So, you’ve done the first part of the job – you met a girl on the street, in a bar, at a party, through common friends or wherever, you chatted for some time, there was a good vibe, you took her number, exchanged messages few times after and now you’re setting the date. Especially if you are new to game, guaranteed you’ll be at least a bit nervous. “Where do I bring her?”, “What if she doesn’t like the place I suggest?” – as these questions keep popping more and more frequently, I decided I’d share my thoughts and experiences about the dating spots in Sofia. Below you will see a list of venues, all of which have been personally tested and proven as panty-droppers (or at least – serious comfort-builders) on multiple occasions. They are not going to bang the chick on your behalf, but given that you don’t mess anything up, they are a very good starting point. Note that since I didn’t have a social circle full with hot single women back home, the below venues are tailored for generally meeting girls that you’ve just met and don’t know a great deal about, rather than dating a colleague from the office or an ex high-school classmate f.e.
Before we go through a brief description of each of them however, there are several factors you need to take into account:
Logistics – arguably the most important bit. Is the venue close for both of you? Do you have a car? Is the girl coming with her own car/cab or are you picking her up? Is it close to your apartment? (might be important for the latter part of the night!). Is the weather nice and warm, or does it look as if it’s gonna rain? The ideal scenario is to pick a place which is convenient for both you and her, within walking distance of where you live. Since this is not always possible, the second best option is that you pick the girl up somewhere, or at least ensure that she doesn’t have a ride on her own. The last thing you want to happen, is to meet the girl somewhere really far from your place, where each of you goes with their own car. This setup almost certainly means there is no continuation of the evening, as you can’t drink and you won’t share the same ride after the date. And this in turn diminishes half of your arsenal in “Orchestrating the Perfect Date”
Personal preferences – before I choose where to invite a girl to, I always consider the following – “Where am I gonna enjoy the most myself?” If I don’t enjoy myself, I most certainly won’t make the girl enjoy it either. Sure, according to various game scholars, the girl should be the one entertaining you, which can and will happen, but not before you set the mood right. So what do I want to do – to have dinner indoors, or I prefer to chill outside?
Once I narrow down what I want to do on that particular night, I think about the girl. Where did we meet – was it in a high-end bar / club like Memento or PM? Or did I meet her at the street or public transpo? Did she seem like she puts extra effort in her physical appearance (dresses, jewellery, high heels, bags etc) or she was dressed casually and didn’t wear lots of make up? Inviting the first type of girl for a walk in the park can be a very hit/miss experience, but you can rarely go wrong with a high end venue with any of those chicks. Some of them might feel less comfortable at first, if they don’t know the place, but you can play this into your advantage by being ze good host and a lifestyle enabler 🙂
Budget – dating can be expensive and especially if you are going for higher value girls, you need to be able to afford it. Keep in mind Bulgaria is still a country with a predominantly traditional mindset, where most of the time, the man needs to be seen as being able to provide, even if the girl is independent enough. In Western game, this concept will be dubbed as foolish and beta, mainly because they have large middle class and money in general isn’t a pressing issue for women. Therefore, offering to pay for their food or drinks doesn’t communicate the same type of value as in the East, and this in turn creates two separate issues: 1. You have to remind yourself that, if you are willing to spend money, without getting anything in return, you can look a bit stupid. 2. You have to be able to demonstrate intrinsic value as a man – experience, wit, physical appearance, style, ultimately – game. That’s why I always say that we Bulgarians are still lucky from that angle – as plenty of busted dudes dating hotties are proving every day on the street – you can still semi-buy your way into a pussy, even if your game sucks.
Still, even with chicks that are relatively financially independent in Bulgaria, it’s more of a “can he afford to take me there” rather than “I expect him to pay for everything” sort of criteria that guys need to pass. Since you ARE going to pay for most things when you go out (yes, this is non-negotiable!), better make sure that you got the buck to back it.
What to avoid:
Happy – although it’s arguably the best Bulgarian bar & dinner chain, is available in several top locations across town and has both decent cuisine and nice interior, it’s just a very very trivial and unimaginative option. Chances are the girl has recently been there, it’s the place she went on a family gathering, meeting high school friends or any other occasion that doesn’t involve escalation of intimacy.. Definitely a good option for follow-up dates, just not for the first one. Also, Spaghetti Kitchen is right next to it on pl. Sveta Nedelya, price range is similar, but the table setup is much nicer, couples-oriented and it’s considered more exotic, as it’s relatively new in the country.
Casual diners like Ugo, Mr Pizza, Don Domat – another famously trivial option. Additionally, during my last stay in the country I found that the prices are also not that much cheaper in those venues, but you get a very different casual ambiente – these are places to chug beer with your buddies, not bring first dates;
Pubs and Mehana – again, bulgarian pubs are places where alcohol is the centerpiece. There is usually an orchestra playing traditional music and plenty of rakia pouring from all sides. It’s perfect for a large gathering, but unless you are very very locally minded and you are dating a low-class village girl, I’d leave this for one of your next meetups, when it’s less crucial to be in control of your environment.
Recommended Dating Venues:
1.Candy / Marionette / Bar Co – all 3 bar & dinners are very similar and close to each other, so I’ll include them as one. They are all located in Lozenetz, with Candy and Marionette being adjacent to each other, while Bar Ko being the closest to a rooftop bar with a city view you can get in Sofia (apart from the one in Sense hotel downtown, which is also 2.5x-3x more expensive). Lots of healthy options for food, nice cocktails, cool events on busy nights (Wednesdays onwards basically) – live music, themed food, drinks and shisha nights or other more exotic types of entertainment, like magician shows. The interior of all three is pompous, with large comfy couches and chairs and it’s very obvious that somebody has spent a lot of well laundered money there. It’s also the type of places to go for people watching and “to be seen”, so girls tend to put extra effort into making themselves look gorgeous. Works like a charm for girls you met at high-end clubs like PM, Bedroom, Planet and the likes. Price: Dinner for two with a few drinks would generally cost anywhere between 60 and 100 Leva (30 to 50 Euro). Best to combine with: going to Sinatra piano bar after, if the girl is classy or Megami, if she’s a fierce chalga diva. Since those two continuation venues attract a very different crowd, you can also use it as a way to gauge the girl’s preferences. In my personal experience, women that are able to enjoy Sinatra more are the type that I wanna continue seeing, regardless how the night ends.
2. Shtastliveca / Щастливеца – located on the main pedestrian Vitosha street, this is a relatively new restaurant that offers a modern twist on traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The interior is very artsy, the crowd is predominantly 30+, service is above average and prices are just slightly topping the middle range. It’s a good place to bring the intellectual type of chicks, who don’t spend a ton of time in bars and nightclubs – lawyers, university professors / teachers, artists and the likes. The name of the venue can be loosely translated as “The lucky guy”, which I playfully drop into the conversation, by saying that it is really appropriate as it reflects how I feel on that particular night (depending on the girl’s attitude of course). It’s so cheesy that you might puke inside your mouth a little, but if both of you are having a good time, you will get some very warm wide-eyed reactions as reward. Price: Dinner for two with a bottle of wine would cost around 50-60 BGN (25-30 EUR) and you have plenty of options to continue the night after, as there are literally hundreds of bars within 10 mins walk in downtown Sofia. Best to combine with: getting a cocktail or two in “Pavage” / Паваж bar, which is 2 blocks away on Solunska str.
3. Raffy Simeonovo – this is a Summer season venue to go to only if you have a car/cab and/or you are going to pick the girl up , as it’s quite far away from the center (just off the Ring Road exit for Simeonovo), difficult to access with public transportation (even impossible, at late nights) and due to its show-off nature and reputation, you’d generally look like a retard if you offer to meet there without having sorted out a ride. The venue itself is a pool bar & dinner, with tables spread on several layers around the pool. If it’s a busy night, you can get the feeling of being on holiday (like the seaside f.e), which is a good preamble for having a wild night together. Since it’s likely you will spend more time there, as it’s not centrally located, you better make sure that you like the girl enough and you have plenty of things to talk about and bond. The baller move is to go with your car, get dinner and slightly drunk together and then order Drink & Drive, which can lead you both straight at your place. It is a bit risky, as you need to have escalated intimacy enough, to reduce the chance for last minute resistance, but it’s among the most seamless and natural ways to do a first date-pull that I’ve discovered so far. If you spend good 3-4 hours of chatting, drinking and dancing together, followed by a hot makeout session in the car, you should be fine. Price: I’ve made a lot of assumptions on how a good night here should go, just because due to its location, it doesn’t make sense to have a quick 45-min dinner and then leave. Dinner and a drink each would not cost more than 40 leva (20 EUR) for both of you, but if you rack up several cocktails / long drinks and include the Drink & Drive in the tally, you’d probably spend at least a 100 BGN (50 EUR) for the night. Best to combine with: dirty car sex in the parking lot, while waiting for the D & D to arrive.
4. Tavan – Sofia is not a large city when compared to Western behemoths like London or Paris and there is almost no traffic after 8 PM, but sometimes driving across town to meet a girl might just not seem like a sensible option, if both of you are located in the same part of the city. Thankfully, if you are lucky enough to be in the inner western part of the city (think around Krasno Selo, Borovo, Manastirski Livadi etc).there are plenty of really nice restaurants to choose from in that area as well, all of them however are only accessible via car. Tavan is a rooftop restaurant, located in a business building on bul. Bulgaria with a mixture of gourmet Mediterranean cuisine and traditional Bulgarian dishes. The 360 view, the ambiente and the service are exquisite, and since it is relatively less popular than the other venues listed here, chances are it will be the first time the girl goes there and trust me, she will certainly not remain neutral about the choice of the place. Important to factor the weather in, as you want to be able to sit outside. If the weather is rainy, I’d recommend opting for Rose instead – another fine dining bar & dinner restaurant up the road, just next to Pulse Fitness & Spa. Price: the prices here are on the slightly higher end, so a dinner for two with a bottle of wine would go between 100 and 150 BGN (50 – 75 EUR). Best to combine with: Go to the Festa Hotel on the other side of the road and check out their Shisha bar on the 3rd floor. Extremely cosy atmosphere, full of puff’s, couches and even a few middle-eastern styled beds – an environment naturally predisposing women to get used to being in a semi-horizontal position with you. After a night like this, anything else besides going home together just feels weirdly unnatural.
5. Oscar – if you are looking for a place downtown for after-dinner drinks, there are plenty of bars that offer a similar kind of vibe, experience and price range. I like Oscar because of their award-winning cocktails, intimate atmosphere, great chillout house music selection and their high quality shishas. The service there has always been up to par and for some weird reason it’s more popular with girls, compared to places like Patron, while it’s usually also less crowded than places like Bash Bar. If you go there on weekends, I’d recommend booking in advance though. Also a good option all-year round, since it’s an indoors venue. Price range: few cocktails each and a shisha are going to amount to around 50-60 Leva (25-30 EUR). Best to combine with: theater before, Piano bar or insta-cuddle time after.
As you will notice, this article is mainly focused around high-end pricier venues. This is entirely due to my personal preferences – I’ll either have a solid dinner date in a place I like the food, has good selection of wines/cocktails/spirits and luxurious interior design (all factors that chicks care about deeply as well, even if they don’t openly admit it) which come at a certain price or I’ll go for the minimum viable effort – just being outdoors, with beers we bought from the closest klek-shop and sharing a doner kebab platter from a nearby place when hunger kicks in.
I don’t ever do coffee or lunch dates anymore – the return on time and money invested is low (an extra hour of building comfort, without being an inch closer to a blowjob:)), you have very few escalation opportunities and above all – I don’t enjoy them, so It generally feels like a waste of time, if you are a busy person. If you don’t want to over-spend on dating, you don’t drink or don’t like the crowd in these type of places. feel free to adjust based on your own preferences and lifestyle. If that’s the case, stay tuned for my “5 Outdoors Dating Venues in Sofia” article, as this may also give you some good alternatives.