Time to try talking about your childhood over a cold-pressed green juice.

Contrary to what your parents might think, dating apps really are the norm now. For better or worse, swiping has changed us, our culture, and the way we approach relationships. One could reasonably assert it's given us thicker skin, stronger thumbs, and keener instincts.

It's those instincts, coupled with trial and error, that dictate a set of best practices all of us online daters—and there are a lot of us—kind of quietly accept and adhere to. 

But it wasn't always that way—at least, not for all of us. I'll be the first to admit that, in the early days of hand-held dating technology, I flouted some safety measures, the result of a dangerous mix of my own overly trusting tendencies and the false sense of immortality characteristic of our youth. I didn't always ask for last names. I rode in cars with handsome strangers. I didn't tell my friends the unfamiliar address I was heading to. In other words, I was stupid. And lucky.

Thankfully, in 2019, it's pretty much a given that we'll Google our dates, guard against catfish, share our GPS locations with trusted contacts (hi, Hannah), and meet up in public. Bumble, the Austin-based app generally regarded as the most progressive option currently on the market (women must initiate contact), would like to emphasize that last one, and they're doing it with a rollout of BumbleSpots, aka verified locations in cities around North America that serve as designated places to take your match—be it of the date, BFF, or networking variety, thanks to the app's three interfaces—IRL.

A partnership with Nourish Juice Bar forms the basis for three BumbleSpots currently in Houston (there are plans for more to come) at the Heights, River Oaks, and Rice Village locations, plus a fourth spot at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations.

BumbleSpots are identified as "inclusive environments to meet your connection across dating, friendship, and professional networking," making them safe-space hubs amenable to meet-and-greets. Depending on the city and the spot, there may also be perks and promos (like food and drink specials or workspace access) or built-in ice-breakers on your coaster or napkin.

It's all too easy, we know, to get caught up in an endless text chain, especially with a new person, say nothing of one you're trying to vet before, you know, granting access to your life. BumbleSpots remind us, though, that the whole point of online dating is to—eventually—get offline.

Houston BumbleSpots:

  • Nourish Juice Bar, 1000 W. Gray
  • Nourish Juice Bar + Kalos Coffee Co, 2155 Durham Dr. #101
  • Nourish Juice & Smoothie Bar, 5313 Morningside Dr.
  • Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, 4310 Westheimer Rd. #150
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Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

$$ American/New American, Pub/Brewery 4310 Westheimer Rd.

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