Favorite Date Nights, Happy Hours, Dinner Ideas and Places To Meet Singles
For years, residents in Marin County ventured off to San Francisco when it came to date nights, meeting singles, nightlife and more due to lack of options nearby. In the past 5 years, there have been a number of places that have surfaced around the county as well as existing businesses that have catered to a growing younger demographic of customers as well as those eager to explore places around them that crave fresh food, more craft beers, quality cocktails and social environments. Here are my favorite places around San Rafael, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Mount Tamalpais, Sausalito, Larkspur and West Marin for dates and meeting singles.
Sweetwater Saloon, Mill Valley
Great live music venue, cafe during the day, patio seats out front.
Pro-tip: Check out Barrio Manouche when the play here.
Glaze and Confused, San Rafael
BYOB Friday and Saturday evening/night ceramics and pottery throwing class.
Sol Food, San Rafael
‘The only reason to visit Marin County’ a saying overheard by SF residents. This place started off in small location down the street with only a few seats (mostly take out) and has greatly expanded. If you love Puerto Rican food, this is your place. Lines are long but takeout is possible and the wait is usually not too bad as turnover is quick. With that said be prepared to sit at shared tables as this place gets packed. A favorite place to stop after a long hike on Mount Tamalpais.
There is a location in Mill Valley but it is small, cramped and lacks the detail of the San Rafael location. Although more convenient for take out I still prefer the San Rafael location.
Burmatown, Corte Madera
This is the place locals hate seeing on lists. It is a super popular little place in Corte Madera near downtown Larkspur tucked away on a main residential street. Lines are long, food is delicious and definitely worth a visit if in town.
Pond Farm Brewing, San Rafael
Newest brewery to open in Marin County with food trucks in the afternoon during the week, all-day on weekends.
Pro-tip: Won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival in just 6 months of existence.
Kitchen Table, San Rafael
One of the most anticipated restaurants in Marin County right now. With a focus on pasta and seafood, this place has quickly become a favorite among locals in the area.
Playa, Mill Valley
Fun, trendy, social restaurant in downtown Mill Valley with communal seats and outdoor seating.
Pro-tip: Come for margaritas and chips + salsa, skip the meal.
One of the new places on this list to open up. With a focus on American (New) and Seafood dishes, this little place doesn’t seem like much from the outside (rather unusual location) but definitely worth a visit. Definitely an outlier for the places usually seen in the area.
Equator, Downtown Mill Valley
Small, cozy cafe with outdoor seating, seats by the windows and additional outdoor seating across the street.
Pro-tip: Location is down the street from the park, connects to the Dipsea Trail, across from the movie theater and various local shops (good for walking around town).
Flores, Corte Madera
Trendy upscale Mexican restaurant (original location in the Marina in San Francisco). Great for small bites, margaritas, meals. Limited outdoor seating with room for small dogs. Nearby shops in case you need are on the waitlist or need to walk after your meal.
Pro-tip: Great food and drink happy hour 3-6pm 7 days a week.
Great restaurant with extensive long bar seating (one of the longest in Marin). Lots of versatile seating (outdoors, private booths, bar seats and more).
Pro-tip: Fun, social bar area for those seeking to grab a bite for 1.
Equator Coffee, Sausalito
Formerly Cibo, this place is now owned by Equator. Outdoor seating is great for brunch and warm days.
Pro-tip: Great for working from here on a laptop w/ wifi offered here.
Bungalow 44, Mill Valley
Recently renovated, this place has outdoor seats which is popular on a warm Sunday day for drinks, brunch or gathering with friends. Easy walk from downtown and the Tiburon ferry.
Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael
Versatile and spacious, this place is great for large groups, live music, good craft beer selection, outdoor amphitheater and bocce ball courts. Perfect for those with kids in tote.
Lumber Yard, Mill Valley
Renovated area with cafes, shops and restaurants, this place is great for co-working (free wifi) and versatile seating arrangements (communal benches, lawn chairs and small tables).
Pro-tip: Chocolate granola from Flour Craft is one of the best granolas out there.
M.H. Bread and Butter, San Anselmo
Casual cafe with outdoor seating and great baked goods.
Pro-tip: Breakfast sandwich is one my favorite items on the menu. Good for co-working but wifi is spotty.
Mill Valley Beerworks, Mill Valley
Fort Point affiliated brewpub with tasty bar bites. Great, dimly lit restaurant perfect for a post-hike meal. Solid guest beer taps – check the website for updates.
Tourist Club, Mount Tamalpais
Biergarten on Mount Tam, what else could be better? This place is only open to the public on limited days with tickets so monitor the calendar for your chance to enjoy this incredible place for a beer.
Pro-tip: Bring your own food for a picnic.
Pelican Inn, Muir Beach
One of my favorite places in Marin for a post-hike drink on a warm, sunny day. The grassy field is great for a picnic of beers, glass of wine and oysters.
Cavallo Point, Sausalito
With several options in the area including Farley Bar, patio seats, grass field (BYOB) or Travis Marina Bar this area offer several options based on what you are up for.
Pro-tip: Add in a casual hike at Point Cavallo before or after to add exercise into your date.
Sushi Ran, Sausalito
An old Sausalito staple, this restaurant is great for eating at the bar area if you don’t have a reservation. Super fresh seafood on the non-touristy side of the town.
Bar Bocce, Sausalito
Bar Bocce is another Sausalito favorite. It’s super crowded on weekends but if you are not in a rush and are use to the wait lines in SF, then grab a drink and sit outside while waiting for your table.
Small, intimate dinner spot in Fairfax, one of the very few Michelin stars in the county. A great little spot to celebrate that anniversary or special occasion with a loved one.
Luna Blue, Tiburon
A newer addition to the Tiburon area, this place is popular amongst locals and tourists alike looking for a nicer patio dining with a view.
The Marshal Store, Marshall
This is quite a trek from the 101 but well worth it after a hike in West Marin, Tomales or Point Reyes. The communal seating can be tricky but nothing like slurping down fresh oysters outdoors.
Sea Trek Kayak & Stand Up Paddling Center
My personal favorite place is out on Tomales Bay but given the uncertain conditions of the tide and winds, this is a safer bet and more convenient for most folks.
If you want some spontaneity and want to avoid the crowds, pack your own picnic and go out to Kirby Cove, East Peak on Mount Tamalpais, Alamere Falls against the urging of Bolinas folks, Ridgecrest on Mt. Tam, Angel Island.
COMING SOON: Fieldwork Brewery, Corte Madera Town Center https://fieldworkbrewing.com/corte-madera/