are $1 off)! They’re open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
While The Local Lounge is still relatively new to the Chippewa Valley, its rustic décor and superb drink selection makes it more than worthy of a spot on this list. You and your honey can enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the tables, watch the big game together at the bar, or stop by on a double date for brunch. Regardless of what you choose, you’re sure to have a good time with your date at this gorgeous spot.
PS: If you’re looking for a venue to celebrate your wedding, The Local Lounge has you covered (they actually offer an all-inclusive wedding package)!
When I saw that Ninja made the list, I wasn’t even surprised; it’s quickly becoming my boyfriend’s favorite date spot (and mine as well)! This is a fun restaurant located downtown that offers the most DELICIOUS Chinese and Japanese food ever. Whether you and your partner in crime want to eat out or you’re looking to pick up some take-out for a night in, Ninja is an incredible date spot; after all, you can’t go wrong with General Tso’s Chicken and Sake!
And there you have it! Before you go out on your next date, review our list, and give somewhere new a try. You’re sure to have a wonderful time if you hit up one of these eight date spots in EC.